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European Commission


Brussels, 19 August 2013

Development Cooperation between the EU and Bolivia

Bolivia has moved from a low-income economy to a lower-middle-income economy in six years and has made progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Indicators reveal improvement of living conditions in the poorest segments of the population. According to recent World Bank data, life expectancy increased from 65 years (2007) to 67 years (2011), the rate of school enrolment from 86% (2007) to 100% in 2010 and improved water sources for rural population from 67% in 2007 to 71% in 2010.

At the same time, according to the Ministry for Economy and Finance, the incidence of moderate poverty in the country dropped from 64.8% (1996) to 51.3% (2009) and extreme poverty from 41.2% (1996) to 20.9% (2011). With internal funding increasing steadily in recent years, external aid is becoming proportionally less important. Currently, only 0.5% of GDP is development aid.

However, long-standing inequalities still exist and Bolivia remains the poorest country in South America. Despite recent progress, income distribution in Bolivia is still extremely unequal. The recent National Census reveals that 44% of households lack access to drinking water; it also shows that almost 36% of the population does not have electricity; and less than 10% of Bolivians have a connection to internet.

The EU’s work in Bolivia

The EU has worked with Bolivia for over 30 years. Bolivia is the biggest recipient of EU aid in Latin America, receiving €241 million from 2007-2013.

The EU provides 50% of all foreign assistance to Bolivia.

EU aid supports three priority areas:

    1) Generating economic opportunities and decent work (€70m)

    2) The fight against drugs (€69m)

    3) Sustainable management of national resources (€102 m)

Bolivia also receives €12.77m under the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI) food budget and €31.75 million under the thematic budget lines (for 48 projects in a wide variety of areas, such as gender, civil society and human rights).

Three projects have also been implemented under the Instrument for Stability (€9 million) to support the fight against drugs in Bolivia, the promotion of political dialogue and the prevention of socio-political conflict in the country.

A project to construct the road between Uyuni and Tupiza has also been given an €8m grant through the Latin American Investment Facility (LAIF).

Results from the ground – how the EU is making a difference in Bolivia

In the Fight Against Drugs:

  1. Since 2000, over 2,500 projects in alternative development have been financed, benefitting some 329 communities and 300,000 people, improving access to basic services, food security and income opportunities and strengthening local governance and social organisations.

  2. A sophisticated system to control extension of coca production was developed and implemented to reduce coca production in the country (the so called SYSCOCA).

  3. Both techniques - "development plus control"- led to a 12% drop in 2011 and a further 7% in 2012 in the number of hectares of land used for coca cultivation.

In water and natural resources:

  1. The EU has helped to improve supply of drinking water, sanitation, the management of watersheds and national parks.

  2. Some 311,477 families have benefitted from projects helping to reduce the country’s vulnerability against climate change.

  3. Through EU support to the government’s National Water and Sanitation strategy, 90,000 inhabitants benefitted from improved access to water. 75,000 people have gained access to sanitation services through the same programme.

Spotlight on projects

Water and Sanitation programme in peri-urban areas (€28.5 million)

This project was set up to improve the living conditions of the population in peri-urban areas (suburban areas next to a city with a population of more than 10,000 inhabitants) of La Paz, El Alto, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz and other major localities.

It helped to promote the sustainable management of water resources, promoting systems adapted to the impact of climate change. It also helped to increase access to the sustainable water supply and sanitation for the population, establishing systems based on the management of available water resources and applying new technologies (such as lower water consumption toilets, leakage reduction systems, etc) to promote the more efficient use of water.

Results achieved so far include:

  1. 37,095 new connections to water (for 167,000 inhabitants)

  2. Sanitation: 30,319 new connections, or 135,580 inhabitants

  3. Increase in Wastewater Treatment plants (2011-2012), benefiting 30,000 inhabitants (three new plants with 80% fulfillment of the projects at the end of 2012)

Project to support the improvement of working conditions and employment generation in the mining areas of Bolivia (€10 million)

This project was set up in 14 municipalities which are currently reliant on mining (Sorata, Guanay, Oruro, Villa Poopó, Villa Huanuni, Llallagua Chayanta Colquechaca Ocurí, Tacobamba, Potosi, Porco, Cotagaita and Atocha). It was designed to improve the economic, social and environmental impact of the mining areas of Bolivia and to promote socially and environmentally responsible employment in these areas.

  1. Projects set up to create livelihoods in alternative sectors include those on micro-irrigation systems, fruit production, fish farming, tourism and forestry, as well as support for drinking water and health.

  2. 23 other projects have been put in place to help the Ministry of Mines to better manage information and improve tax collection, sectoral policy development, strategy formulation, conflict; management, education and training, credit fund management and communication and visibility.

  3. Training for miners has also been both formalised and increased.

  4. Over 10,000 miners and their families benefitted from the programme.

Sector Budget Support to the National Integral Development with Coca (€26m)

This programme was financed through the National Fund for Alternative Development (FONADAL) in order to diversity agricultural production in coca regions (e.g. banana, cacao, coffee, citrus fruits and palm hearts) and to improve the living conditions of the rural population by providing social infrastructure (water, sanitation, schools, hospitals, etc.) and capacity building of both local governments and social organisations, providing training, expertise and equipment, for example).

It has had the following impact:

  1. 524 projects carried out under four areas: economic development, social development, institutional strengthening and national resources and environment.

  2. Internal migration flows towards illegal coca producing areas dropped by 30%

  3. 200 young people every year were provided with technical training to diversify and enhance their employment opportunities.

  4. Coca production decreased in Bolivia by 18% since 2010.

  5. In addition, alternative agricultural production has increased substantially: establishing several promising productive chain.

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