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Panel Issues Notice of Registration of Bolivia Road Project 

The Inspection Panel on January 13, 2023, issued a Notice of Registration for a Request for Inspection of the Bolivia: Santa Cruz Road Corridor Connector Project (San Ignacio - San Jose) (P152281).

The Request was submitted on December 19, 2022, by the leaders of four “Centrales Chiquitanos” (associations of “Chiquitano” indigenous people) in the area of La Chiquitania in Bolivia. They have authorized two local Civil Society Organizations to represent them in the Panel process, and authorized the Bank Information Center, a US-based Nongovernmental Organization, to be involved in the process by providing support and advice. The Requesters and their representatives asked the Panel to keep their identities confidential. 

The Requesters allege that the road upgrade under the Project affects the land and livelihoods of the Chiquitanos by creating “new opportunities” for illegal activities—such as agribusiness and logging—and for outsiders to settle in their territories. They claim the growing numbers of wildfires, which are exacerbated by these activities, also threaten their land and livelihoods. The Requesters allege sexual exploitation, abuse, and harassment (SEA/H)—including SEA/H of indigenous girls—by the workers hired by the Project’s contractor and sub-contractors. The Requesters also complain that the contractor’s hiring conditions do not guarantee the labor rights of the Chiquitanos working at Project sites, including timely payments to them. They claim that an Indigenous People’s Plan (IPP) prepared under the Project in 2018 was inadequate and prepared without the meaningful consultation and participation of Chiquitano indigenous people. They allege that most of the measures included in an updated IPP finalized in January 2022, have not been implemented even though road construction has proceeded. They claim that the Bank has failed to comply with the Indigenous Peoples Policy (OB/BP 4.10).

The Panel’s registration implies no judgment whatsoever concerning the merits of the Request. Bank Management must provide the Panel with a response to the issues raised in the Request for Inspection by February 14, 2023. After receiving that response and engaging with the relevant stakeholders, the Panel will make a recommendation to the Board of Executive Directors on whether the matter should be investigated. Learn more.