Areas targeted for infrastructure development have become a prominent breeding ground for social-environmental conflicts across the entire Amazon Basin. In this talk, Álvaro Fernández-Llamazares, a visiting scholar from the University of Helsinki (Finland), will focus on one of the highest-profile social-environmental conflicts in the Bolivian Amazon: the planned construction of a controversial road set to cut across the heart of the Isiboro Sécure Indigenous Territory and National Park (TIPNIS). The road, which threatens to bisect one of Bolivia’s main biodiversity hotspots, has been planned without the Free, Prior and Informed Consent of the Indigenous communities living in the area. As a result, the road has faced significant levels of opposition and resistance from Indigenous Peoples and environmental advocacy groups. Drawing on geospatial analyses, a unique dataset of >800 interviews with local actors, and information collected from a review of >4,000 newspaper articles—Fernández-Llamazares will provide a political ecological account of the TIPNIS road conflict. Based on his findings, he will discuss how policies promoting infrastructure and extractive development in Bolivia’s natural areas are threatening the country’s reputation as a global leader in environmental policy forums. The TIPNIS road conflict provides an interesting reflection of how rhetoric and action often fail to align in the political arena, highlighting contradictions and tensions between Bolivia’s politics of Indigeneity and its neoliberal extractivist agenda.
CASEL Seminar: Contested infrastructure development in the Bolivian Amazon by Álvaro Fernández-Llamazares, University of Helsinki
Friday, October 25, 2019
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
Student Building Room 325