Project description

The project “German-Bolivian Partnership for integrating biodiversity measures in environmental impact assessments” is financially supported for German Academic Exchange Service DAAD. It focuses at establishing a long-term partnership between the Environmental Engineering Department of the Universidad Católica Boliviana (UCB) in Cochabamba (Bolivia) and the Center for Development Research (ZEF) of Bonn University with the aim to jointly develop a lecture and guideline on the systematical accounting for biodiversity aspects in Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs).

As many other countries, Bolivia has reacted towards increasing environmental pressures by introducing Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs). EIAs belong to the most powerful policy instruments to ensure environmental compatibility of plans and projects. Nevertheless, especially in low-income countries such as in Bolivia with other priorities on their agenda, biodiversity aspects are often not being systematically and sufficiently assessed as part of EIAs. Considering that this country has a great diversity of ecosystems and a rich biodiversity pool, the protection of this natural capital requires the development of biodiversity indices adapted to local conditions and ecosystems.

Germany has a relatively long experience in the development and conduction of EIAs. As well as in the rest of Europe, EIAs have been implemented as a result of the EU Environmental Impact Assessment Directive that was introduced in 1985. A national law “Gesetz über die Umweltverträglichkeitsprüfung (UVPG)” regulates the EIA in Germany since 1990. The support of the German partner, with extensive experience in this field, in the development of these methods and indices is expected to provide multiple benefits and positive effects for capacity building.

Therefore the project will bring together the Universidad Católica Boliviana, the  Center of Development Research (ZEF) of Bonn University in the field of EIAs and jointly work on a more appropriate implementation of biodiversity measures in the Bolivian context at the university and educational as well as the political levels. Furthermore, this project will strengthen the exchange related to biodiversity research and conservation of both institutions and additional regional partners including other universities, policy makers and governmental as well as non-governmental organizations. This exchange together with the establishment of a long-term relationship as well as the engagement of other stakeholders such as policy makers and NGOs will help to build local capacities to conduct EIAs considering local specific impacts on biodiversity. In addition, the long-term partnership could enhance the implementation of a doctoral program at UCB in Bolivia with a strong focus on biodiversity conservation. This program is expected to be a joint future project to carry on with the collaboration and to benefit from the experience of ZEF and its international doctoral program.