Supporting an Environmentally Friendly Economy For a Healthy Amazon Basin
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) recently released the Amazon Vision 2020 Report describing its achievements in biodiversity and sustainable landscape initiatives across Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Guyana, and Suriname. As part of this progress update, the report focuses on the Agency’s work to promote a more sustainable and innovative development model that supports Amazonian entrepreneurs with a vision for a sustainable local economy.
Partnerships are part of USAID’s strategy to support communities in the Amazon. Local communities rely on the area’s natural capital for water, food, and livelihoods. However, climate change, illegal deforestation and other large-scale activities, and economic pressures all threaten the region and the women, men, and children who live there. The Amazon Vision 2020 Report highlights the work of the Partnership Platform for the Amazon (PPA), which provides tailored assistance to promising local startups who go on to join a network of like-minded social and environmental entrepreneurs throughout the region. After participating in the PPA Acceleration Program, startups have the opportunity to pitch their ideas to investors in order to gain additional funding and scale up their enterprises.
A 2019 impact assessment found that the 15 accelerated businesses (67 percent run by women) created 251 direct jobs, benefitted 110 communities in 43 municipalities, and helped protect and restore 873,000 hectares of forest in the PPA’s first year of operations. One of the first startups to participate in PPA’s Acceleration Program was a natural rubber factory cooperative in Brazil, where female rubber tappers have nurtured the revival of traditional rubber tapping in their village to make shoes, bags, and other items. With PPA support, the owner hopes women will eventually own the factory themselves, allowing them to further expand to international markets and ensure rainforest conservation for years to come.
PPA is part of USAID’s larger Amazon Vision, which unifies the Agency’s goals to combat deforestation, conserve biodiversity, create environmentally friendly economic opportunities, improve the management of important landscapes, and support Indigenous rights.
Moving forward, USAID will continue to build upon its investments in the Amazon to assist communities in shaping a better future. By continuing to work with countries and local actors, USAID and its partners can build upon the successes outlined in the Amazon Vision 2020 Report to support more promising enterprises to achieve even greater results.