Amazon rainforest in Colombia

Challenge to protect and restore the Amazon open for submissions

Today, on Earth Day 2022, World Economic Forum and the IDB (Inter American Development Bank) launch the 2022 Trillion Trees: Amazon Bioeconomy Challenge. The challenge calls for “ecopreneurs” with innovative bioeconomy[1]Bioeconomy is any economic activity based on the use of natural renewable biological resources, from both land and ocean, to obtain food, materials, and energy in a sustainable way without … Continue reading projects or ideas in the Amazon Rainforest. These project ideas should catalyze local economies while protecting and restoring biodiversity and ecosystem functions. IUCN NL is one of the organizations supporting the challenge. Applicants can submit their proposals until 1 June 2022.

This is the second edition of the Amazon Bioeconomy Challenge, led by World Economic Forum’s UpLink, and IDB Group. The goal of the challenge is to generate long-lasting impact to conserve and restore the Amazon rainforest.

Bioeconomy solutions

The Amazon is an extremely diverse ecosystem that accounts for 20% of the world’s remaining forest areas. Continued deforestation and ecosystem degradation in the region pose major economic, cultural and environmental threats to the region and the planet. We urgently need to scale sustainable “bioeconomy”[1] solutions that preserve and restore the Amazon Forest while providing livelihoods to its peoples. ​

The winners of the challenge will be invited to join the UpLink Innovation Network and will be evaluated for potential co-financing from IDB Group, with a maximum available amount of $1.5M distributed across the winning cohort. 

Inclusive and sustainable development

​‘The challenge calls for civil society proposals on promising solutions to promote inclusive and sustainable development models for the Amazon region,’ says Mariel Cabero, Expert Environmental Justice at IUCN NL. ‘We are a supporting member of the challenge, which means we helped design the challenge, will support review of the submissions and possibly mentor some of the initiatives,’ says Cabero.

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Focus areas​

The challenge is divided in two focus areas. Successful submissions tackle one or both of the focus areas. Focus area 1 is about Amazon bioeconomy products & services. This includes innovative solutions focusing on specific value chains as well as mixed agroforestry systems for various native Amazon fruits and crops. Solutions in this category promote traditional local knowledge and agrobiodiversity for local, regional and international food, medicinal and pharmaceutical value chains. Focus area 2 is about enabling solutions for an inclusive bioeconomy in the Amazon.

Solutions we are looking for

The challenge is open to applicants looking for various funding models (grants, loans, equity, payment-by- results, carbon finance and other payments for ecosystem services). Successful submissions must be beyond the ideation or pilot phase, with a measurable track record toward impact and scale.

The Challenge encourages applications by community- and partnerships-based solutions, social enterprises and mission-oriented start-ups led by local community and indigenous groups that seek to develop and scale socially and ecologically responsible bioeconomy markets, anchored in local needs and cultures.

Are you an “ecopreneur”?

Mariel Cabero
Expert Environmental Justice


1 Bioeconomy is any economic activity based on the use of natural renewable biological resources, from both land and ocean, to obtain food, materials, and energy in a sustainable way without compromising their availability for future generations