Sachsy development

SanneBlauwBy: Sanne Blauw*

The logic is irresistible: if we send enough money to developing countries, poverty will be put to an end once and for all. We have got to help, it’s our responsibility. In the book The Idealist, Nina Munk portrays the charismatic Jeffrey Sachs and his Millennium Villages in Africa. How good intentions can have destructive consequences.

Already at a young age Jeffrey Sachs (1954) stood out: he received high grades in school, won math competitions, and displayed leadership qualities. He was already a successful economist when the Bolivian president Victor Paz invited him to help Bolivia in the mid-eighties. The country was poor and the economy was in chaos. Inflation reached 25,000%. Sachs wrote a plan for economic recovery. The strict fiscal and monetary policies caused hundreds of thousands of people to lose their job or pension. But the “shock therapy” helped: inflation fell to 15%. As it turned out: the economy is controllable, as long as you are willing to make concessions.

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Ambassador Internships at INESAD

Ambassador Internships at INESADINESAD is pleased to launch the Ambassador Internship program, which is financed by the Royal Danish Embassy in Bolivia. These are highly competitive paid internships for young, aspiring development professionals and researchers who wish to gain hands-on development research experience at INESAD in Bolivia. Interns will collaborate on on-going research projects at INESAD, or develop their own related Ph.D. research within INESAD’s priority areas.

The duration of these internships is between 3 and 12 months. Applicants can come from any country in the World, but fluency in both Spanish and English is a minimum requirement.

Applications are accepted throughout the year, but should respond to the current openings listed on this page: http://inesad.edu.bo/developmentroast/contact-us/internships/.


Please forward this announcement to outstanding students who might be interested in becoming an Ambassador Intern at INESAD!


Climate finance: Looking for synergies instead of additionality

Lykke Andersen

By: Lykke E. Andersen*

In an attempt to deal with the threat of climate change, many development banks and development institutions have established considerable budgets in support of climate change mitigation and adaptation projects in addition to their usual development projects. For example, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is aiming for 25% of their lending portfolio to be destined to climate change and sustainable development projects by 2015.

There is a concern, however, that these climate change projects may not be truly additional, compared to the business-as-usual scenario, but may just represent a renaming of already existing projects (compare panels (i) and (ii) of Figure 1), or worse, that the climate change projects are actually diverting funds away from development projects to the detriment of the poor (panel (iii)).

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Earth Hour – why I have decided not to participate

Lykke Andersen

By: Lykke E. Andersen*

You have got to be impressed by anybody who can rally several hundred million people around a cause.  WWF has managed to do that several years in a row by getting people to turn off the lights for one hour every year to highlight the impacts of our energy use on the global climate.

However, there are two important reasons why I have decided not to join this global event.

First, I think electricity is the World’s best poverty-reducing invention ever, and if we wanted to turn it off for an hour, it should be to think very hard about how to bring this crucial invention to the 1.3 billion people who still don’t have it and thus suffer from darkness, low productivity and extreme poverty.

Second, and a lot less obvious, is the fact that symbolic do-good-events like this tend to be counter-productive because they make people feel like they have acquired a license to indulge in self-interested and unethical behaviors (Mazar and Zhong, 2010).

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We live in a dangerous world and not only rural, indigenous, old women are vulnerable

Lykke Andersen

By: Lykke E. Andersen*

Even the most affluent and powerful people in the World are exposed to the risk of adverse shocks and stresses: Christopher Reeve (Superman) became a quadriplegic after a riding accident; Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years; Mel Gibson had to pay more than $400 million in his divorce settlement; Steve Jobs got fired from his own company; and Donald trump has declared bankruptcy four times.

We are all at risk of adversity, or even calamity, and the list of threats is endless: Natural disasters, illness, accidents, unemployment, price fluctuations, conflict, vandalism, fire, robbery, pest attacks, technological change, pollution, climate change, etc. Most of these threats are almost entirely outside our control and it is important that we build up resilience against them so that we will be able to overcome the challenges that we are bound to encounter.

Some people and households are more resilient than others, however. They bounce back even after severe adversity. Nelson Mandela, for example, became one of the most famous and respected presidents in the World and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize after spending 27 years in prison; Christopher Reeve claimed that the accident, which left him paralyzed from the neck down, helped him appreciate life more and considered himself a very lucky man less paralyzed than many able-bodied men; and Donald Trump evidently rebuilt his fortune between bankruptcies.

While resilience is an integral part of the human psychology, it would be useful if we could measure and compare resilience in a more general way. This is what a new research paper and Policy Brief from INESAD proposes.

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CALL FOR PAPERS for the 6th Bolivian Conference on Development Economics (BCDE 2014)

Call_tinyWe are delighted to announce that the 6th Bolivian Conference on Development Economics will be held at the Campus of Universidad Privada Boliviana (UPB) in Cochabamba, Bolivia, on August 28th and 29th, 2014. This conference is jointly organized by the Institute for Advanced Development Studies (INESAD), the Society of Bolivian Economists (SEBOL), Universidad Privada Boliviana (UPB), and the Bolivian Academy of Economic Sciences (ABCE).

The conference will bring together local and international scholars for the exchange of ideas and discussion of recent results within theoretical and applied economics, and other disciplines related to development. We seek high quality academic work that enriches and challenges our knowledge. We particularly encourage female researchers and young Bolivian researchers to submit papers.

As highlights of the 2014 conference we will have two keynote lectures to be delivered by Hans Rosling (Gapminder Foundation) and Tyler Cowen (George Mason University), as well as Enrique García Rodríguez (CAF Development Bank of Latin America) as invited guest speaker. The conference will be organized to foster interaction and exchange of ideas among the participants in a comfortable atmosphere.

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Why is it important to cooperate with Middle Income Countries?

Cecilia JuambeltzBy Cecilia Juambeltz*

In the field of international cooperation, particularly in development cooperation, much is said of High, Middle and Low Income Countries. This characterization may only seem as a way of ordering these countries. But in practice it has important consequences, as it defines the type of aid these countries receive. Donor countries base on these categories to define their aid strategies.

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Three organizations that are redefining environmental education

Valerie GiesenClimate change, ozone layer, biodiversity, carbon footprint, glacial melt – these have become the buzz phrases of a generation. To some these problems seem far away, while others give up in light of their complexity and magnitude. But clearly we should not leave it to the ‘big boys’ of environmental politics to tackle the problems faced around the world. Active and informed engagement with environmental challenges will be necessary to find satisfactory solutions. Today, Development Roast brings you three initiatives from three countries offering environmental education and tools for engagement at the policy, academic, and grassroots levels.

Costa Rican Earth University is revolutionizing agricultural education

The Costa Rica-based Earth University offers students a holistic degree in Agricultural Sciences and Resource Management that teaches them about every stage of agricultural and forestry production: from crop management and harvesting to processing and waste management. Unlike many other agriculture degrees, Earth courses do not teach the components of the ecological system, such as biology, physics, and chemistry, separately. Instead, Earth’s holistic approach confronts its students with the complexity of ecological systems and the role people play in them from the beginning. Students also learn about the ins and outs of agricultural business by planning and running an agricultural enterprise with their classmates over the course of three years with a special emphasis on the ecological and social costs of agricultural business. On campus, the university practices what it preaches: In 2011, it opened its first ‘green’ dorm with energy-efficient lighting, solar water heaters, and a rainwater collection system for toilets and outdoor sinks. Read the rest of this entry »

Bolivia Climate Change Monthly: November 2013

INESADWelcome to the November 2013 edition of Bolivia Climate Change Monthly where you will find the latest research, policy, donor activity, and news related to climate change in Bolivia*.

Academic Research Bolivia Climate Change

Climate Change Induced Glacier Retreat and Risk Management: Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs) in the Apolobamba Mountain Range, Bolivia, by Hoffmann, D., & Weggenmann, D., in Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management.

Abstract: Due to global warming, tropical glaciers in the Bolivian Andes have lost about half of their volume and surface area since 1975. Throughout the Apolobamba mountain range, the retreat of glaciers has resulted in the formation of small and medium-sized lakes on the glacier terminus. Many of the glacial lakes are contained only by loose moraine debris: thus they can pose a significant threat to human settlements and infrastructure downstream. Considering the fact that the Cordillera de Apolobamba holds the largest continuous glaciated area in Bolivia, which measured 220 km² in the 1980s, there is a legitimate concern regarding the dangers that might affect this mountain region. Yet there is no documentation available on glacial lakes in the Apolobamba mountain range; indeed there is little awareness of the related risks. Only recently has glacial retreat, and climate change impacts in general, been given some importance in the planning and management of the Apolobamba National Protected Area for Integrated Management, thereby opening a discussion on natural hazard threats and the development of adaptation strategies with the objective of minimising risks for human populations and local infrastructure. This paper presents documentation of glacier retreat and the forming of glacial lakes in the Cordillera of Apolobamba over the last 35 years. In addition, the risk potential of glacial lake outburst floods and the risk awareness of the local population will be analysed in relation to park management options, and ideas outlined for more detailed studies of glacial lake outburst floods in Bolivia.

Media Coverage Bolivia Climate Change Monthly

Bolivia, uno de los países con mayor deforestación (Bolivia, one of the countries with the highest rate of deforestation), La Razon, November 18.

Blogs Bolivia Climate Change Monthly

Adaptation, Adaptation, Adaptation; Migration, Climate Change and National Adaptation Plans in South America, by Elizabeth Warn, Migration – The big issue, November 13.

This article discusses the response of South American countries to climate change, and argues that migration should be thought of as an adaptation strategy. Migration is generally viewed as a failure to adapt, rather than being seen as a method of adaptation. However, the national strategies of some countries in the region do just this. One example is the Bolivian National Mechanism for Adaptation to Climate Change (MNACC) which mentions five specific adaptation measures, of which two refer to migration: one is to “plan the migration flows of rural populations to guarantee the generation of opportunities”, and the other is to “determine the causes of temporary and permanent migration to guarantee the sustainability and the process of new human settlements”.

Global deforestation: 10 hot spots on Google Earth – in pictures, by Adam Vaughan, The Guardian Environment Blog, November 15.

An analysis of 650,000 satellite images has revealed the extent of the loss and recovery of forestland over the world. Bolivia is one of the deforestation “hot spots”, with soya production and cattle ranching being two of the primary causes.

* This bulletin is intended for scientists, practitioners and others who are interested in climate change issues in Bolivia. Every care is taken to include all the relevant works published in the previous month, however, should you be aware of any research that has been accidentally overlooked, please email a link to ifenton@inesad.edu.bo

Bolivia’s Best: Carlos Mamani Condori, Researcher and Campaigner for Indigenous Rights


“For me, it is fundamental that we—indigenous communities—win the right to govern ourselves.”

Carlos Mamani is a Bolivian professor, researcher, and campaigner for the rights of indigenous communities. Being an Aymara Indian, he is of indigenous origin himself and has first-hand experience of indigenous culture and of the discrimination faced by his people. He became known during the 1990s for his work promoting the ayllu system of governance in Bolivia, an indigenous land-management method which existed in the pre-Inca era. For this, he was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship, a worldwide network of social entrepreneurs dedicated to changing the world. Since then, Carlos has continued to work tirelessly to discover and disseminate knowledge about indigenous cultures and is regarded as a world expert on the topic.

He spoke to Development Roast about his work and his lifetime passion for bringing recognition and equality to the indigenous populations of the world.

What is the ayllu system and why did you want to promote it?

It’s an organizational model belonging to the indigenous settlements in the region of the Andes and South America that was in existence before the time of the Incas. The system is designed according to the characteristics of our land: our environment is very challenging, especially the Altiplano [high planes] region which is 3,800 to 4,000 meters above sea level. We have to see how we can successfully face the challenges which go with this landscape. For example, there is only one harvest period per year and we have very few crops – only potatoes and quinoa – and only one type of animal – the llama. So it’s important that we have control over, and understand, the ecosystem. The organization is based on relationships between human beings, especially the lending of services, and mutual help. This idea has been fundamental for us [indigenous people] to survive the process of colonization since the 16th century.

In the 1990s, we had the idea of recovering the ayllu system. At the time, Bolivia, like the majority of the other countries in Latin America, had adopted the process of acculturation [forcing people to adopt a new culture] so that the indigenous settlements would forget their identities, their languages, and their customs, in favor of a single state organization and culture. When we started this work, we set goals of recovering and strengthening awareness of the indigenous identity, building the self-confidence of indigenous people, and preserving the land in a ‘natural’ state. We conducted a study about the state of indigenous communities, and we published several books on the topic. We also made some radio programs which were aired in Aymara and Quechua, and some in Spanish. As well as doing research, I also wanted to disseminate our findings at the international level.

What was it like growing up as an indigenous child?

Until I was 10 years old I didn’t speak Spanish (my native language is Aymara) but I learned at school. When an indigenous person first encounters the western culture and has to use the Spanish language, it’s very difficult because the languages have very distinct rules and concepts. Economically, our family didn’t have many problems because my family were comfortably-off and had a large farm, so my father could pay for my schooling. We indigenous people aren’t all that poor – our problem is not economic but that we are excluded, socially.

My family are Pacajes [one of the ethnic groups that make up the Aymara people], the people who formed the largest population in South America in ancient times. We, and the other Aymara people, originally had territory that spread from the Amazon to the Pacific coast. But, by the time I started school the Aymara territory had already been reduced to a single province of 10,000 square meters.

What have been the best and the most challenging moments of your career?

One of them must be obtaining a Masters degree in Andean History from the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLASCO) in Ecuador. After that I started working as a professor at the Universidad Mayor de San Andrés, teaching history to anthropology students. Becoming an academic in a university was a very big achievement for me.

Then, between 2008 and 2010 I was a member of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. During the last year, whilst I was resident at the organization [the UN headquarters], I visited many indigenous communities all over the world, and had to interact with government officials and specialist state bodies. I still have a very active international life – I’m always attending conferences on global issues such as climate change, as well as those specializing in indigenous topics. For example, I’ll be going to Norway over the summer for a conference that is being held in preparation for the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples that will take place in New York in 2014.

For me, being a political activist is also very important, not only for the indigenous settlements in my own country, but for those all around the world. I find this very satisfying.

Is there anyone in particular who has inspired you?

I think of myself as very privileged because my father, who is no longer with us, taught me everything about my identity. But what motivates me most isn’t a person, but a personal desire that all indigenous communities in the world can continue to exist. These communities are a sector whose rights have been neglected by the world for some time. Enabling them to survive is my biggest motivation and all my attention and effort has been directed towards this.

What do you wish for in the future, for your career but also for the country?

I haven’t done any research for a few years and I’ve just started again. In September, we’re going to hold a symposium in Geneva on the historical memory of indigenous populations. This is a very important step for me, because I’m not young anymore and I have to think about summarizing the advances we’ve made as well as the difficulties that still exist.

In the long-term, what I want is for all indigenous communities to be entitled to their own responsibilities, for example so that they have the right to educate their own children. For me, it is fundamental that we indigenous communities win the right to govern ourselves, not just here in Bolivia, but also in Canada, Australia, the north of Europe – wherever there are indigenous people.

Do you know of any other people who have fought for the rights of indigenous communities? Please leave a reply below.

Tracey Li is a Senior Research and Communications Intern with INESAD.

For your reference:

More information about Carlos’ work can be found in the following:

Ashoka Fellows <https://www.ashoka.org/fellow/carlos-mamani>.

Mamani, C 1994, ‘History and prehistory in Bolivia: what about the Indians?’, in R. Layton (Ed.), Conflict in the Archaeology of Living Traditions, Routledge, London, UK (pp. 46-60). Available online from <http://goo.gl/FsGgt>.

Mamani, C. 1997, ‘Memoria y Reconstitución’, in: Intelecutales indígenas piensan América Latina, Zapata, Claudia, Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar.

Choque, M. E. & Mamani, C. 2001, ‘Reconstitución del ayllu y derechos de los pueblos indígenas: el movimiento indio en los Andes de Bolivia’, Journal of Latin American Anthropology, Vol. 6, Issue 1, pp. 202-224.

Carlos Mamani Condori, El Proceso de Reconstitución Política Territorial en la coyuntura de la Asamblea Constituyente, katari.org. <http://www.katari.org/proceso.pdf>


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