BUILDING TECHNICAL CAPACITY TO EVALUATE ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS IN CENTRAL AND SOUTH AMERICA COUNTRIES CONSIDERING LARGE-SCALE INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT
Some of the challenges facing Central and South American countries considering large-scale industrial development for the first time and some possible models to consider include:
1) Lack of baseline water quality, stream flow, and groundwater characterization needed to determine if observed changes are related to industrial projects. Develop governmental programs like the U.S. Geological Survey’s stream monitoring and National Water-Quality Assessment programs over time.
2) Absence of high-quality accredited chemistry laboratories to analyze environmental samples with high-sensitivity methods. Develop shared, regional capacity as part of a multi-governmental/industry partnership; sliding scale for community and academic submittals. Expand to in-country networks over time.
3) Lack of trained geoscientists in governmental agencies who can design programs to evaluate and mitigate potential environmental effects, interpret environmental monitoring results, and independently regulate the industrial community. Assess scientific needs, strongly fund doctorates obtained abroad, but require return to home country with guaranteed job.
Examples from Peru, Ecuador, Panama, and El Salvador will be discussed.