SANTIAGO, Chile - Paraguayan Finance Minister Francisco Oviedo Brítez and Inter-American Development Bank President Enrique V. Iglesias today signed documents for four loans totaling $129.2 million to support road improvements and rural roads as well as to protect the environment and to strengthen the national census.
A $100 loan will support road improvements to lift remote communities out of isolation and reduce travel time by one third, making some 900 kilometers of road, which are now usable only four months of the year, into roads that can be used all year round.
The improved highway corridors will not only lead to trade expansion within the expanded Mercosur countries, but also with the Pacific Rim.
In one component of the program, the 469 kilometers of the Transchaco Road, Route 9, will be improved to reduce accidents and vehicle operating costs on sections that have deteriorated. A road link on Route 9 between Mariscal Estigarribia and La Patria will be paved, as will the 118-kilometer connection from La Patria to Infante Rivarola on the Bolivian border.
The Highway Directorate’s offices will be strengthened and decentralized, and professional skills of its district staffs in the western region will be upgraded in the areas of planning, inspection, maintenance and administration.
Investments will be made in environmental protection and community services to improve the quality of life of residents, and specific measures will be taken to provide community services and training for indigenous communities and to protect the land rights.
A $12 million IDB loan will benefit 100 small communities, with an average population of around 750, as well as 10 indigenous communities in the Chaco region.
The program combines the construction of infrastructure with community participation and development in order to ensure the long-term sustainability of the systems and rational and efficient water use. The program will also strengthen the agency that will carry out the projects, the Servicio Nacional de Saneamiento Ambiental (SENASA) in its capacity to promote the expansion of drinking water systems.
SENASA will be supported by a project management firm in helping to organize associations of sanitation boards and ways to facilitate proper operation and maintenance of services.
A $9.2 million IDB loan will support a program that will enable Statistics, Surveys and Census Directorate to obtain the human and physical resources needed to conduct the census efficiently and on schedule, with a high quality of information. The program, which will be part of a joint census effort with the southern common market, is expected to supply Paraguay with up-to-date statistical data for the entire population that will include economic, social and ethnic data.
The directorate’s management and operational capacity will be strengthened to equip it to perform not only the census, but also its general functions.
An $8 million IDB loan will support the integration of public agencies and private sector organizations into the new National Environmental System, which will be responsible for carrying out environmental policy in a coordinated way. Among the steps will be the establishment of the National Environmental Council, the creation of a legal framework for the environmental sector, the establishment of a national environmental information system, and environmental education.
The newly created Secretariat of Environment, as well as other organizations that make up SISNAM, including departmental and municipal governments, will be strengthened. Investments will be made to provide the necessary technical and managerial capacity of organizations that exercise environmental control functions and protect resources and biodiversity.
An Environmental Investment Fund, which will accept contributions of both the public and private sectors, will be established for high priority investments in environmental control and management and the preservation of biodiversity.