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National Parks Benefit from Better Infrastructure

October 5, 2011


In Argentina 3,5 million hectares are national parks that include mountains, forests, glaciers and coastal areas.

World Bank

  • The facilities of six protected natural areas are improving the job of park guards and providing tourists the infrastructure to enjoy nature.
  • The construction of paths and viewpoints are also expected.
  • The works will allow the development of sustainable tourism and the conservation of biodiversity.

The national protected areas system of Argentina, managed by the National Park Administration (APN), is the oldest in South America. It covers 3.5 million hectares including mountains, forests, glaciers and coastal areas.

There are 36 national parks and in the last 7 years the coverage increased by 24%. In 2010, the argentine sea was included. According to the World Bank forestry specialist Robert Davis, “improving the services with new infrastructure can have a positive economic impact not only for the Government but also for communities”.

The World Bank is implementing the Sustainable Natural Resources Management Project, that aims to strengthen management capacity of eleven priority protected areas.“Many of the parks that lacked the needed infrastructure are being financed by this project, which also supports sustainable development initiatives at community level”, says Raúl Espiño, coordinator of the APN’s area of external financed projects.

Up to now, the works have begun in six of the parks included in the project: Sierra de las Quijadas (San Luis province), Los Cardones and Baritú (Salta province), Campo de los Alisos (Tucumán province), Talampaya (La Rioja province) and Calilegua (Jujuy province).

" Una infraestructura adecuada y recursos humanos capacitados son elementos necesarios para el desarrollo de un turismo sustentable y para la conservación de los recursos naturales "

Robert Davis

Especialista de forestación del Banco Mundial

Most of works are related to the construction and renovation of housing for park guards, visitor centers and other facilities, like in Sierra de las Quijadas and Los Cardones. In other parks, the works also will include the construction of paths and viewpoints.

Moreover, APN is working with consultative commissions, which are participatory groups of stakeholders that live or work around the parks. Some of the local small producers participate in development subprojects around the parks to promote resource conservation. For example, in Pilcomayo National Park, fishermen of the Qom indigenous people will be working with a biologist on how to fish moray eels in Laguna Blanca. Also in Calilegua there are commercial initiatives that involved indigenous communities such as Kollas and Mbya Guaraní, and local people.

“Good infrastructure and well-trained human resources are needed for the development of sustainable tourism and conservation of biodiversity”, concludes Davis.

The World Bank has been working with APN for many years now. In 1998, the Biodiversity Conservation project (US$9,9 million) began its implementation. Over 10 years, the project succeeded in expanding and diversifying the protected areas system by establishing five new protected areas and national parks: Copo (Santiago del Estero), San Guillermo (San Juan), Quebrada del Condorito (Córdoba), Mburucuyá (Corrientes) and Monte León (Santa Cruz). In addition, the project helped establish conditions for effective management of these parks, through investments to strengthen APN‟s management capabilities. A video has been produced to tell the 10 year story of the project.