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Programs emphasize participation by local communities in the design and implementation of projects

The IDB in 2002 approved $391.4 million to finance projects in the area of environment and water and sanitation, including several innovative initiatives to conserve natural resources while improving the lives of local populations.

In Panama, the IDB in 2002 approved a $15.2 million loan to help finance a program for the sustainable development of the Bocas del Toro region, on the Caribbean coast. Although poor and sparsely populated, the region has abundant agricultural resources and considerable ecotourism potential. The new project, which will help to strengthen local government, diversify production and protect the environment, will closely involve the region’s residents in planning and carrying out the new initiatives. The project will build upon lessons learned in the country’s Darien Province, which presents similar social, economic and environmental characteristics.

In Ecuador, the IDB last year approved $10 million for a sustainable development program along the country’s northern Amazonian border region to improve living conditions and protect the environment. The program will finance projects carried out by small-scale rural producers and improve sanitary conditions. It will also consolidate the system of protected areas in Ecuador Northern Amazonian Region.

In Honduras, a $12 million loan approved last year will strengthen environmental management in the country’s Bay Islands, a major tourist destination. Local people will play an active role in many of the activities, including demarcation, monitoring, enforcement, planning ecotourism infrastructure, and the protection and restoration of marine ecosystems. In addition, potable water, wastewater and solid waste management services will be provided. Good practices by local tourism businesses will be encouraged with environmental audits, awards and demonstrations.

In Brazil, a $64.8 million loan will finance a series of investments in conservation, infrastructure and support for technology and production in the western Amazonian state of Acre. The program will regularize land tenure, add to protected areas, strengthen the state’s ability to manage natural resources, and pave a 70-kilometer section of the highway BR-364. Measures will be taken to protect indigenous communities through the creation of cultural centers. Civil society groups representing all sectors of society will supervise the implementation of the program through a Commission for Evaluation and Monitoring.

In the area of water and sanitation, the IDB last year moved forward with a poverty-targeted program to provide services to small rural population centers in Venezuela. The Bank's capacity to innovate in the water sector also was greatly enhanced by the newly established IDB/Netherlands Water Partnership.

In addition, the Bank continued advancing in the area risk management for natural disasters. Initiatives included a series of regional technical cooperation projects with funding from Japanese government to improve disaster-related information and indicators and to reduce desertification. The first IDB loans were approved through the new Disaster Prevention Sector Facility.

The Bank last year published the document Facing the Challenges of Sustainable Development: The IDB and the Environment 1992-2002, which highlights the Bank’s role in the environment during the past ten years as well as the institution’s strategic vision for the future. The document was distributed at the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development.

The past year also saw progress on the preparation of the IDB’s Environment Strategy, including a broad consultation process and policy dialogues. The strategy will be presented to the Board in 2003.

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