Today, December 4th, we at Conservation International (CI), together with the government and people of the Amapá state in the northern Amazon region of Brazil, are happy to celebrate the sixth anniversary of the Amapá Biodiversity Corridor, one of the world’s most innovative conservation initiatives in one of the planet’s most diverse regions.
The corridor was publicly announced in September 2003 by the governor of the state, Antônio Waldez Góes da Silva, during the seventh World Parks Congress in Durban, South Africa. The initiative attracted great international interest and was broadly publicized around the world, and for six years, CI has been strongly contributing both technically and financially to the implementation of this corridor.
In Amapá, protected areas are not seen as obstacles to development, but rather as a fundamental component to ensure sustainability of the regional economy. In the long-term, the intent is to build a strong economy based on ecotourism and the sustainable use of natural resources.
Six years after its creation, the Amapá Corridor has many success stories to share with the world, as well as a considerable amount of exciting initiatives to be continued and improved. Through these years, field expeditions collected a great range of social and environmental information on the region. Among their discoveries: 1,300 species recorded in Amapá, some of which were found for the first time in the state, while others were new to science.
Publications were distributed, a photo exhibit was launched, and important initiatives were put in place to guarantee the corridor’s implementation. Also part of the initiative was the creation of a graduate program in tropical biodiversity – the first complete graduate program (Master and Doctorate levels) of the state – and support for the infrastructure, information technology and implementation of officially protected reserves. One recent activity has been the implementation of the National Forest of Amapá, with the support of Walmart-Brazil.
For the anniversary event, we created a website for the corridor and produced a video that shows the state’s great biodiversity and explains the main strategies designed for its conservation. The next challenge for CI in the region is to build a trust fund of at least $10 million to ensure continuity of all activities needed for the implementation of the Amapá Biodiversity Corridor.
The creation of long-lasting financial mechanisms is the only way to provide the necessary resources to support effective management of protected areas, including indigenous territories along the corridor. CI has already established similar funds in Suriname and Madagascar, and therefore we anticipate being successful in our search for solid partnerships to establish a fund for the state of Amapá.
Isabela Santos is the Communications Director of Conservation International Brazil