Standardizing Sustainable Development? Development Banks in the Andean Amazon

The Andean Amazon is experiencing a surge of infrastructure investment that is financed by development banks often headquartered thousands of miles away. Regardless of the environmental and social risk management (ESRM) systems deployed by these projects, the surge has been associated with furthering environmental degradation and triggering social conflict in an area that can scarce afford it. The overall lack of effective ESRM frameworks is not only inconsistent with the goal of calibrating development bank finance toward the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement; such shortcomings also pose a number of costly risks to development banks as well.  

These are the findings of a multi-year, interdisciplinary study titled Standardizing Sustainable Development? Development Banks in the Andean Amazon, carried out by economists, political scientists, ecologists, geographers, and engineers from Boston University’s Global Development Policy Center, the Universidad del Pacífico in Lima, Peru; the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales in Quito, Ecuador; and the Instituto de Estudios Avanzados en Desarrollo in La Paz, Bolivia. Through cross-cutting statistical analyses and four country studies (in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Brazil), the team collectively examined the extent to which international development finance institutions (DFIs: multilateral development banks as well as export credit agencies and national development banks operating abroad), host country governments, and civil society deployed ESRM frameworks to ensure that infrastructure projects bring shared economic benefits to nations while mitigating risks to ecosystems and communities.

Country studies NOW available in Spanish and English, link here.

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