Wyss Foundation Celebrates Progress and Next Steps in Effort to Conserve the Amazon’s Headwaters

Washington, DC – The Wyss Foundation is expanding its international conservation work through a multi-year, multi-million dollar commitment to helping protect the Amazon River basin and the Andes Mountains in Peru.

Sierra del Divisor National Park

The Wyss Foundation is providing support for the Andes Amazon Fund, which is a multi-donor grantmaking initiative that is working with non-governmental organizations and governmental partners in Peru to assist with the creation of new protected areas in Peru’s Amazon headwaters, to improve the management of existing protected areas, and to secure long-term financing for the management of priority conservation areas.

“Peruvian leaders, local organizations, and indigenous peoples are making remarkable progress toward conserving the wild forests of the Andes and the Amazon before they are lost to deforestation,” said Hansjörg Wyss, who started the Wyss Foundation in 1998. “We are proud to support the Andes Amazon Fund and its efforts to ensure that Peru’s new parks and protected areas have the resources they need to fulfill their promise as economic engines for sustainable growth.”

Over the past year, the Wyss Foundation has contributed $4 million to the Andes Amazon Fund to support locally-driven conservation initiatives in the headwaters of the Amazon in Peru.  Through assistance to local non-profits working with indigenous peoples, resources for mapping and data collection, and the creation of a fund for park management, the Andes Amazon Fund supported the recent establishment by the Peruvian government of the 3.3 million acre Sierra del Divisor National Park.

“The creation of Sierra del Divisor National Park is a major milestone in Peru’s global environmental leadership and complements its stewardship as COP President in the climate change negotiations,” said Dr. Luis Miguel Castilla, Ambassador of Peru to the United States. “It is already being dubbed ‘the Yellowstone of the Amazon’ for its immense wealth of plant and animal species, many of which are endemic and unique to this region of the rainforest. It also reflects Peru’s continued commitment to the protection of its rich biodiversity and the indigenous communities and populations that draw sustenance from such habitats in the Amazon. Around 230,000 Peruvian citizens stand to benefit, and involving them in such projects, as was the case with Sierra del Divisor, is part of Peru’s participatory path forward for sustainable development. I would like to thank our partners and the organizations that contributed to this achievement, such as the Andes Amazon Fund and its donors, the Wyss Foundation and blue moon fund.”

The Andes Amazon Fund has also supported efforts that, in the past year, resulted in the creation of the 966,000-acre Maijuna Kichwa Regional Conservation area and two additional conservation initiatives by the Peruvian government that protected an additional 105,000 acres of rainforest.

The Wyss Foundation expects to make additional philanthropic contributions to the Andes Amazon Fund over the coming years.

The Amazon River basin contains an estimated one-fifth of the world’s fresh water supplies, 40,000 plant species, and 3,000 freshwater fish species.

LandWhitner Chase