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Tackling environmental challenges in Bolivia

Three scenarios

PUM expert Herman Gels collaborated with the local team on developing a strategic plan including an investment proposal. Herman: “As input for the strategic plan, we explored three scenarios for the next 20 years in La Asunta. We did this in consultation with representatives of the urban inhabitants, of the rural civilians and of the Faculty of Forestry and Environment Engineering. Conclusions from the analysis indicate that ‘Business as usual’ would be unbearable because of serious environmental and health risks. The ’Hardware’ scenario, which means the municipality would only invest in technical infrastructure and operational costs, may prove insufficient over time and lead to increased unpayable investments. The “Polluter Pays” principle, involving citizens and companies in responsible waste management, emerges as the most sustainable approach. This strategy will include enforcement against illegal mining of gold and dumping of or not properly separating waste.”

Waste management follow-up

Immediate actions to be taken include completing cost models for the above-mentioned scenarios; involving community representatives in preparation, decision-making and public campaigns; and collaborating with state ministries to address mining-related issues and environmental monitoring. Other recommendations focus on developing a long-term waste strategy with an emphasis on reducing waste supply, ensuring proper collection, and processing waste fractions through effective waste separation. PUM expert Hans will remotely monitor the process. providing feedback and advice. To ensure a sustainable solution to La Asunta’s environmental challenges and waste management policy, PUM plans to continue the cooperation with experts in the fields of financing, legislation, and policy development.

The broader goal

Regarding the broader goal of reducing coca production, PUM continues the collaboration with the municipality of La Asunta and UNODC. They join forces to encourage local coca growers to shift to alternative activities like coffee production and beekeeping. Ron Lamain, PUM expert in Agriculture, travelled to Bolivia to collaborate with the Federation of Integrated Agricultural and Livestock Coffee Producers on Fairtrade certification, European regulations and the use of organic pesticides. During his efforts he closely worked with team from the UNODC in La Asunta.

Rosalio Caballero
Autonomous Municipality La Asunta

“We are very satisfied about the collaboration with PUM and the positive impact for our community. We will continue working with PUM experts through train-the-trainers workshops for coffee associations. Additionally, we envisage to develop ideas around eco-tourism. UNODC is also very enthusiastic and has indicated to be interested in replicating this approach Colombia.”