Worlds protected areas suffer from $2.5 billion annual shortfall

September 12, 2003 (Durban, South Africa) The budget shortfall for effectively maintaining the world's existing parks and protected areas is estimated to be $2.5 billion annually, according to an international panel of economists, scientists, governments and protected area managers. The bulk of the shortfall exists in developing nations.

The analysis also estimates that maintaining and expanding the global protected area network to conserve many of the most threatened but currently unprotected plant and animal species on Earth would cost approximately $23 billion a year over the next 10 years, including land acquisition expenses. Currently, global funding is just $7 billion per year, with less than $1 billion each year spent in the developing world, where the greatest wealth of biodiversity exists.

Conservation International (CI), the Center for Applied Biodiversity Science (CABS) at CI, the University of Cambridge and BirdLife International released these figures today at the 5th World Parks Congress.

Currently, tens of thousands of protected areas worldwide, most dramatically those in the developing world, suffer from a chronic lack of funding, resulting in a shortage of staff, ranger stations, communications equipment, vehicles and other basic infrastructure.

The shortfall is leading to catastrophic results for many of the world's protected areas. In West Africa, for example, funding of many parks is so poor that areas once rich with elephants, hippos and monkeys are now empty. In Latin America, protected areas have been cleared for agriculture, and in Asia, the last individuals of some of the world's most amazing species tigers, monkeys and crocodiles are poached for illegal sale.

"This massive budget shortfall means that too often, protected areas have ineffective and insufficient management, resulting in the progressive degradation of resources these areas were established to protect," said John Hanks, Director of S


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