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World Bank Board Approves Action Plan Following Inspection Panel Investigation of the Bolivia - Santa Cruz Road Corridor Connector Project

WASHINGTON, May 16, 2024 – The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved yesterday a Management Action Plan, which responds to an independent Inspection Panel investigation of the Bolivia: Santa Cruz Road Corridor Connector Project (San Ignacio–San Jose). The Panel’s investigation followed a Request for Inspection filed on December 19, 2022, by four leaders of Chiquitano Indigenous People organizations in the Chiquitania region of eastern Bolivia.

The Project aims to make transport more accessible along the road corridor between the towns of San Ignacio de Velasco and San José de Chiquitos in the Santa Cruz region. Specifically, it finances the upgrading of about 208 kilometers of the existing road connecting the two municipalities, including through road paving, and construction of bypasses and bridges. The Project also supports the implementation and supervision of the related environmental and social instruments, that cover training and technical assistance to the Bolivian Highway Administration (Administradora Boliviana de Carreteras). In addition, the Project funds the preparation of feasibility studies and bidding documents for upgrading the roughly 300 kilometers of road between San Matias and San Ignacio de Velasco, a key section of the Bi-Oceanic Corridor that is meant to help diversify and expand production, trade and services, both critical factors for job creation. The Project directly benefits close to 125,000 people, of whom 51 percent are poor and 62 percent of indigenous descent. It will improve local connectivity, reduce travel times and bring down vehicle operating costs. .

The Project is financed through an IBRD-Loan of US$200 million and an IDA-Credit of US$30 million. It is implemented by the Bolivian Highway Administration.

The Request for Inspection raised concerns about impacts resulting from the upgrading of the road. The Requesters specifically raised that Project activities would threaten their land and livelihoods through illegal occupation of land. They were also concerned about shortcomings and ineffective implementation of the Indigenous Peoples Plan (IPP) and complained about a lack of meaningful consultations on the Project. The Request for Inspection also covered weaknesses in overall working conditions, and pointed to the risk of sexual exploitation, abuse, and sexual harassment of indigenous women and girls in the Project area.

The Panel’s investigation focused on concerns resulting from inadequate management of construction-related impacts on communities adjacent to the road works. This included insufficient identification and/or mitigation of impacts on water resources, or those resulting from establishing borrow pits or providing timely compensation for acquired land. Moreover, the Panel report identified inadequate implementation of road safety measures to protect the health, safety, and livelihoods of workers and the community. Other claims from the Request were not supported by the investigation.

Management has agreed with the Government of Bolivia and consulted with the affected communities on an Action Plan that details how the Bank will work together with the Bolivian Highway Administration and the communities to address the Panel’s findings. The Board approved the plan yesterday. The Government of Bolivia has confirmed its commitment to implement the plan while the World Bank will support and monitor its implementation.

The Panel is reassured that most of its findings are being addressed, or are intended to be addressed through the Management Action Plan. However, the Panel is of the view that, had the Project’s adverse impacts been assessed and consulted on more thoroughly, the IPP and its benefit programs could have been better designed and targeted to address the challenges that the impacted Chiquitano communities face,” said Inspection Panel Chairperson Mark Goldsmith. He added that “the Panel thanks the Requesters for their trust and courage in approaching it with their concerns.”

The Board recognized the importance of the Project to Bolivia and the significant development benefits it delivers to the country, including to vulnerable and indigenous communities. It stressed the need to learn from the implementation challenges and continue providing capacity support to ABC. Executive Directors specifically welcomed the actions taken by Bank Management and the Government of Bolivia to address issues of concern before the Board meeting. The Board also commended Management for successfully incorporating the lessons from previous Bank-financed road projects while addressing the risk of gender-based violence in the project.

“The Santa Cruz Road Corridor Connector Project is of strategic importance to support Bolivia’s efforts to reduce inequality and poverty. The investigation has pointed out implementation challenges from which we can learn and improve,” said Carlos Felipe Jaramillo, World Bank Vice President for Latin America and the Caribbean. “The road sector is strategically important to Bolivia, a landlocked country challenged by its geography and topography. The Project aims to integrate the country’s regions and create more opportunities for the communities that live in this region of Bolivia. We are working closely with the government of Bolivia to further strengthen the capacity of the roads sector to address environmental and social issues. We also look forward to working with all stakeholders to implement the Action Plan so that communities along the road will fully benefit from the project.”

Management will report annually to the Board on the progress in implementing the MAP.


For a full copy of the Inspection Panel Report and Management Report and Recommendation, please visit:



PRESS RELEASE NO: 05.17.2024


Ana Elisa Luna
World Bank
+1 (202) 473-2907
Rupes Kumar Dalai,
Inspection Panel


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