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Tropentag, October 5 - 7, 2004 in Berlin

"Rural Poverty Reduction
through Research for Development and Transformation"

Sustainable Financing of Natural Resource Management - an Example from the Brazilian Amazon and Implications for the German Bilateral Development Assistance

Jes Weigelt

Freie Universität Berlin, Department of Geography, Germany


As they prevent ecosystems from being transformed, protected areas are an important means for the sustainable management of natural resources. The management of protected areas causes recurrent costs irrespectively whether they are managed by park administrations or the communities living inside them. Due to the nature of protected areas recurrent costs occur for very long time periods. On a global level insecurity of resources to finance recurrent costs threatens the sustainability of protected areas. Financial resources to finance the recurrent costs of protected areas can be administered by different types of institutions. Commonly, those resources are administered by the state. An alternative type of institution is an environmental fund, a specialised institution to administer and disburse financial resources for environment policy measures. The paper compares these types of institutions using the criteria security of financing and community participation. A theoretical analysis of these types of institutions suggests that environmental funds are more suitable to administer the recurrent costs of protected areas. Given the budgetary constraints of many developing country governments, earmarking of financial resources in environmental funds is an advantage, as it ensures the security of financing. Furthermore many environmental funds have institutionalised structures for the participation of communities living in or by protected areas in decisions on the use of the financial resources. On the opposite, in many parts of the world government agencies are still characterised by a top-down approach. As participation is highly important to identify appropriate solutions environmental funds are preferable to government agencies. Protected areas in Brazil can be subdivided in two categories. Protected areas administered by park administrations and protected areas managed by the local communities. In areas of high deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon only the latter type of protected area effectively protects the rain forest. This underlines the importance of establishing an institution with participatory structures to administer the financial resources to finance protected areas in the Brazilian Amazon. Currently, budgetary regulations for bilateral development assistance in Germany do not allow using development assistance resources to finance environmental funds. Given the findings above these regulations should be amended.

Keywords: Brazil, environmental funds, protected areas, sustainable financing

Contact Address: Jes Weigelt, Freie Universität Berlin, Department of Geography, Krefelder Straße 8, 10555 Berlin, Germany, e-mail: jesweigelt@gmx.de

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