Footprints in the Jungle: Natural Resource Industries, Infrastructure, and Biodiversity Conservation

By Ian A. Bowles; Glenn T. Prickett et al. | Go to book overview

18
Cóndor
Better Decisionmaking on Infrastructure Projects
Silvio Olivieri
Claudia Martinez

The Andean Region is an intricate ecological mosaic that possesses the highest biodiversity on the planet. It is rich in hydrological and mineral resources and is home to a great diversity of people with different cultures, different approaches to development, and different ways of relating to nature—from the Peruvian and Bolivian highlands, where indigenous people are living at the same pace as their ancestors, to cities like Bogota, Caracas, or Lima with their large populations, rushing forward into modern life.

In the 1950s, South America accounted for 12.5 percent of the world's trade; by 1990 this percentage had fallen to 3.5 percent. Although several initiatives to promote regional integration and enhance its position in the world economy have taken place in these decades, South America has only recently begun advancing toward a regional development strategy. The strengthening of the Andean Community of Nations, the making of Mercosur, and the idea of establishing a free trade area of the Americas are indications of an increasing emphasis on regional development.

Integration does not only involve trade. It involves common agendas, common frameworks, and a consensus on the long-term future for the region. It is also about physical integration and the necessity to look beyond national boundaries for regional complementarities and global efficiency. Latin America needs a sense of a common future, where the answers to its physical development will be a function not only of geopolitics but of geo-economics and the conservation of the region's rich natural heritage. How much energy is needed to power a country? Could surpluses or deficiencies in energy demands be

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