On Wednesday, May 21, the “ARPA for Life” initiative closed on a deal to provide long-term funding to conserve 150 million acres in the Amazon. The Amazon Region Protected Areas (ARPA) covers an area 1.5 times the size of California and, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), comprises the world’s largest network of protected areas.

Moreover, at $215 million dollars in funding for a long-term sinking fund plus substantial contributions from the Brazilian government, this deal is the largest illustration yet of the power of “Project Finance for Permanence”.

The concept of “Project Finance for Permanence” is described in a 2012 paper in the Stanford Social Innovation Review that we co-authored with colleagues at the Linden Trust for Conservation and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. This approach to large-scale conservation builds on the private sector practice of “project finance,” which mobilizes all of the resources needed for long-term success in a single burst of effort by making each commitment contingent on all the others being in place.

We had the privilege of assisting the design phase of ARPA for Life, so we know how complex and ambitious this initiative was.  While we are thrilled by its successful closing, we are not surprised. We’ve worked with many of the parties involved for years, including the Linden Trust for Conservation, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Brazilian Biodiversity Fund, WWF-US, and WWF-Brazil, and know them to be committed, capable, and visionary organizations. Even so, the scale of this achievement deserves special plaudits.

So, a hearty parabéns! to all our friends and colleagues who worked so hard to make this happen. It is a huge accomplishment, and we feel so lucky to have been able to play one small part in it.

Read the WWF-US press release here, and a reflection by WWF-US’ president, Carter Roberts, in Foreign Affairs.