Amazonas recently launched a partnership with Marriott to protect the Juma reserve, a reserve of almost 600 thousand hectares, through an innovative voluntary REDD (reduction of emissions through deforestation and degradation) project. This project has been incubated over two years and sets a new standard for tropical rainforest protection. Below are a few of the innovations adopted:
Ø There is full transparency through audits. Financially, the foundation responsible for the project (Amazonas Sustainable Foundation – FAS) is audited by PriceWaterhouse. The financial audit demonstrates that the resources are being spent in the manner originally agreed by the parties.
Ø There is the objective of raising enough resources (approximately USD 15 million) to set up an endowment fund from which only the interest would be used, providing the project full long term sustainability.
Ø The resources are being spent in an extremely decentralized way. Aside form monitoring and enforcement of a zero deforestation policy in the reserve, the resources are spent on the Bolsa Floresta, a very innovative program that pays out two components:
o Family Bolsa Floresta – USD25 per month per family, to raise living standards, following a commitment by the family not to deforest.
o Community Bolsa Floresta – the communities (there are 22 communities with 250 families in the reserve) will receive approximately USD5 thousand per year, which the community has to decide how to spend. These can be investment in community organization, sanitation, pavement, schools, income generating investments such as fishing equipment, training, forestry tools, etc. The important thing is that the decision is made at the community level, who take charge of their own future.
Below are links to some of the news on the project.