Economic Incentives in the North of the Amazon

Region & Country

Several countries are working on the development of mechanisms to build conservation agreements as policies to combat increasing deforestation and poverty reduction. Among these countries is Bolivia with the regional Program COMSERBO-Pando and conservation agreements with different communities.

However, in recent years the effectiveness of these programs has been questioned, in their abilitiy to achieve conservation goals and improve the living conditions of the beneficiary families. Despite questions and constraints, these programs are still considered as a valid public policy alternative to reduce deforestation and promote the sustainable use of forest, since some recent studies have empirically shown that such programs can achieve a favorable impact on reducing deforestation and increasing revenues of local communities.

In 2016 and 2017, with support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, CSF conducted an analysis to design a proposal for an Economic Incentives Mechanism for the Northern Amazon of Bolivia. This proposal was made in collaboration with Conservation International and included a differentiated analysis for the departments of Pando, La Paz and Beni. The study represents a first effort to analyze the design and implementation of conservation agreements in the Northern Amazon of Bolivia that are focused on forest resources and where the participation of the Regional Governments is encouraged.

The proposal is framed on the National Environmental Normative (Mother Earth Law) and based on conservation agreements existing literature, the previous experience working with COMSERBO-Pando Program, primary information collected during four workshops with communities, and an International Workshop with experts. The study proposes the reactivation of the COMSERBO-Pando program and the implementation of new conservation agreements for the Amazon regions of La Paz and Beni. The mechanism design is based on the literature, the socioeconomic characteristics of the study area, and learned lessons from this type of program in different regions of the world.

The COMSERBO-Pando Program was introduced as the first technical and financial assistance mechanism that promotes the sustainable and integral management of the forest resource, through the generation of voluntary agreements between forest users and the Regional Government of Pando. COMSERBO-Pando is the first program launched to address the National Government's policy and strategy on forests and climate change.