So much in Peru is on the rise. Its reputation as a food mecca, employment rates, urban construction and tourism. They are welcomed increases that began to emerge at the turn of the century, after a decade of political and civil unrest that wreaked havoc for many in Peru and led others to flee.
As the country grows, Pedro Gamboa has his eye on one thing: Peru’s protected areas. Seventy-six of them, all which he oversees for the Peruvian government. Most are referred to as parks, reserves or sanctuaries. The most well-known are in the lush Amazon rain forest. Others, just as magnificent but less-travelled, are in the moonscape-like coastal desert and within eye sight of the snow-capped Andes mountain range. All of them are designated on paper as protected. The challenge now is to ensure they also are protected in reality, so that wildlife and people (from Peru and worldwide) can benefit from them now and for generations to come. Unsustainable gold mining, logging and agriculture, as well as illegal logging and urban expansion in Peru, drive home the urgency for addressing this challenge.
Gamboa is on it. He is leading an initiative that aims to generate nearly $75 million to properly manage Peru’s protected areas. That’s funding that could be used to buy equipment for park rangers so they can patrol the parks better, create jobs in ecotourism, do wildlife surveys, and more. The Peruvian government invests in its protected areas but, as in most countries, its funding to do so is not as large or reliable as it needs to be.
WWF is one of the first partners in this initiative, which is based on an innovative funding approach called Project Finance for Permanence (PFP) that has been used in Brazil, Costa Rica and Canada.