Location: The Wilson Institute
UNDP-USA Representative: Saphonia Foster
Thomas E. Lovejoy, President, The Heinz Center Timothy J. Killeen, Senior Research Scientist, Center for Applied Biodiversity Science, Conservation International and author of the CI report on IIRSA Gustavo Fonseca, Head of the Natural Resources Management Team of the Global Environment Facility and Vice President of Conservation InternationalMauro Marcondes-Rodrigues, IIRSA Coordinator at the Inter-American Development Bank Carlos Nobre, Director of the Center for Climate Studies and Weather Forecasting and Senior Scientist at the National Institute for Space Research of the Brazilian Government Pedro Bara-Neto, Director, Amazon Project of the World Wildlife Federation Felipe Cruz, Coordinator of Strategies and Programs in Sustainable Development, Construtora Norberto Odebrecht Marcelo Lessa, Senior Investment Officer, International Finance Corporation Francisco J. Wulff, Principal Executive of Analysis and Sectoral Policies, Andean Development Corporation
In an era when the importance of sustainable development is increasingly recognized, Brazil continues facing difficult policy questions concerning how to conduct ecologically friendly infrastructure projects without contributing to irreversible damages to the Amazon.
At Wednesday’s event, both Lovejoy and Fonseca mentioned past failures of former development projects, such as road construction, that began in the 1960’s. Many drastic and unintended consequences, such as deforestation and irregular migration flows, resulted from these projects which were conducted by World Bank and many private investors. They threatened regional stability and the rainforest’s exceptional biodiversity. The effects of these past efforts to build infrastructure left visible reminders of the damaging effects of poor development.
In addition to directly affecting the environment, biodiversity, and natural resources, infrastructure and development in the Amazon affects local economies and employment opportunities.
The event speakers noted that farming production in Argentina, Uruguay, and other nearby nations will be threatened if poor development continues. Local farmers might be forced to either shift their focus to alternative crop production or leave agribusiness altogether.
The Amazon is a prime example of the chain effect that careless development can have on the lives of local peoples and their economies. To learn more about this topic and to gain a more in-depth insight on what the speakers of this event presented, see the event summary and the resources offered.