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FEATURE STORY

Can hydropower lead to forest restoration?

May 9, 2017

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Photo: Itaipú – Paraguay Biodiversidad Project.

The World Bank (WB) will provide technical assistance to Itaipú to support the conservation and restoration of the Atlantic Forest, which is home to unique species of fauna and flora.

Following the successful completion of the Paraguay Biodiversity Project, (supported by Global Environment Facility) which has contributed to the preservation of one of the region's largest biological corridors, the World Bank and the hydroelectric dam Itaipú Binacional signed  a technical cooperation agreement to continue working on conservation of the Atlantic Forest.

Through a Reimbursable Advisory Services Agreement (RAS), the World Bank (WB) will provide technical assistance to Itaipú to support the conservation and restoration of the Atlantic Forest, which is home to unique species of fauna and flora.

The presentation of the agreement was attended by Jorge Familiar, Vice President of the World Bank for the Latin American and Caribbean Region, who highlighted the natural wealth of Paraguay as a blessing that must be taken care of for future generations. "Natural resources have to be used to generate wealth and development, but in a sustainable way so that they generate benefits for future generations," he said. "It is very clear today that we cannot talk about development without sustainability," he added.

Ruth Tiffer Sotomayor, Project Team Leader from the Environment Global Practice, explained that through this cooperation the WB will support a strategy of engaging Itaipú with the government, local communities and the private sector in the largest restoration and conservation effort for the Atlantic Forest Corridor. The project will improve connectivity of ecosystems by promoting better land use practices, supporting the livelihoods of local farmers and indigenous communities, advising on policy changes, strengthening institutions and putting in practice the Bank's global knowledge on landscape and forest restoration. 


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Photo: Itaipú – Paraguay Biodiversidad Project.

James Spalding, Itaipú's Paraguayan General Director, stressed that this new agreement is an opportunity to increase the contribution of the World Bank in the consolidation of the Paraguay Biodiversity Program, taking advantage of the many achievements reached during the first stage of the project supported by GEF.

Currently, as a result of the first stage of the Biodiversity Project, more than 3,000 small farmers have participated in reforestation through mass planting of native tree species on more than 125,000 hectares. The program is also helping conservation efforts in the Atlantic Forest, home to Guaraní ethnic groups Mbyá, Ava, Aché, and Pai Tvytera. The 55 communities and over 10,000 inhabitants are active partners in the implementation of the Paraguay Biodiversity Project.

Now, through the Paraguay Biodiversity Program, led by Pedro Domaniczky  and Alejandrino Diaz, Itaipú is seeking to preserve the Atlantic Forest based on four objectives: i) promoting the sustainable use of native forests and the protection of watersheds, ii) restoring landscapes and regenerating forests, iii) developing socio-production environmental programs and iv) sharing benefits with indigenous communities, and contributing to mitigation and adaptation to climate change.


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