Colombia creates biodiversity fund aiming to manage nearly $1 billion

BOGOTA (Reuters) – Colombia’s government has launched a new Fund for Life and Biodiversity to help protect ecosystems in the country, the environment ministry said on Thursday, adding that it will manage close to $1 billion by 2026.

The financial mechanism will allow environmental initiatives to receive monetary resources more than once, the ministry said in a statement, adding that the fund will be managed by a trust that will oversee greater efficiency in distributing resources.

Colombia is one of the world’s most biodiverse countries where swathes of Amazon rainforest and other jungles are deforested each year. Scientists say protecting rainforests like the Amazon is vital to curbing the effects of climate change.

“We hope at the end of this year to be able to deliver the first resources from this fund, a fundamental tool for environmental management and change throughout the country,” Environment Minister Susana Muhamad said in the statement.

The statement did not say how much money will be used to start the fund, which will manage close to 4 trillion pesos ($981 million) by 2026.

Financing for the fund will come from five sources, the statement said, including a carbon tax, the government’s budget, and donations, among others.

“We hope to mobilize resources and actors to achieve interventions that respond to the needs of ecosystems and communities (in rural areas) and generate sustainable changes over time,” Muhamad said.

($1 = 4,077.44 Colombian pesos)

(Reporting by Oliver Griffin; Editing by Marguerita Choy)