Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Development vs. environmental protection

The NGO EcoViva highlights this recent article which appeared on ContraPunto and IPS describing the potential conflicts between US-funded development opportunities and ecological protection of sensitive areas along El Salvador's Pacific coastline:
Even though the Salvadoran government has placed its bets on developing the Pacific coast region, community leaders understand that it brings a threat to the environment in the zone. 
If private investments arrive to natural protected areas in the Salvadoran coast, as intended by the government as part of a second round of funding from the Millennium Challenge Corporation, under the U.S. Partnership for Growth (PFG), “the natural resources that we have protected for so long would be seriously affected,” said Amilcar García, secretary of the Mangrove Association, which is located in the Lower Lempa, in the southern part of the department of Usulután. 
In December 2011, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), the U.S. government agency that promotes the PFG announced that El Salvador was selected from 22 countries as eligible for a second non-refundable aid package, the so called “second compact”, of US$277 million. 
MCC could give final approval by the end of the year after analyzing the projects presented by the country. 
The MCC was created by the United States Congress in 2004 to help poor countries overcome poverty and has designated $8.4 billion dollars in assistance all over the world, according to their web page. 
The first “compact” started in 2007 with an injection of US$461 million, to develop El Salvador’s Northern Zone. 
The community members of the Lower Lempa are not completely convinced of the advantages that the second compact will bring. 
“We agree that the funding brings good things like schools, roads, medical clinics, that’s fine, but we are concerned about the private investment in tourism,” added Garcia.

Read the complete article here.

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