From August 10-11, the Regional Government of Santa Cruz, Bolivia – one of the GCF Task Force’s newest member jurisdictions – hosted the 3rd Bolivian Climate Change Congress in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, the capital city of Santa Cruz. The conference opened by welcoming participants to Santa Cruz and Bolivia, featuring an overview of the incredible people, biodiversity, economic opportunities, and challenges facing Bolivia due to climate change. Participants were engaged with a lively, student-led traditional dance, keynote remarks from the Government of Santa Cruz, Indigenous leadership from the department of Beni, private sector leaders focused on sustainable production, GCF Task Force Project Director Jason Gray, and a warm welcome from Vice Governor Mario Aguilera.
Throughout the first day, Santa Cruz highlighted the importance of their new membership within the GCF Task Force as a space for exchanging experiences with fellow members from within Bolivia, and from the wider network – in particular neighboring states from Brazil and regions from Peru. In fact, a key panel in the afternoon focused on how Pando, Santa Cruz, Tarija, the GCF Task Force, and partner organizations like Fundación Natura Bolivia, can work together to develop jurisdiction-wide strategies to combat deforestation and climate change, and attract investment and economic activities that build a sustainable future for their people.
Panel discussions and side conversations highlighted the critical role that forests play in protecting watersheds and water quality. For example, the Government of Santa Cruz, municipalities, indigenous territories, and environmental organizations like Fundación Natura Bolivia, described their years-long, successful efforts to create innovative water funds that involve every one along the watershed – from water users agreeing to pay a small fee on their water bills that are used to support the communities who live in and work to conserve thousands of hectares of upstream tropical forests from where the water flows.
The Congress featured many panels and discussions. See here for the detailed agenda.
GCF Task Force Technical Exchange
In addition, during his opening remarks and in the afternoon panel, Vice Governor Mario Aguilera announced that Santa Cruz will be hosting – together with Pando and Tarija – the 2nd Technical Exchange of Experiences of the GCF Task Force in the spring of 2024.
This Exchange will build on the Manaus Action Plan and the Technical Exchange held in San Martin, Peru last October. The exchange in Santa Cruz will focus on public-private partnership opportunities and the vital role the private sector has as both a driver of deforestation and as an engine for more sustainable actions and investment. Santa Cruz will highlight their own Climate Change Strategy and efforts to partner with the private sector during the Technical Exchange, where we expect to benefit from the participation of many GCF Task Force jurisdictions, private sector partners, financial institutions, Indigenous communities, and others.
Stay tuned for more on the date, agenda, and opportunities to participate in this Technical Exchange!