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Variety of indigenous peoples’ opinions of large infrastructure projects: The TIPNIS road in the Bolivian Amazon

Victoria Reyes-García, Álvaro Fernández-Llamazares, Jonathan Bauchet and Ricardo Godoy

World Development, 2020, vol. 127, issue C

Abstract: Due to an unprecedented expansion of infrastructure projects, extensive areas of the planet are opened to new environmental pressures. Infrastructure projects are often contentious and generate resistance, particularly in territories inhabited by Indigenous Peoples. In this work, we study local attitudes towards the construction of a controversial road that would cross the Isiboro-Sécure National Park and Indigenous Territory (TIPNIS), one of Bolivia’s main biodiversity hotspots. We analyze the attitudes of lowland Indigenous Peoples living in the Multiethnic Indigenous Territory (TIM), an area neighboring TIPNIS that would be affected by the road. We rely on two yearly face-to-face surveys of 857 individuals in 24 villages, implemented in September-December 2012 and 2013 when the conflict was still high. Results suggest that, in contrast to the large-scale opposition to the road by lowland Indigenous Peoples living in TIPNIS, those living in TIM were generally supportive of the road construction, mainly due to the expectation of better economic opportunities that it would bring. Moreover, the share of people with a positive attitude towards the road was higher among people in richer households, arguably because people with stronger links to the market would likely benefit most from the new road. Beyond the specific setting, our results show that there can be substantial heterogeneity of local attitudes towards the construction of large infrastructure projects, attitudes shaped by household characteristics.

Keywords: Hegemonic discourses; Social-environmental conflicts; Territorio Indígena Multiétnico (TIM); Territorio Indígena Parque Nacional Isiboro-Sécure (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2019.104751

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