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PRESS RELEASE

World Bank to Help Fund Climate Change Adaptation in Bolivia

July 25, 2014

1.7 Million Bolivians to Benefit from WB Comprehensive River Basin Management Program

WASHINGTON, July 25, 2014 – Nearly 1.7 million Bolivians inhabiting a territory of approximately 24,000 sq. km (9,266 sq. mi) in the Mizque, Rocha and Pirai sub-basins of the Rio Grande Basin in Cochabamba and Santa Cruz departments will benefit from a US$36 million loan and US$9.5 million donation approved today by the World Bank (WB) Board of Executive Directors.

Funding is provided by the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) and seeks to realize the second phase of the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience (PPCR II), whose aim is to improve institutional capacity and the comprehensive management of river basins and water resources, as well as to finance investments in infrastructure sub-projects.

Indigenous communities —whose population represents 40 percent of the territory’s inhabitants, approximately 700,000 people— will take active part in the decision making process related to river basin management. The program will also finance infrastructure investment sub-projects such as the construction of irrigation systems and protection of riverbanks. Although the number of direct beneficiaries from these undertakings will be defined during project implementation, it is expected that 50 percent of them will be women.

"This program is part of our new vision of development in which living well, in harmony with Mother Earth, is reflected in a comprehensive, multi-sectoral, participatory approach, at the river basin level, for climate change adaptation," said Carlos Ortuño Yañez, Vice Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation. "For example, in the Mizque river basin, hit by recurring droughts, safe water will be promoted through the improvement and construction of irrigation infrastructure and the management and restoration of degraded areas, increasing climate resilience and livelihoods along the basin.”

According to the Strategic Program for Climate Resilience prepared by the Bolivian Government, the urgency of a comprehensive management program for these river basins is the result of gradual increases in average temperatures, which intensify the frequency and magnitude of droughts in the Mizque and Rocha Rivers in Cochabamba and cause flooding in the Pirai River in Santa Cruz.

This jeopardizes the availability of water both for human consumption as well as for productive and/or hydroelectric usage, with the negative effects this can have on food security.

“The possibility of having the capacity to respond to climate change threats through solid institutions, integrated information management, and new technical resources such as early warning systems, among other future actions, leads us to assert that Bolivia is taking climate change adaptation seriously,” said the World Bank Representative in Bolivia, Faris Hadad-Zervos. “We celebrate the fact that the World Bank is part of the solution to this important challenge.”

With the implementation of the PPCR II, the Pirai River Water Channeling and Regularization Service, the Departmental River Basin Service, and the National Meteorological and Hydrology Service will improve their water and climate information systems; as well as early warning systems in the Pirai River and drought control and prevention systems in the Mizque River.

It is expected that this pilot experience will be replicated in other river basins around the country. This project is aligned with the World Bank’s current Strategic Partnership in Bolivia, namely its Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management pillars.

The project will be implemented until December 2020. The International Development Association loan has a 40-year maturity period and a 10-year grace period.

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PRESS RELEASE NO:
2015/050/LAC