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Colección: La Educación
Número: (129-131) I,III
Año: 1998

Individual Workshops

Annex 1 lists the workshops held to date in LAC.

Paraguay and Argentina: Yacyreta Hydroelectric Project, July 1993

In Ayolas, Paraguay, an EA workshop was held with the Yacyreta Hydroelectric Power Project (EBY) as the theme. The workshop was a mixture of lectures and hands-on activities that culminated in six working groups presenting the EA and mitigation plan for relocation of railroads and irrigation schemes as a result of the installation of a reservoir. In addition, the impacts of sealing off the hydrologic flow to an arm of the river was considered, as this undertaking was an essential source of water for a number of economically viable activities. The final presentations were assembled and later utilized in the integrated environmental management plan for the Yacyreta region. The high level of education of the participants permitted lectures of a technical nature. The 43 participants included 13 from government ministries (agriculture, environment, forestry, wildlife, protected areas, education, public works, health), 6 from municipal governments, 1 from an agricultural cooperative, 8 from EBY, 4 from autonomous agencies (water and sewerage, port authority), and the balance from NGOs. All participants were engineers or graduate-level technicians.

Ecuador: Lower Guayas Flood Control Project, October 1996

The Lower Guayas Flood Control Project, for which US$100.0 million was approved in 1990, included the following objectives: (a) reduce the risk of rural and urban flooding and resultant losses to life, property and agricultural output on roughly 200,000 has. of land; (b) improve health and living conditions in the area; (c) support agricultural and livestock development; and (d) protect and conserve the natural environment in the Lower Guayas basin and parts of the upper catchment and water recharge area. During a Bank supervision mission (November 1994), the Ministry decided to stop construction projects in the discharge area of the Lower Guayas Flood Control Project because a design change had occurred without a proper environmental review. The change proposed would have resulted in cutting 150 has. of virgin mangrove forest, contrary to both Ecuadorian law and Bank policy. As a result, the Bank recommended that an environmental assessment of construction alternatives in the final 5 kilometers of the project be prepared before construction work resume.

This situation created an opportunity for the workshop participants to analyze the economic, social, and environmental trade-offs of such a decision and make recommendations through a process of analysis of alternatives. The participants attended a series of lectures highlighting the regional biophysical and socio-economic conditions. Working groups of 4-6 participants were formed and charged with quantifying impacts relative to the severity and duration of the impact, chart mitigation measures, complete an analysis of alternatives of other related works, and design a monitoring and evaluation program. The outcome was that the mangrove harvest area was reduced to 10 has. As a result, no resettlement was necessary, and tens of thousands of dollars of project money was saved. The analysis of alternatives was later reviewed by the Ministry and accepted as the alternative with the least environmental, economic and social costs.

Dominican Republic: Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM), January 1995

This workshop analyzed the potential and infrastructure requirements to develop a major destination tourism facility in the Samama peninsula, a sparsely populated area of the Dominican Republic. The DR has witnessed explosive tourism growth due to subsidized and targeted credit, as well being able to offer potential investors a comprehensive package of incentives such as tax holidays and duty free import of construction and operation materials. Tourism development continues to surge, accounting for over 16 percent of the country’s GDP. From 1984 to 1994 hotel room numbers soared from 4,000 to over 28,000, an unprecedented growth rate by Caribbean standards.

Economic development implies environmental consequences. In this case, by some measures, while employment has increased, it has been at the cost of a deteriorating natural resource base. These include: wetland and coral reef degradation resulting from non-point pollution from upland agricultural areas (agro-chemicals, sediments, etc.), contamination of ground water recharge zones and aquifers, unplanned and encroaching development on beaches, reduction of public-access beaches, and a decline in artesianal and commercial fisheries harvest. The result is reduced water quality, beach erosion, flooding, and coral reef die-back which threatens the sustainability of the tourist industry, the most important foreign exchange earner in the DR.

Five technical staff from the Public Works and Communications Secretariat responsible for preparing environment assessments were invited to attend the seminar for the Sixth Highway Project financed by the Bank. The group benefited from the presentation of the requirements for a Bank Category “A” project, and assisted the Bank in understanding the political and technical context for making changes in how local people assess the potential for attracting outside investments for development investments. As an example, an environmental screening exercise for new roads to be financed under the proposed project was carried out as part of a project preparation mission and involved workshop participants. This group was subsequently proposed as a core for an Environment Unit within the Secretariat to be strengthened through the proposed investment project.

The workshop was organized into five work groups and each was given a topic related to developing an Integrated Coastal Zone Management plan (ICZM) including: (i) environmental impact of roads (in this group, a new environmental unit of the Ministry of Transport attended and focused exclusively on the impact of a proposed IBRD road rehabilitation project; (ii) appropriate technologies for hotels; (iii) norms and standards for ecotourism development; (iv) maintenance and civil works for low impact roads; and (v) ecotourism development objectives for the peninsula of Samana. Thirty-one participants from all over the country attended from the public/private/municipal/NGO sectors. The workshop produced an integrated development and investment plan for the peninsula, which was eventually accepted at the national level and formed the basis for Bank investment policy in this important sector.

Amazon Cooperation Treaty July 1995 and December 1996: Peru (Economic Development Projects in the Amazon) and Venezuela (Environmental Assessment of the Amazon Road and Transport Network)

These workshops were more informational as the Bank role was that of providing a forum for member countries of the ACT to present status reports and prepare a common framework for policy development and investments. In the first seminar, lecturers presented procedures and methodologies for the construction of infrastructure and roads in the Amazon. This workshop had a regional focus, and six of the eight countries that share the resources of the Amazon basin participated. The workshop thereby fostered better communication among member countries and stressed the importance of increasing the knowledge base for environmental action. Protecting the rights of indigenous peoples was the topic of one work group, while regional integration and transboundary air and water pollution policies was the orientation of the second group.

In the second seminar, 48 participants from all ACT (Amazon Cooperation Treaty) countries (except Suriname) attended from the public/private/municipal/NGO sectors. Each country gave a talk on their specific Amazon Transport Network. Eight technical working papers were prepared as background information giving the baseline information for each country that was summarized in the Workshop Working Document.

Colombia: Inter-sectoral Policies and Procedures for EA, October 1997

Shortly after passing a new Constitution in 1994, Colombia created the Ministry of Environment, granting greater authority to the Autonomous Regional Corporations (CARs), which exercised responsibility for ensuring that all natural resources were managed in an integrated fashion in compliance with national standards, policies and laws. Colombia is now preparing an environmental regulatory framework at the municipal level, providing a context to prepare urban environmental plans involving citizen input. The workshop furthered this process by bringing together 60 participants from the Environment Ministry, CARs, municipalities, NGOs and the private sector. The methodology of this workshop differed from the previous workshops, as it concentrated more on role playing towards an understanding of the trade-offs and compromises necessary in the EA process.

The two case study sites chosen included (i) the environmental impact of the ring road around Cartagena, and (ii) the environmental management of the industrial zone of Mamonal, an industrial zone on the Caribbean coast near the City of Santa Marta. After specific talks on the “problematic” of the two sites, field trips were taken to the sites. The next day the two groups met in plenary to fill out an EA matrix. Next the groups were split into four groups of “actors” that included different constituents: environmental authorities, project developers (owners of projects), communities (NGOs and community based organizations), and consultants (technical experts) that act as intermediaries between government authorities and owners of projects. The outputs of both seminars were used by government authorities as part of the planning process. In the case of the Mamonal area, the workshop led to the development of a multi-year project to address the most serious pollution problems from the heavy industrial sector that affect water quality for the tourism sector.