- Madagascar government has signed largest debt-for-nature swap agreement with France, allocating US$ 20 million to preserve the country’s rich biodiversity.
The agreement is part of Madagascar’s ambitious national effort, pledged by President Ravalomanana, to triple the size of the country’s protected areas. The singing also brings to total, funding for this purpose to its targeted US$ 50 million endowment, which shall be managed independently by an established conservation trust between Malagasy government and its partners, aimed at supporting the country’s distinct ecosystems and extraordinary wildlife.
Nearly 98 percent of Madagascar’s land mammals, 92 percent of its reptiles, and 80 percent of its plants are found nowhere else on earth and according to international wildlife conservationists, there is a need to stabilise revenues, resources and credibility to fight against deforestation and biodiversity loss in that country.
“This initiative is an excellent example of innovative financing for sustainable development,” said Nanie Ratsifandrihamanana, acting regional representative for WWF in Madagascar further adding that increasing funding to endowment means support for protected areas' recurrent costs will be available long term.
Madagascar’s ecosystems provide essential services that support local communities and an array of economic activities. With 70 percent of Madagascar’s population living below poverty line, the country is one of the poorest in the world. Burdened with high levels of debt, Madagascar has limited domestic resources to address environmental degradation and preserve its unique and globally significant biodiversity.
Debt-for-nature swaps, such as this one, are designed to free up resources in debtor countries for much needed conservation activities.
This historic agreement demonstrates the commitment of both the French and Malagasy governments to protect biodiversity in Madagascar and serves as a prime example of a debt-for-nature swap success that other nations can follow, WWF have said following the signing.
Madagascar Foundation for Protected Areas and Biodiversity was created in 2005 to support sustainable financing for protecting, maintaining and expanding the country’s protected areas network, including certain buffer zones and ecological corridors, and ultimately to reduce dependence on external project assistance. The Foundation is already widely recognized as a “model” foundation for Africa and an anchor for sustainable financing of Madagascar’s protected areas system.
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