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Protecting Our Planet Challenge plans to invest $200 million to help Brazil protect Amazonia

Protecting Our Planet Challenge invites additional donors and partners to join efforts to safeguard one of the most important places for people, biodiversity and climate

For immediate release, June 29, 2023

Brazilian Amazon. (Photo by João Paulo Krajewski)
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The Protecting Our Planet (POP) Challenge, in partnership with the Brazilian government, this week announced plans to invest $200 million over the next four years to support the expansion and management of Brazil’s protected areas and Indigenous territories. These plans will contribute to Brazil’s ambitious and critical goals of achieving zero deforestation in the Amazon and accelerating the country’s transition to a sustainable and green economy.

The announcement was made on Monday, June 26, in the Brazilian state of Brasília at a joint event with the Global Environment Facility, which announced another nearly $90 million in support for Brazil. Bilateral donors have also pledged an additional $840 million for environment and climate change projects in the country, confirming the global commitment to support Brazil in its plans to reduce deforestation and safeguard this important ecosystem.

"The climate and environmental agenda are a priority for the Brazilian government, Brazil is working to create a cycle of prosperity with democracy, fighting inequality, and sustainability," said Marina Silva, Minister of Environment and Climate Change. "In six months of government, we already have results related to our main goals, such as zero deforestation by 2030 and the end of illegal mining on Indigenous lands. Partnerships and support are fundamental for the advancement of environmental policies and the protection of traditional peoples and communities.”

The new coalition is open to other donors and partners—and is working closely with Brazil’s Minister of the Environment, Minister of Indigenous Peoples and the nine Amazon states.

“We are inspired by Brazil’s ambitious goals for protecting the Amazon, one of the most important places for wildlife on the planet, and are thrilled to be able to support these efforts through the Protecting Our Planet Challenge,” said actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio, Re:wild founding board member.

As part of the commitment, USD $14.3 million was pledged in April and is currently being directed to emergency efforts to combat forest fires, including training, early detection technology, improved communications systems, and the deployment of Indigenous guardians. The commitment ultimately aims to support Brazil’s bold conservation goals:

  • Ensuring zero deforestation in the Amazon

  • Combating illegal activities such as cutting down forest for cattle pasture and cattle feed, mining and other forms of deforestation in protected areas and on Indigenous lands

  • Permanently safeguarding nearly 145 million acres (59 million hectares) of undesignated public lands in the Amazon

  • Strengthening the management of existing protected areas

  • Strengthening the rights of the Indigenous peoples who are the guardians of the Brazilian Amazon

"The creation of the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples is an important sign of President Lula's commitment to protect biodiversity and achieve the goal of zero deforestation by 2030, since Indigenous peoples are the greatest guardians of this biodiversity," said Minister of Indigenous Peoples Sonia Guajajara. "This shows the understanding of this government that the environment, Indigenous peoples and the climate agenda cannot be worked on separately. The Brazilian Amazon is a region very rich in biodiversity and in an immense cultural diversity, and it is exactly the protection of these cultures that will save the protection of the environment."

In recent years deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon has increased, including in protected areas and Indigenous lands, as a result of clearing primarily for illegal cattle, in addition to logging and mining. This has caused devastating conflicts with the Indigenous peoples living there.

“The Amazon is critical for the future of global biodiversity and climate, and we welcome the commitment from President Lula and the Government of Brazil to protect it,” said Cristián Samper, Managing Director and Leader of Nature Solutions of the Bezos Earth Fund. “We are pleased to support the designation and management of protected areas and Indigenous territories as a key part of the strategy to reduce deforestation, along with new economic models of development based on the conservation and sustainable use of the forest.”

Brazil is one of eight countries (plus French Guiana, an Overseas Territory of France) that comprise the Amazon Basin, a vast region called Amazonia. Amazonia is one of the world’s five designated High Biodiversity Wilderness Areas and home to millions of species, many of which have not yet been discovered or described by science. Amazonia stores up to 140 billion tonnes of carbon and plays a critical role in water cycles, weather patterns and climate regulation.

Amazonia is also critically important to Indigenous peoples from up to 400 Indigenous groups that speak hundreds of languages, represent irreplaceable cultural diversity and depend on natural ecosystems and resources for their livelihoods and cultures.

Nearly 17 percent of the forest in Amazonia is already gone. If this figure reaches 20-25%, scientists believe the rainforest will no longer be able to sustain itself, with disastrous consequences for the Indigenous peoples and wildlife living there, livelihoods, and for the planet’s overall health.

“Brazil boasts extraordinary biodiversity, with the largest intact forest on Earth and more than 7,000 km of coastline,” said Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, Global Environment Facility CEO and chairperson. “The challenges Brazil is facing related to climate change, species loss, land use change, and pollution are globally significant, and this country’s leadership in transitioning to a greener, bluer economy is extremely, extremely important. We are delighted to be here in Brasilia to support and help accelerate this work for a healthier and more sustainable future.”

The Protecting Our Planet Challenge is the largest-ever private funding commitment to biodiversity conservation and was made by 11 organizations in 2021. It supports the creation, expansion, management and monitoring of protected and conserved areas of land, inland water and sea, working with Indigenous peoples, local communities, civil society and governments.
The POP challenge is supporting the implementation of Target 3 of the UN Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, and the goal to protect 30 percent of the planet by 2030 in the most important places for biodiversity. These POP private donors have made this commitment to help address three of the planet’s most life-threatening crises: the climate crisis, extinction crisis, and human wellbeing crisis – with an emphasis on the role of nature and the leadership of Indigenous peoples in solving them.

Additional quotes

James Deutsch, CEO of Rainforest Trust
"We urge the international community to support the aspirations of Brazil's Indigenous peoples and ambition of the Lula administration to safeguard the Amazon Rainforest by expanding Indigenous Territories and Protected Areas. No global initiative will contribute more to slowing and reversing the destruction of nature and disruption of our planet's climate."

Molly McUsic, president, The Wyss Foundation
“President Lula’s commitment to reversing current deforestation trends and increasing Brazil’s protected areas and indigenous lands is a historic opportunity that the philanthropic sector must support.”

Rodrigo Medeiros, Re:wild senior Brazil associate
“We have a unique window and great opportunity for Brazil now because the new administration is committed to stopping deforestation, committed to protecting the Amazon and Indigenous rights. As a private philanthropy coalition, we can make sure that the resources are there to support this important ambition.”

Photo: Brazilian Amazon
Photo by João Paulo Krajewski

Re:wild protects and restores the wild. We have a singular and powerful focus: the wild as the most effective solution to the interconnected climate, biodiversity and human wellbeing crises. Founded by a group of renowned conservation scientists together with Leonardo DiCaprio, Re:wild is a force multiplier that brings together Indigenous peoples, local communities, influential leaders, nongovernmental organizations, governments, companies and the public to protect and rewild at the scale and speed we need. Learn more at

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