The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has announced fifteen grants totaling $4.2 million in support of conservation and sustainable development efforts in the southern Tropical Andes.
The first grants to be awarded for conservation efforts in the region under a ten-year, $176 million commitment to conservation and sustainable development announced by the foundation in March 2011 will support work in Peru and Bolivia. Grant recipients include the Wildlife Conservation Society, which was awarded $350,000 for capacity-building efforts among indigenous peoples to address urgent threats from development policies and projects and $320,000 for research designed to strengthen a policy framework for managing valuable fisheries in the Peruvian Amazon. Other grants include $350,000 to the Instituto del Bien Comun for its work with Peruvian indigenous communities and local governments to encourage positive environmental governance practices; $330,000 to Centro para el Desarrollo del Indigena Amazonico for its efforts to gain recognition of and title to ancestral lands in Peru; and $300,000 to the Fundacion Amigos de la Naturaleza to implement an innovative community-based approach to wildfire management as a means of climate change adaptation.
The foundation also awarded $300,000 to Derecho Ambiente y Recursos Naturales for a project to promote socio-environmental sustainability and regulatory compliance in the Lower Urubamba River basin; $280,000 to the Bank Information Center to help strengthen environmental and social standards of international lending agencies for development projects in Bolivia and Peru; and $175,000 to EarthRights International in support of the organization's efforts to advocate for indigenous groups threatened by unsustainable and environmentally harmful development projects.
"Ecosystems and their biodiversity underpin human well-being," said Jorgen Thomsen, director of conservation and sustainable development at the MacArthur Foundation. "The Andes region is among the most diverse ecosystems in the world, and we must find a way to reconcile the tremendous desire for economic development in the region with the need to preserve its wide range of precious resources. We hope that successes from these projects will yield models for effective conservation work elsewhere."
For a complete list of grant recipients, visit the MacArthur Foundation Web site.