The event’s agenda revolved around the governance of and trends of investments in infrastructure in Latin America, and on the necessity of improved communication on the part of Latin American civil society in the face of a complicated and challenging regional backdrop.

The regional workshop “Trends in Investments in Infrastructure in the Region: Climate Change and Governance” took place in the city of Lima (Peru) on the 24th and 25th of April. Its objective was to examine and debate the economic and socio-environmental impact of investments in infrastructure financed by the multilateral development bank and by the national development banks of Latin America. The event was organized by AAyS (Environment and Society Association) of Colombia; CDES (Center for Economic and Social Rights) of Ecuador; CEDLA (Center of Studies for Labor and Agrarian Development) of Bolivia; DAR (Environmental Law and Natural Resources) of Peru; IBASE (Brazilian Institute for Social and Economic Analysis) of Brazil; FUNDAR Center for Analysis and Research of Mexico, and FUNDEPS (Foundation for the Development of Sustainable Policy) of Argentina.

The first day of the event was dedicated to the presentation of papers and publications that the organizations of the region have been carrying out in the past few months. These papers covered various topics: the current situation of governance and financing of infrastructure in the region; socio-environmental safeguards and human rights; and climate change.  The presentations revolved around the infrastructure megaprojects in the Amazon, the financing of infrastructure by the multilateral development bank and by the national development banks, Chinese investment in the region, the financing of Climate Change, and the processes of citizen participation in spaces like UNASUR and BNDES, among other topics. Simultaneously, there was a space dedicated to the discussion around the adpotation of a strategy on the part of Latin American civil society in relation to the upcoming COP-20 (Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), to take place in the city of Lima in December of this year.
With these discussions the conference articulated the complex situation of infrastructure finance in the region:
  • Multiplicity of involved actors, be they multilateral international banks like the World Bank or regional multilateral banks like BId and CAF; national development banks like Brazil’s BNDES;
  • More global forums and spaces, like the G-20, the BRICS or UNASUR itself, via its Council on Infrastructure and Planning (COSIPLAN) charged with implementing the criticized IIRSA initiative in the region.
  • Growing Chinese investment in the region
  • Greater participation of the private sector either directly or via public-private partnerships.
  • Weakening of environmental safeguards on the part of the principal institutions offering financing
  • Failure on the part of the states to effectively observe and guarantee human rights when driving development projects.
On the second day of the event, the agenda was centered on a workshop activity in which the participants, members of diverse organizations and civil society network from the majority of the countries of the region, worked to identify priorities and to advance in the development of a strategic agenda that would allow the region to effectively confront such a complex and troublesome situation.
The Lima workshop is an important step in the direction of improved communication and coordination among the diverse organizations of the region, allowing for effective change on issues that would be impossible to deal with individually. Therefore, we invite all interested organizations to join us in the process of communication and collective work to promote a development model for our region that is more sustainable, participative, and respectful of human rights.
Translated by: Savannah Mcdermott