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Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
October 20, 2008


Debt-for-Nature Agreement to Conserve Peru's Tropical Forests

The Governments of the United States of America and the Republic of Peru today announced an agreement to reduce Peru’s debt payments in exchange for protecting the country’s tropical forests. Under the agreement more than $25 million will be put towards conserving Peru’s rainforests.

This agreement with Peru was made possible by the Tropical Forest Conservation Act (TFCA) of 1998. It will complement an existing TFCA debt-for-nature program in Peru dating from 2002, a 1997 debt swap under the Enterprise for the Americas Initiative, and the United States-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement, which includes a number of forest protection provisions. With this agreement, Peru will be the largest beneficiary under the Tropical Forest Conservation Act, with more than $35 million generated for conservation.

Peru is one of the most biologically rich countries on earth. Funds generated by the debt-for-nature program will help Peru protect tropical rainforests of the southwestern Amazon Basin and dry forests of the central Andes. These areas are home to dense concentrations of endemic birds such as the Andean Condor and Andean Parakeet; primates including the Peruvian Yellow-tailed Woolly Monkey and Howler Monkey; other mammals such as the Jaguar, Amazonian Manatee, Giant Otter, Spectacled Bear and Amazon River Dolphin; as well as many unique plants. Rivers supplying water to downstream settlements originate in many of these forests, and people living in and around the forests depend on them for their livelihood and survival.

The new Peru agreement marks the 14th Tropical Forest Conservation Act pact, following agreements with Bangladesh, Belize, Botswana, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Jamaica, Panama (two agreements), Paraguay and the Philippines, as well as an earlier agreement with Peru. These debt-for-nature programs will together generate more than $188 million to protect tropical forests.
2008/890

Released on October 20, 2008

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