International Waters learning Exchange & Resource Network

Strategic Action Programme for Binational Basin of the Rio Bermejo

The Bermejo River Basin, shared by Argentina and Bolivia, is a regionally important part of the Plata Basin and acts as a corridor connecting biotic elements of both the Andean mountains and the Chaco Plains. An array of rain forests, humid valleys, and mountain deserts exists in the upper basin and dry forests and humid and gallery forests in the lower basin. These ecosystems harbour exceptional biological and habitat diversity. Despite its potential, the basin is economically disadvantaged in both countries with a history of extractive exploitation of forests and natural pastures. Although the opportunity exists to gradually substitute new systems of production, poverty and low levels of education complicate proposals for changes in managing the basin. Innovative environmental management, agroforestry, and watershed management will be required as well as active participation of communities to understand and adopt new practices. In addition to these challenges, planned and proposed dams for the region could together seriously affect the Bermejo River to the detriment of the economy and environment of the basin and downstream. Binational actions are also needed to address problems caused by a remarkable level of commercial activity as well as migration of Bolivian nationals into Argentina. This project responded a request by the governments of Argentina and Bolivia for technical assistance in formulating a strategic action plan for the Bermejo River Basin. More than fifty institutions, government agencies and NGOs, participated in proposing the project, many of which participated in its execution. It was implemented by a binational commission that reported to UNEP and OAS. The project's primary objective was to promote environmentally sustainable development within the basin, taking into consideration the program of investments being prepared by the Binational Commission for the Development of the Upper Bermejo and Grande de Tarija Rivers Basins. This project will help gain an understanding of possible transboundary concerns and help to guide the development projects so that they will be more environmentally sustainable. Activities * Conduct an environmental diagnostic survey of the basin to identify priority transboundary environmental concerns and related sectoral issues * Formulate a strategic action program for the binational basin addressing different GEF focal areas and intended to solve priority transboundary environmental issues, while implementing water resource and environmental agreements between the countries * Assist the national governments to incorporate transboundary environmental concerns, including biodiversity and land degradation protection, into basin development policies, plans, and programs * Conduct pilot demonstration activities during the process of formulating the strategic action plan to gain information needed for management purposes * Help both countries to institute a system of public consultation on implementing and developing projects of general interest in the basin, so that they are environmentally sustainable and socially acceptable. Benefits * Preserve integrity of ecologically and economically important river basin * Protect exceptional biological and habitat diversity and increase productivity of soils * Prevent and control erosion, reclaim land, control sediment, and ensure water supply.

Other (not set)

La Plata


Documents & Resources
General information
GEF ID 176
Project type Full-Size Project
Status closed (Project Closure)
Start Date 24 Apr 1997
End Date 01 Nov 1998
GEF characteristic:
Focal Area International Waters
GEF Allocation to project USD 2,990,000
Total Cost of the project: USD 5,725,000
YES - See results data (176)
Argentina , Bolivia , Regional

UN Environment (UNEP)

Project contacts
Hector Martinez Technical Coordinator
Enrique Bello Project Manager
Jorge Rucks Chief
Gabriel Gaite Uzqueda Technical Coordinator
Marcela Alicia Di Blasi Graphic Designer
Carlos Alberto Brieva Technical Unit staff
Isabelle Vanderbeck GEF IW Task Manager (UNEP)