4.1 Potentials and constraints
4.2 Specific objectives
4.3 Proposed strategies
4.4 Binational subprograms and projects
The information used in the preparation of the regional diagnoses, though limited, suggests a set of possibilities to consider in designing policies and strategies for the development of the Amazonian border regions.
The most primary possibilities that emerge from the integrated study of each border region indicate:
- Conditions are generally promising for programs to improve both regional farm production and productivity. Although the market is small, increased local production could improve self-sufficiency, reduce the volume of imports, and even generate exportable surpluses of some goods;
- With proper management, national parks and other wilderness areas could serve new functions as centers for reproduction and repopulation of native fauna, preservation of biodiversity, and sources for genetic material as well as for ecotourism.
- Border areas offer opportunities for the establishment of businesses that would draw on capital, raw materials, technology, and markets from both countries, expanding the local economy and generate new employment.
The following general constraints of the border areas can be noted:
- Isolation and little effective internal or external communication, which limits development;
- A dependent economic and social structure, which creates expensive inputs, services, and capital goods for productive activities;
- Use of traditional technology in resource exploitation, which results in low levels of production and productivity;
- Lack of infrastructure in energy, communications, and especially transport, which bars access to resources and prevents an increase in production;
- Rudimentary intermodal transport systems and, general underuse of natural waterways because of unfamiliarity with certain stretches of the rivers'; weak port infrastructure, and a conspicuous lack of boats suitable for passenger and freight transport to the interior.
- Low levels of public and private investment which results in isolation and marginalization for lack of basic services and scant capacity to promote and support production;
- Inadequate local administrative structures to coordinate activities or negotiate budgetary support from the governments; and
- Scattered populations, which makes it difficult to provide basic services and to build the minimum infrastructure for productive activities.
Specific Potentials and Constraints
In the Physical Planning and Management for the San Miguel and Putumayo River Basins (Colombia-Ecuador), oil - the region's greatest resource - offers a significant potential. This activity, however, is basically an enclave. Most of the potential for generation of indirect employment remains outside the region. It must also be remembered that unless a serious effort is made to provide small farmers in the project area with economically viable production alternatives and improved living conditions, the current actions to control illegal coca-growing will be ineffective.
In the Integrated Development Program for the Peruvian-Brazilian Border Communities, special emphasis is placed on the productive characteristics of the region. Local forest activity must, however, be transformed and modernized: the present primitive methods cause resource degradation. One element essential to these changes are the transfer of technology in tropical resources management and the development of systems for the harvest, storage, transport, and marketing of products. The possibility of building an interoceanic highway will influence and set priorities for natural resources use.
As in the Tabatinga-Apaporis (Brazil-Colombia) the Plan for the Integral Development of the Putumayo River Basin (Colombia-Peru), it is critical to take advantage of the river transport potential to ensure that goods and services generated in the area can be shipped. Excluding the Amazon River, the length of usable waterway is approximately 3,600 km and use is constrained by inadequate port infrastructure and lack of signalling along certain stretches. River navigation is of interest to all the countries in the Amazon region and its importance as an effective instrument for integration cannot be ignored. Intermodal transport should be looked into as a means of lowering costs and shortening travel times for the various activities aimed at integrating the region into the national economies.
Fishing has significant potential, but insufficient attention has been given to its modernization and improving the technology it uses. To be commercially viable, fishing must be more efficient. Processing, storage, and transport should be modernized and directed towards outside markets. Fisheries reserves should be protected to prevent pouching. To prevent the decline of fish populations both public awareness of the importance of conserving these resources and a transfer of fishing technology should be promoted. Infrastructure development, transportation, and market systems are also required. The countries could also benefit from a harmonization of their fisheries legislation.
Every year, the floodplains are fertilized by sediment carried by floodwaters. These are already used by the people living along the rivers bank for farming and livestock production, but these people could benefit considerably from technology transfer and the introduction of more suitable practices. Experience gained under similar conditions in other parts of the world could prove extremely useful to those local communities.
Ecotourism, which takes advantage of existing natural attractions, provides an excellent opportunity for development and is a valuable source of funds for protecting the involved natural resources. Development of this activity will require an expansion of local infrastructure, considerable training of the local population, improved air and river transport systems, and a worldwide promotional campaign.
Based on the needs and real possibilities for using the region resources general objectives defined by the countries and the diagnostic studies established the specific objectives. While each border integration plan or program has its own characteristics, their common objectives can be summarized as follows:
- To strengthen scientific research to generate new ways of managing natural resources;
- To provide more protection for natural areas and wildland by creating national, binational, or trinational reserves and parks;
- To support national and regional institutions, public or private, that are responsible for applying standards governing land use, infrastructure, and resources, and to improve their capacity to operate as instruments of development;
- To encourage groups involved in rural development and to give due appreciation to traditional methods of indigenous populations;
- To connect currently settled areas to national economic and productive activities; and,
- To organize the land settlement processes in certain areas.
Depending on the sphere of application, proposals can be grouped on the basis of spatial or sectoral criteria. Since many of the problems currently affecting the region stem from the relative growth and development of other parts of the country, sectoral strategies have to do with actions that should be undertaken both regionally and nationally.
Unless consideration is given to the cultural motivations and socioeconomic situation of the people living in the area - who determine how the land is now occupied and how the resources are used - there will be no prospects in the short term for sustainable development and maintenance of the protected areas. This means that physical planning, and the analysis of appropriate development options will, in the long run, be the principal guide for the environmental management of the region.
In general, the spatial strategies drawn from the studies can be summarized as follows:
At the Regional Level
- Zone the binational projects areas to identify its ecosystems and design technologies, and establish production and management systems that best suit these ecosystems;
- Organize and consolidate currently settled areas and new settlements;
- Pay attention to the needs of local and indigenous communities;
- Promote border security by improving living conditions, basic services, transport, and communications;
- Strengthen the management capability of local agencies in charge of executing the programs and projects;
- Conduct inventories and disseminate information on the sociocultural values of the region;
- As far as possible, integrate the education and health services and the marketing, transport, energy, and communications systems of the border regions;
- Encourage vertical integration of extractive production and the adoption of sustainable production methods as a means of increasing the primary producer's share of the final value added; and
- Encourage participation of producers and communities in the decisions affecting the course of their own development; take advantage of the traditional knowledge and practices of indigenous and local communities in promoting sustainable development.
At the National Level
The sectoral strategies proposed at the national level, arise out of national planning directives, already established development objectives, and the general strategy described above. They can be summarized as follows:
- Natural resources and the environment. Promote physical planning of the binational project areas. Prepare environmental research programs and proposals to channel a higher percentage of national investment into actions that improve environmental quality. Establish training programs on natural resources management. Foster an awareness of the importance of managing Amazon region's natural resources.
- Productive sectors. Upgrade existing experiment stations so that they can develop appropriate models for raising regional productivity; develop river transport to improve sociocultural and trade relations between the border areas and other parts of both countries; support establishment of agroindustry by means of a credit program.
- Population. Create conditions enabling the people of the region to live a dignified and productive life. To that end, expand and integrate education and health facilities and services; support development of native communities; promote nutrition education; develop programs of community participation to build housing and basic sanitation systems, using appropriate technology; and support binational programs for the control of communicable diseases.
- Physical infrastructure and spatial integration. Evaluate the new infrastructure projects and promote new designs that minimize negative environmental impacts and that take natural hazards into account in the investments to be made; support projects for the improvement of the communications infrastructure; prepare a plan for the development of feeder roads and intermodal connections to serve the more remote areas and integrate these into the region and into the individual countries. Promote binational infrastructure projects in transportation and communications and in energy interconnections for population centers and rural communities.
- Border development. Promote surveys of the social and cultural values of the region. Use the development potential of border areas to further international trade and transport by fostering relations with other parts of the countries.
- Science and technology. Promote dissemination and exchange of appropriate technology in production, education, housing, and urban infrastructure.
As the culmination of the planning process that was carried out by the technical units, an important group of subprograms and projects has been identified that will help meet the objectives and implement the strategies that have been formulated.
Annex 3 gives, a general description of the binational programs and projects. Although this list might seem too long, it should be noted that many activities appear more than once in different border integration plans.