Innovative Partnership to focus on Best Management Practices in the Amazon Basin

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Coca, Ecuador: an Amazon city increasingly transformed by the oil industry. Photo by Manny Sanchez

The Amazon Basin hosts one third of the world’s known species of plants and animals and is of immeasurable ecological importance. As the most biodiverse region on the planet, its rich natural resources are being threatened by over-exploitation, contamination, degradation and rapid economic growth and social change. I4DI is supporting USAID/SAR (South American Region) in a multinational effort to study the conditions under which private industries and investors voluntarily adopt best management practices (BMPs) in high-impact development projects intended to minimize impacts on biodiversity and carbon emissions.

BMPs are those that minimize the negative environmental, social, and/or economic impacts that stem from typical development practices. To contribute to impact mitigation, BMPs must be adopted by the private entities responsible for financing and/or implementing high-impact development projects. Voluntary adoption of BMPs has been documented around the world, but comparative analyses of the drivers of such adoption are scare. As the lead implementing partner of USAID/SAR, I4DI is supporting a more comprehensive understanding of the drivers of adoption, contributing structural conditions and the process through which this takes place.

Building on success and lessons learned from previous conservation efforts in the Amazon Basin, USAID/SAR intends to harness findings, analysis, and recommendations resulting from I4DI’s deeper understanding of the conditions that facilitate voluntary adoption of BMPs to inform USAID’s design of a new Amazon Regional Environmental Strategy. As a result, USAID’s new Strategy will prioritize key threats, including large-scale infrastructure projects and extractive industries, which have the potential to radically transform the Amazon region in the coming decades.

I4DI’s commitment to facilitating adoption of BMPs is evident in ongoing related work involving a study of the factors affecting adoption of good agricultural practices (GAP) in smallholder farmers, including indigenous groups in Indonesia, which was conducted in collaboration with private sector company and local research organizations. To accomplish the critical USAID/SAR review of BMPs, I4DI’s expert research team includes Mariano Castro Sánchez-Moreno, former Peru Vice-Minsiter of Environmental Managment, Ministry of Environment; Dr. Connie Campbell, former USAID Regional Amazon Conservation Techincal Lead; Jose Fernando Gómez Rojas, former Attorney for the Colombian Presidency of the Republic; and Maria Teresa Buroz, Associate Professor at the Universidad Católica Andrés Bello in Venezuela.