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Environment

News

Bolivia-Brazil Pipeline

15 June 1999

The details of ensuring implementation of World Bank operational policies are explored in a recent report from the Bank Information Center. It examines the 3,000km Bolivia-Brazil gas pipeline project, approved by the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank in December 1997.

The report acknowledges the Banks’ responsiveness to many civil society concerns, and willingness to discuss environmental and social issues with the borrower on many occasions. Yet it finds that this was largely due to public pressure and points out a number of problems with the project preparation process and surrounding discussions. Among these are failures to address:

  1. the upstream and cumulative impacts of the project on indigenous lands and protected areas;
  2. weak governmental capacity to enforce environmental laws;
  3. inadequate provision for and consultation with affected communities;
  4. the demand for civil society groups to form part of the project monitoring system.

The report finds that the project is still violating one important loan condition: that the right of way for the pipeline in Bolivia should be replanted quickly, and concludes with recommendations for improving the design and supervision of future Bank projects.

The Bolivia-Brazil gas pipeline case study is available from Bank Information Center, 733 15th Street, NW, Suite 1126, Washington DC 20005, USA, bicusa@igc.org.