EXPERTISES

Changes in climate will have a profound impact on both human activities and ecosystems.







BOLIVIA



Population:

10,027,254 inhabitants (2012)

Area:

1.098.580 km. square

Capital City:

Sucre, constitutional capital and seat of the judiciary power. La Paz, the seat of government

Currency:

Boliviano

Language:

Spanish and 36 indigenous languages, according to the new constitution



Geographic description

Bolivia is a landlocked country located in South America. It has three distinct natural regions:


  • The highlands, with an average altitude of 4,000 meters, dry and cold climate, where most of the population live. It houses the country`s mineral wealth: tin, gold, silver, zinc, lead, tungsten and copper.

  • The Yungas and valleys on the eastern slopes of the Andes, with a subtropical climate, where coffee, cacao, sugar cane, soybeans, citrus, bananas coca is grown.

  • The tropical plains, east and north, jungles and savannahs region which is dominated by cattle ranching and rice, soybean and sugar cane is grown. In this area there are hydrocarbon deposits.


It is geographically divided into three basins:

  • Lake Titicaca basin closed in the highlands.

  • The Amazon River in the north.

  • The River Plate in the south.


Bolivia is a politically and administratively structured republic in:

  • 9 departments.

  • 112 provinces.

  • 327 municipalities, provincial divisions, headed by a mayor





Bolivians are mostly Quechua and Aymara (57%). Most of the Bolivians are Catholic but there is freedom of religion.
The population density is of 9 people per square kilometer, according to the 2007 data.

The urban population represents 65.3% of the total population. It may show an increasing urbanization and intensification of migration from rural areas to urban centers (mainly cities like La Paz, El Alto, Santa Cruz and Cochabamba). Migration processes have come most of all from the Highlands areas where living conditions are more adverse

Bolivia`s population is unevenly distributed: most of the population is concentrated in the Highlands (53%), while 27% live in the valleys and 20% in the tropics.

Bolivia`s social indicators show the reality of severe poverty. The Bolivian relief hampers communication and the provision of infrastructure in some mountain areas is complex. The fact that Bolivia is a landlocked country with no direct access to the sea makes it difficult to trade with other countries with trade ports. Natural disasters such as floods and frosts and periods of drought are common in the Bolivian territory, representing uncertainties for the crops and for a normal life. The population is mostly rural and conducts activities aimed at self-sufficiency without generating trade or exchange of goods even within the country. On the other hand the introduction of neoliberal policies has led to an economy concentrated on exports of raw materials and not on the growth of domestic wealth. Until recently the state didn’t’ take care of the reality of the country, the cultural diversity and the rural wealth. This has led to a situation in which the State has not invested enough in the social and cultural spheres and isolated areas are left without the ability to train people in the rural areas

Bolivia is the least developed country in South America: 60% of its 10 million people live below the poverty line, the infant mortality rate is 43 per thousand (the Latin American average is 27), the rate of official unemployment is 13% in urban areas and 18% in rural areas. The fundamental problem remains the country`s social and political exclusion of the indigenous majority. In fact, Bolivia is the South American country with the highest proportion of indigenous population (over 60%). For centuries, the indigenous population has suffered very serious discriminations in terms of rights, access to health, education and land. Today, although the Constitution has taken into account the recognition of the rights of the various indigenous ethnic groups that make up the country, these groups are still marked by poverty and development levels below the national average.