Senate Reauthorizes Tropical Conservation for Debt Relief Bill Through 2012

costa rica forest photo

photo: Adam Baker via flickr

In amongst all the other, higher-profile legislation currently on the table in Congress, you may have missed this good bit of news last week (I did until Mongabay pointed it out): The Senate reauthorized the Tropical Forest and Coral Conservation Act, which in the last incarnation provides $115 million in debt relief to tropical countries over the next three years, in return for conservation commitments:Under the program, first authorized in 1998, eligible countries—Bangladesh, El Salvador, Belize, the Philippines, Panama, Guatemala, Columbia, Paraguay, Botswana, Costa Rica, and Jamaica—will be able to avail themselves of $25 million in debt relief in 2009 and $30 million each year from 2010 through 2012.

Senator John Kerry touted the bill, saying:

Deforestation is a significant driver of global climate change, and we must pursue a variety of efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation in tropical and sub-tropical nations. This innovative program has provided critical support to developing countries in conserving their forest landscapes while reducing their debt burdens...

For more on the history of the TCFA and the imperative of stopping deforestation, check out: Mongabay
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