Inter-American Environmental Program
I. Land and Biodiversity
Conservation of biodiversity is critical to the alleviation of poverty, advances in agricultural production, the development of new medicines, industrial innovation, and environmental sustainability. For the private sector and local communities to participate as responsible partners in biodiversity protection and the management of commercially important national resources, stakeholders and policy-makers must craft and implement innovative laws and policies. ELI has worked in Latin America to help communities develop necessary tools to conserve biodiversity.
Establishing Frameworks for Protected Areas in the Eastern Caribbean
ELI is working in the Eastern Caribbean with John C. Knechtle, President of the American & Caribbean Law Initiative and Professor of Law at the Florida Coastal School of Law, and Keith Sobion, Executive Director of the Council of Legal Education and Former Attorney General of Trinidad & Tobago to assist countries in establishing more effective legal and institutional frameworks to create and manage protected areas. The team is addressing institutional, legal, and policy challenges that inhibit effective protection and management of biodiversity in protected areas by producing a report and model framework law on marine and terrestrial protected areas for the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States. Through three trips to the region, the team has met with a wide range of stakeholders to get the appropriate background on the specific obstacles facing managers of protected areas in these small island nations.
Strengthening Conservation of Private Lands
In 2003, ELI completed an exhaustive survey of laws that have successfully supported the creation and development of private nature reserves and conservation easements in Latin America. Partners for this project included Centro de Derecho Ambiental y de los Recursos Naturales (CEDARENA) in Costa Rica, Sociedad Peruana de Derecho Ambiental (SPDA) in Peru, PROMETA in Bolivia, Comite Nacional Pro Defensa de la Fauna y Flora (CODEFF) in Chile, Centro Ecuatoriano de Derecho Ambiental (CEDA) in Ecuador, Pronatura in Mexico, and Fundação Boticario in Brazil. To identify the key factors that contributed to the success of these laws, Senior Attorney Byron Swift visited private protected areas in Argentina, Paraguay, Peru, Bolivia, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Ecuador and, with our partners, developed case studies on those areas. In 2003, ELI published Legal Tools and Incentives for Private Lands Conservation in Latin America: Building Models for Success, a report in English, Spanish, and Portuguese that identifies models of success in private lands conservation in the region. ELI and its partners presented elements of the draft handbook and discussed the model laws during a day-long workshop that took place during the regional conference that ELI co-sponsored with Pronatura in January 2003 at the World Parks Congress in Cancun. With support from a grant from the Overbrook Foundation, ELI also worked in partnership with Pronatura to develop a federal law and financial incentives for private protected areas in Mexico.
Protecting Landscapes in Argentina
ELI collaborated with Fundación Naturaleza para el Futuro (FuNaFu) of Argentina and INCAE of Costa Rica on a two-year project to improve public decisions concerning the development of unique landscapes and places of special natural or cultural value in Argentina. The overarching goal of the project was to protect unique landscapes and special places with eco-tourism, archeological, biological, cultural, and aesthetic value. In doing so, the project helped promote and secure the sustainable development of small communities located outside of the economic centers where investment dollars are typically concentrated. At the same time, the project strengthened governmental institutions and processes and, consequently, respect for and participation in democratic processes. The project team developed a handbook that presents the tools for better understanding and analyzing the implications of decisions, as well as the options for improving decision-making processes.
The Inter-American Mining Program
Economic integration of the Americas continues to present challenges to the development of policies for the sustainable development of regional natural resources. ELI is working with its network partners in the hemisphere to develop innovative policy solutions to pressing environmental problems at the regional, national and local level. ELI is also working directly with communities in the Andean region to help them develop their environmental, social and economic agenda, and set of tools to address the impacts of mining on their communities. ELI has also been particularly active in advancing pollution prevention policies in the region, from promoting a hemispheric agenda for pollution prevention in the mining sector to developing an innovative regulation on pollution prevention for industry in Peru. Preventing pollution is one of many requirements for effective resource conservation and prevention of biodiversity losses. ELI’s Mining Center web page describes these projects in detail.
Inter-American Program Activities
II. Land and Biodiversity
III. Advancing an Agenda for Pollution Prevention
IV. Capacity-Building Initiatives
V. Promoting Public Participation
VI. Related Publications