Environment, Science & Technology

Many elements of the U.S. Embassy deal with environment, science, technology and health in some way. The Environment, Science and Technology section in the Economic Section represents the Department of State, which coordinates U.S. international environment, science, technology and Health (ESTH) policy. Several U.S. Government agencies have ESTH interests and activities, which may involve overseas work, generally conducted through agreements between U.S. agencies and their overseas counterpart. The ESTH section helps to facilitate these contacts and to oversee the implementation of ESTH agreements with the goal of advancing cooperative bilateral work in relevant areas. Subjects covered by the ESTH office include environmental protection and conservation of natural resources, sustainable development, climate change adaptation, alternative and renewal energy, basic and applied sciences, health, and technology.

The ESTH section is responsible for remaining abreast of monitoring changes, researching, analyzing, and assisting with reporting on environment, agriculture, science, technology and health, and for advising on emerging issues and trends and their implications.

It develops and maintains a diverse network of contacts, facilitating interaction between them and the Embassy as appropriate.  Using this information and written sources it ensures USG remain well-versed in issues relevant to Bolivia.  Among the ESTH office duties are:

  • Embassy liaison with government, economic, private sector, and social sector ESTH contacts.
  • Analyze and report on key ESTH developments.
  • Assists with identifying opportunities to advance U.S. and Bolivian common interests through creative programming ideas.

Overview

The Bolivian territory accounts for 0.2% of the world. Its forests areabout 3.5% of the world’s tropical forests, yet the country fosters between 35 and 45% of all global biodiversity.

Bolivia is one of the eight countries of the world’s richest biodiversity. Its territory comprises 4 biomes, 32 and 199 ecoregions ecosystems, the most prominent are the Yungas, the Amazon, Chiquitano, the Gran Chaco and the inter-Andean forest.

Highlights

  • The altitude range in Bolivia is between 90 and 6542 meters.
  • Bolivia is among the 10 most diverse countries in vertebrates, with approximately 2902 species.
  • 398 species of mammals.
  • 277 species of reptiles.
  • 635 species of fish.
  • 204 species of amphibians
  • 1448 species of birds make Bolivia the fifth richest country in birds in the world.
  • 106 species of fauna are endemic to Bolivia, of which about 90% is in Yungas.
  • Most of the endemic plants are found in the Yungas and the inter-Andean dry Valleys.
  • More than 20,000 species of higher plants place Bolivia among the 11 countries with the largest number of plant species.
  • 54% of Bolivia’s surface was originally a Forest.
  • Natural forests in Bolivia cover an area of 53.4 million hectares, representing 48% of the land surface and 1.28% of the world.
  • Bolivia still has large areas virtually undisturbed by human activity due to low population density and access difficulties.

Conservation efforts

  • 32 protected areas (2003) covering 19.4% of the total
  • 9.9% of the total area (108,650 square kilometers) is strictly protected (IUCN categories as I and II)
  • 8 Ramsar Sites (including Lake Titicaca, Bolivian Pantanal), 3 biosphere reserves (Pilon-Lajas, Ulla Ulla, Beni)
  • 6 of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites (the city of Potosí, Tiwanaku, Noel Kempff Mercado National Park).

Prominent features

  • Lake Titicaca, shared with Peru, has an area of 8 562 km2 and is located at 3810 meters above the sea level. It is the highest navigable lake in the world.
  • The “Salar de Uyuni” is the world’s largest salt flat, located in southwestern Bolivia, at an altitude of 3,650 meters is about 25 times larger than the Bonneville Salt Flat in the United States. It is estimated to contain about 10,000,000,000,000 tons of salt.