German-Bolivian Partnership for integrating biodiversity measures in environmental impact assessments

Keywords

Environmental impact assessments, biodiversity, environmental engineering, nature conservation

Countries

Bolivia

Summary

Bolivia belongs to the top ten countries with the highest species richness worldwide on only 0.2% of the earth’s surface. It is a country of extremes that harbors an outstanding variety of ecosystems. Furthermore, Bolivia is still characterized by a relatively good conservation status with a high proportion of still pristine vegetation. Even though the remoteness and inaccessibility of many places and a relatively low human population density has prevented over-exploitation of natural resources in the past, Bolivia’s biodiversity, in the recent past is facing multiple threats.

Bolivia remains still the poorest country in South America, despite its abundant natural resources. The strong political focus on economic growth has led to rising pressures on natural ecosystems and other serious threats to the environment and biodiversity.

As many other countries, Bolivia has reacted towards increasing environmental pressures by introducing Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs). Bolivia’s reaction towards this environmental pressure is, as in many other countries, the introduction of Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs). EIAs are used to evaluate the environmental consequences of investments and development activities before their implementation. Their main goal is hereby the minimization of negative impacts on the environment.

The implementation of EIAs in Bolivia is usually based within the field of environmental engineering. Although these experts are highly professional in their own field of experience, the access to appropriate tools and methods to account for biodiversity in the EIAs is often insufficient.

Nonetheless, Bolivia’s great diversity of ecosystems and outstanding natural capital calls for a stronger consideration of biodiversity-related indicators in EIAs that need to be developed and adapted to local conditions and requirements.

This project will initiate a long-term partnership between the Department of the Universidad Católica Boliviana (UCB) in Cochabamba (Bolivia) and the Center for Development Research (ZEF) of Bonn University to jointly work on a better appreciation and a more appropriate implementation of biodiversity accounting in Bolivian EIAs and beyond with the aim of minimizing the gap between academia and practice and by strengthening the science-policy interface.

Methodology

  • Continuous exchange and regular workshops held bi-annually in Cochabamba and Bonn.
  • Joint development of a concept for the integration of biodiversity aspects into Bolivian EIAs based on consolidation and adaptation of existing tools and guidelines to Bolivian conditions
  • Joint development of a curriculum for the integration of biodiversity related EIAs as part of the regular environmental engineering curriculum.
  • Development of a compendium both for lecturers and students of the Department of Environmental Engineering-Bolivian Catholic University
  • Engagement with policy makers, conservation practitioners, members of local conservation agencies and NGOs to provide regular communication and exchange of experiences between academic institutions, regulators and practitioners.
  • Junior researchers from Bolivia are invited to apply for participation in the doctoral program at ZEF with a topic related to EIAs.

Main Cooperation Partners

Universidad Católica Boliviana (UCB), Cochabamba, Bolivia
Center for Development Research (ZEF), Bonn University

Main Funding Partners

German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) with funds from the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)

Duration of the Project

01 / 2015 - 12 / 2018

Project Homepage
http://www.zef.de/biodiv-eia.html
Team

  • Prof. Dr. Christian Borgemeister, Executive Director, ZEF
  • Dr. Vanesa Rodríguez Osuna, Senior Researcher and Project Manager
  • Dr. Jan Henning Sommer, Senior Researcher, ZEF
  • Dr. Lisa Biber-Freudenberger, Senior Researcher, ZEF

Universidad Católica Boliviana

  • Lic. M.Sc. Estela Herbas Baeny, Director of Exact Sciences and Engineering/ Director of Environmental Engineering
  • M.Sc. Ing. Mauricio Azero, Prof. Soil Science
  • Lic. Miguel Delgado Rodriguez, Prof. Environmental Impact Assessment
  • Lic. M.Sc. Ana María Michel Vargas, Prof. Environmental Microbiology
  • Dr. Gonzalo Navarro Sanchez, Prof. Environmental Impacts on the Oil and Mining Industries

Contact

Vanesa Rodríguez Osuna

Dr. Vanesa Rodríguez Osuna

Phone.:
+49-228-73-