|Luis Pablo Ossio Bustillos, Charge'd Affairs a.i. of Bolivia to Korea|
Bolivia, called the roof of the world, is located in the center of South America. With its ancient civilizations, beautiful nature and wildlife in the Andes, this place is well known for its attractions such as the Uyuni Salt Lake and the Madidi National Park. Their unusual natural environment, which is unique to us, is a background that Bolivians have early regard for nature and importance of relationship with nature. I heard more from the Charge’d Affairs a.i. of the Bolivian Embassy in Korea.
1. In 2012, Bolivia enacted the world’s first law that stipulates the rights of nature. Please, introduce to our readers what it contains.
The Law of “Mother Earth” is very short and comprises only 10 articles. It looks forward to hold the land as sacred and hold it as a living system with rights to be protected from exploitation. The law contains seven specific rights to which Mother Earth and her constituent life systems, including human communities, are entitled. They include the right to life; the right to continue vital cycles and processes free from human alteration; the right to pure water and clean air; the right to balance; the right not to be polluted; the right to not have cellular structure modified or genetically altered and the right to preservation of differentiation and variety of beings.
It established the Office of Mother Earth in order to ensure the validity, promotion, distribution and compliances of the rights of Mother Earth.
|Cordillera Real of the Andes range|
2. Why is Bolivia so sensitive to its relationship with nature enough to make laws that guarantee the rights of nature?
Bolivia is so sensitive to its relationship with nature because of its indigenous Andean spiritual worldview, which places the environment (Mother Earth) at the center of all life. Humans are considered equal to all other entities.
In accordance with the Andean philosophy or paradigm of Pachamama, the Earth is sacred, fertile and the source of life that feeds and cares for all living beings in her womb. She is in permanent balance, harmony and communication with the cosmos. She is comprised of all ecosystems and living beings, and their self-organization.
3. Like many countries in the world, Bolivia is also experiencing various climate changes. What are the climate changes in Bolivia?
Bolivia can expect five main impacts because of climate change in different locations of its vast territory:
• Less food security. • Glacial retreat affecting water availability. • More frequent and more intense “natural” disasters.• An increase in mosquito-borne diseases.• More forest fires
|Madidi National Park|
4. If the rise in temperature leads to the current trend, a hundred years later, the Bolivian capital, La Paz, has found that most of the land would turn into a desert. What does the Bolivian government think about this? And, what action is there?
In the current trend, in hundred years the whole world could threaten its own existence if we do not change our consumption patterns. Currently, most opinion leaders believe that markets will find a solution to the threat of climate change. In Bolivia, we are not so sure about this. That is why the Bolivian negotiation team managed to incorporate into the Paris Agreement a framework for developing approaches to sustainable development that are not based on markets in order to comprehensively advance mitigation and adaptation to climate change. The most critical challenge in the world in the coming years will be to plan and implement strategies for water management in certain climatic conditions. The participation of the community in the development of strategies and decision making on the management of water resources will be very important.
5. Please let us know if there is a Bolivian environmental protection policy that can be introduced to Korea.
More than a policy, which can be introduced in Korea, I think we could share our indigenous practice of respecting nature. We avoid producing too much waste. We save as much as we can. We recycle our clothes, our tools. We are not a culture of accumulation of things or objects. We live happy with what little we have and when we can, we share that little we have. Korean are generous too, but somehow I feel that they like to buy clothes too often and they also like to wrap their gifts with beautiful papers and boxes that indeed might be very well intended in the end highlights a problem of cultural appreciation of things and objects.
6. What do you think are the projects that Korea and Bolivia can cooperate with in the environmental field?
Korea is one of the few countries that are leading in innovative friendly technologies. Bolivia is a nation that has long suffered serious environmental problems and the extraction of its raw materials, including tin, silver and gold. Now, Bolivia will face a strong demand for lithium, since the country has a large amount of this natural resource and, in a controversial way, will consecrate the right of nature to “not be affected by the mega infrastructure and the development projects that affect the balance of ecosystems and local communities of inhabitants”. Nevertheless, the people of Bolivia also have the right to develop and the challenge that lies ahead is how we, as a society, can organize ourselves to find a balance between development and respect for Mother Earth, Korea can help us by transferring friendly technology.
7. Could you introduce Bolivia to Koreans who are not yet familiar with Bolivia?
Bolivia is ten times larger than Korea, with only eleven million people. The country located in the center of South America, has, as the most recognized tourist attraction, the “Uyuni Salt Lake”.
However, Bolivia is a country that has many tourist attractions to offer. I can name some samples: Two cities, near Uyuni, Potosí and Sucre, are predominantly of “Baroque” and “Renaissance” architectural style. The Ruins of Tiahuanaco, near the city of La Paz, built by an ancient indigenous civilization, before the Spanish conquest. The “Fuerte Samaipata”, also built before the Spanish conquest, in the Department of Santa Cruz, as an attempt by the Incas to penetrate the lowlands. The “Chiquitanía”, towns founded by the Jesuit missionaries at the time of the Spanish colonization, which have a particular architectural style, also in the Department of Santa Cruz.
Lake Titicaca, close to the city of La Paz, in another beautiful tourist destination, which is the highest navigable lake in the world. In the lowlands, there are many national parks. The most famous is the “Madidi National Park”, at the entrance to the Amazon Rainforest. Most important, I think that Bolivian diversity not only ethnically but of landscapes and climates, that makes the country as a whole, a must see place.
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