Participatory Stakeholder Workshops to Mitigate Impacts of Road Paving in the Southwestern Amazon
Elsa Mendoza1, Stephen Perz2, Marianne Schmink3, Daniel Nepstad4
1 Instituto de Pesquisa Ambiental na Amazonia IPAM, Avenida Nazare 669, CEP 66035-170, Belem, Para, Brazil.
2 Department of Sociology, 3219 Turlington Hall, University of Florida, PO Box 117330, Gainesville, FL 32611-7330, USA.
3 Center for Latin American Studies, 319 Grinter Hall, University of Florida, PO Box115530, Gainesville, FL 32611-5530, USA.
4 Woods Hole Research Center, 149 Woods Hole Road, Falmouth, MA 025401644, USA.
Department of Sociology, 3219 Turlington Hall, University of Florida, PO Box 117330, Gainesville, FL 32611-7330, USA.
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
Infrastructure projects are crucial for regional development, but they often lack participatory planning processes. As a result, they often generate negative socio-economic and biophysical impacts, threatening local livelihoods as well as environmental conservation. The Amazon is an instructive example, where new infrastructure projects may repeat the deforestation and social conflict seen around earlier road projects. This article considers the case of the Inter-Oceanic Highway, being paved through the tri-national frontier in the southwestern Amazon where Brazil, Bolivia and Peru meet. To raise local awareness and to facilitate public participation in planning to mitigate negative road impacts, we conducted multistakeholder workshops in eighteen municipalities along this road corridor. Participants identified and prioritised infrastructure, social, environmental, economic and political problems related to road paving. They also created their own land-use maps for purposes of land-use planning. Such exercises can broaden public participation in planning to mitigate the negative impacts of infrastructure projects.