The small-scale farmers in Bolivia's arid regions are very vulnerable to climate change. In order to meet the farmers' needs and teach new farming methods, Sida has supported a project in which the local authorities were able to develop their capacity.
Our work in Bolivia
Our work in Bolivia continues to run along its previous course. The country’s own strategies for combating poverty will provide a welcome long-term approach in striving towards a fairer society. We help Bolivians succeed in their efforts through support within the areas of democracy, education and management of natural resources with focus on climate change.
The strategy is intended to improve the environment and the sustainable utilisation of natural resources, to limit climate impact, strengthen resilience and democratic societal development, and to improve the opportunities of people living in poverty to support themselves. The cooperation is also intended to support a transition from development cooperation to broader relationships.
In accordance with the strategy for the period 2016–2020, Sweden's work is concentrated to three areas with a total of eight results. These three areas are:
- Strengthened democracy and gender equality, and greater respect for human rights.
- A better environment, limited climate impact and greater resilience to environmental impacts, climate change and natural disasters.
- Better opportunities and tools to enable poor people to improve their living conditions.
The cooperation also covers research cooperation, support to Swedish non-governmental organisations and, in the event of specific needs, also humanitarian aid.
Democracy and human rights
The Millennium Development Goals of halved poverty, basic education, gender equality and women's empowerment have been achieved in a previous strategy period. However, of the country's inhabitants, about 40 per cent are living in poverty, and in rural areas, 60 per cent are estimated to be poor.
Results of the work for transparency and non-discrimination in public administration have been partially achieved. The rights of indigenous peoples and women have been improved, particularly with regard to new legislation. At the same time, there are major deficiencies in the implementation of the laws as this is weak at both the regional and local levels. Children's ombudsmen at the local level are under development.
Bolivia's development challenges involve continuing the work to reduce poverty, strengthen human rights and increase gender equality. The constitution of 2009 and also the many laws adopted since then are assessed to be of a good standard. However, the implementation of the legislation is deficient. The democratic institutions are weak, and there are deficiencies in the systems for accountability and transparency. Corruption is widespread and constitutes an obstacle to the country's economic and social development.
In the current strategy period, Sweden is providing support to strengthen the public institutions in order to build up the public administration, above all through capacity development. Greater capacity and transparency will help to strengthen the system's mechanisms. Extensive support is also given to various programmes that aim to strengthen the democratic culture and to promote human rights. The strengthening of rights focuses on women, children and indigenous peoples, who constitute the most vulnerable groups in society.
Environment and natural resources
Bolivia is one of the countries with the greatest biodiversity in the world – from the Andean highlands to the rain forests of the Amazon Basin – but this is also a threatened resource that is very sensitive to climate change. Already vulnerable people are hit every year by drought and flooding.
Swedish contributions have helped to achieve the Millennium Development Goal for access to drinking water. In rural areas, 59 per cent have access to clean water. However, the Millennium Development Goal for sanitation has not been achieved. Half the population still lacks access to toilets. The problems are greatest among the suburban and rural poor.
Sweden supports programmes to improve a utilisation of natural resources that promotes sustainable and climate-adapted development. Through improved agricultural methods, small farmers in rural areas have increased their food security and reduced their vulnerability to climate change. Through other projects and programmes, Sweden has contributed to clean water and basic sanitation in some of the country's poorest areas, and this has improved health conditions.
Swedish support has also contributed to great advances in the development of models for sustainable and climate-adapted solutions in suburbs and rural areas. Conditions exist for implementing these on a larger scale in selected municipalities.
Free and fair trade for sustainable development
Bolivia's economy is dependent on the export of natural gas and other commodities. The falling price of gas on the world market has reduced Bolivia's export revenues, which directly affects the national budget. Greater diversification and enhanced conditions for trade and investment within other sectors are important factors for a more sustainable development.
The strong economic development of recent years has often come at the expense of a long-term use of natural resources, and this has caused major environmental problems and societal challenges. Major emissions of air pollutants and environmental toxins can have an adverse effect on health, work environment, agriculture and gender equality. Deforestation and soil erosion, caused by substandard agricultural methods, threaten long-term economic development and contribute to global warming.
Swedish support is intended to strengthen the conditions for free and fair trade for sustainable development with a focus on the very area of a better environment, limited climate impact and greater resilience to environmental impacts, climate change and natural disasters. Strengthened conditions and greater resilience are to result in better opportunities and tools to enable poor people to improve their living conditions.
Research and universities
Sweden’s long-term goal is to help partners better plan, implement and use research for development and economic growth. The purpose is that Bolivia will eventually be able to conduct its own research of international quality in areas that partners have set as priority.
Examples of Swedish support can be found within programmes on masters and doctoral levels done in collaboration with Swedish and international partners, in administrative reform of universities and in investments in university infrastructure such as IT, libraries and laboratories. The cooperation is based on the Strategy for research cooperation and research in development cooperation (2015–2021).