WASHINGTON: The World Bank and Conservation International (CI) signed an agreement on Friday for $20 million in new funds, provided by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), to protect some of the world’s most unique and threatened areas, including island ecosystems and temperate forests. According to World Bank, these biodiversity hotspots are home to more than half of all terrestrial plants and animals, as well as more than 1.8 billion people who are highly dependent on healthy lands for their livelihoods and well-being.
The funds will be made available as grants for projects undertaken by nongovernmental, community and private sector organizations through the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF), which is administered by CI. In its seven-year history, CEPF funding has enabled the protection of lands equal to an area the size of Portugal.
“All species and their habitats are important,” said Warren Evans, World Bank Director of Environment. “But some areas are more richly endowed than others. These new funds will help us continue to find solutions that allow poor people in these hotspots to have a better way of life while at the same time conserving the biodiversity on which their long-term survival depends,” Evans said.-SANA