The effectiveness of the safeguards in place for three highway projects in Bolivia
Bolivia has seen a surge of highway construction in the last few years, jumping from an average of 1.7% of GDP from 2009 through 2013 to 2.8% in 2015 and 3.6% in 2016. This chapter analyzes the environmental and social safeguards active in the management of these projects, both from the national government and the development banks involved in financing and overseeing them. It incorporates document review, site visits, and stakeholder interviews and focus groups to assess the effectiveness of safeguard policies in three highway projects: La Paz–Oruro (financed by the Development Bank of Latin America), San Buenaventura–Ixiamas (financed by the World Bank), and Montero–Yapacaní (financed by the Inter-American Development Bank). It finds that by and large, safeguards have not adequately prevented or mitigated the social impacts of highway projects, particularly those associated with working conditions. It makes several recommendations to development banks operating in Bolivia, particularly regarding the importance of institutional capacity-building programs in partnership with the national government.