Executive Summary

The Amazon has long been recognized as a repository for ecological services not only for indigenous people and local communities, but also for the rest of the world. It spans about 40 percent of South America, covering eight countries (Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, Venezuela, and the overseas territory of French Guiana), and remains the planet’s largest intact rainforest in terms of size and diversity. The Amazon serves as an important carbon sink and plays a critical role in regulating temperatures and rain patterns.

Recognizing the global significance of the Amazon, the GEF-funded Amazon Sustainable Landscapes Program (ASL) led by the World Bank commissioned this analysis to provide an updated picture of international support for conservation and sustainable management of natural resources in the Amazon. This study covers 2016 to 2019 and provides a follow-up to previous studies commissioned by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation in 2014 and 2017 (Castro de la Mata and Riega-Campos, 2014; Strelneck and Vilela, 2017). This study maintains the same format as the previously commissioned 2017 study to provide a deeper and continued understanding of the largest donors and how they have directed their funding by country, grantee, and strategy over time. The report also provides an overview of most of the grant funding directed to the Amazon region.

Since 2007, these three studies have identified more than US$4.8 billion dollars of non-reimbursable grants that have been invested from bilateral and multilateral agencies, foundations, international environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and private sector companies in Amazon conservation. In addition, this study makes the funding data from 2013-2019 available in an interactive data visualization dashboard for others to explore.

A total of 49 funding agencies participated in the current survey that covers investments made from 2016-2019.


Source: Walter Wust (SERNANP)

Key takeaways from the 2016-2019 analysis reveal:

  • Donors provided US$2.33 billion in grants to promote and strengthen conservation efforts in the Amazon.

  • Germany and Norway accounted for over half of the total donations with investments totaling US$611.2 million and $582.5 million, respectively.1

  • Four of the top ten funders were bilateral government agencies, three were multilateral agencies, two were private foundations, and one international NGO.

  • Multilateral agencies have emerged as significant conservation funders, nearly doubling their contributions from 13 percent of total donations in 2013-2015 to 24 percent of total donations during the 2016-2019 period. The most prominent multilateral funders include Global Environment Facility (GEF), Green Climate Fund (GCF), and the European Union (EU).

  • National governments received over half of the overall funding. For the overall funding portfolio, national and international NGOs made up an equal percentage (~15 percent) of the primary grantees. Subnational and local governments received less (6 percent). When looking specifically at foundations' grantees, nearly half of the funding went to international NGOs (52 percent), followed by national or local NGOs (37 percent), and the remaining 11 percent was divided between private sector, academic, and research institutes.

  • The greatest proportion of funding was directed to support Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) programs and policies, largely through results-based financing (US$479.7 million) as well as initiatives to create and improve the management of protected areas (US$334.8 million).

  • Overall, donors continued their commitment to support conservation and sustainable management throughout the basin, and new movements emerged to attract new donors and impact investing.

This analysis provides valuable insight on funding for conservation and sustainable natural resources management in the Amazon and can be used to inform and strengthen donor coordination efforts. A key recommendation is to use this report to facilitate donor engagement to increase coordination, pool valuable resources, and avoid potential duplication. The report can also be used to promote more effective donor-government dialogues and bring the voices and perspectives from the recipient community to enhance coordination and improve funding practices.

This funder tracking aims to help target investments, build synergies, and spur innovation to protect and conserve the valuable natural resources in the Amazon. The report also reveals how an even greater understanding of conservation can be achieved by continuing to gather data on international funding flows, enhancing analysis to include both reimbursable and non-reimbursable funds, and by identifying critical gaps in the current funding portfolio.

Download the PDF version of this report on the ASL website.