The World Bank Board of Directors approved the two loans on February 19, 2020, aiming to support the cities of La Paz and Santa Cruz de la Sierra in their efforts to reduce vulnerabilities to climate risks and to improve living conditions of more than 167,000 residents of lower-income areas of those municipalities.
The resources will be used to develop the resilience of the two cities. They will help strengthen their capacity to reduce and prevent climate risks and provide rapid response to the impacts produced by natural disasters.
The project includes the construction of infrastructure resistant to hydrometeorological phenomena such as mudslides and floods, including improved drainage ditches and river management works. Additionally, the project will improve neighborhoods and public spaces and promote sustainable urban mobility.
"With this project, we reiterate our commitment to Bolivia, and especially to the most vulnerable population, which is always more exposed to climate risks. It is essential for cities to be resilient and protect their inhabitants since, in addition to the dangers families face in emergency situations, their wellbeing suffers and their social advances are threatened," said Marianne Fay, World Bank Director for Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador and Peru.
Strengthening urban resilience is crucial
Over 20% of the Bolivian population, which is responsible for 21% of GDP, lives in areas of high climate risk. Therefore, it is crucial for municipalities to strengthen their urban resilience systems with planned investments. In La Paz and Santa Cruz de la Sierra, this need has become increasingly evident given their rapid growth, which has created a variety of challenges.
According to the Mayor of La Paz, Luis Revilla, this loan will enable the municipal government to respond to the considerable social needs in vulnerable areas of the city through interventions in water risk management and stabilization of zones. "This operation responds to a process of short-, medium- and long-term planning that the municipality began many years ago and that is established in Plan 2040, La Paz that We Want (…)", he said.
"The Santa Cruz municipality works with the World Bank in urban resilience with the purpose of improving the quality and conditions of life of our population and to transform the city with the neighbors’ help," stated the Mayor of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Percy Fernandes Añez.
The Urban Resilience Project
The preparation and negotiations of the Urban Resilience Project, financed by the World Bank, began in 2018. This process was completed last January, when the previous agreements were approved.
In an effort to support project implementation and expand capacities to invest in the development of resilience of Bolivian cities, the World Bank and the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) in Bolivia are planning joint technical assistance activities with the municipalities and the national government.
The implementing agencies of the loans will be the Autonomous Municipal Government of La Paz (GAMLP), which will receive US$20 million, with a maturity date of 18 years and a six-year grace period; and the Autonomous Municipal Government of Santa Cruz de la Sierra (GAMSC), which will receive US$ 50 million, with a maturity date of 15 years and a five-year grace period.
The resources correspond to investment financing from the International Development Corporation (IDA), an entity of the World Bank Group.
Source: World Bank