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Barranquilla in Colombia
Until June 11, France is celebrating the ninth edition of Latin America and Caribbean Week. On this occasion, AFD Group is offering a series of events aimed at deepening the links between the two regions and promoting projects launched with our partner countries and civil society organizations. We catch up with Marie-Pierre Bourzai, Director of the Latin America Department of the AFD group.

What are AFD Group's priorities for action in Latin America?

Marie-Pierre Bourzai: They revolve around climate change, the erosion of biodiversity and social and gender inequalities. Latin America is a region whose countries are among the most exposed to the effects of climate change. What makes it vulnerable is a significant part of the world's biodiversity is concentrated there. Yet the economy is linked to the exploitation of fossil fuels such as coal, gas and oil. That’s why we’re supporting our partners in their quest to initiate the transition to a low-carbon economy.

We focus on the main sectors where greenhouse gas emissions are created, such as agriculture and transport, where we promote public transport, electric vehicles and sustainable agriculture. On a more global scale, we also support States in the development and implementation of their long-term low-carbon strategies, via various financing instruments.

Latin America is also one of the most unequal areas in the world. Our action supports the protection of human rights, access to quality public services, access to employment and the promotion of citizen participation, with a particular effort on gender. For example, we are working on the implementation of budgets sensitive to gender issues in local authorities in Argentina.

To this end, we regularly forge partnerships with regional banks, such as the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). Our presence there is relatively recent, but today we are the second largest bilateral donor there. Our goal is to be present in all the countries in the region – we have excellent relations with the national authorities. AFD Group is more Latin American than you might think!

What flagship projects does AFD Group support in the region?

M-P. B.: In the Amazon, we have recently supplemented our interventions in the region (TerrAmaz project) and support for indigenous populations (TerrIndigena) with financing of up to €100 million in 2022. The first project concerns the bio-economy in Ecuador and support for an Amazonian public bank in Brazil. They aim to support agricultural value chains in Amazonian forest territories by combining the preservation of natural resources, the fight against deforestation and the creation of economic sectors based on sustainable forest exploitation.

We also wanted to support the Latin American States in their initiative concerning environmental and climate justice, in particular the application of the so-called Escazú agreement and this in several countries such as Bolivia, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Mexico. The objective here is, faced with the need to provide a more effective framework for ecological transition, to protect the rights of everyone (rights defenders, whistleblowers, etc.) by acting on the environmental rule of law.

How does AFD participate in Latin America and the Caribbean Week?

M-P. B.: For this 2022 edition, we wanted to diversify our approaches and highlight other partners. We are therefore organizing a conference on the AFD Group's partnerships with civil society in Latin America. This conference will take place on June 2 in Paris and online.
We also take part, as every year, in the international symposium organized by the OECD and the IDB, which will focus on green strategies for Latin America and the Caribbean (June 8 in Paris). We will also be present at the Institut des Amériques conference on education, higher education and digital technology (June 9 in Paris).

Finally, as part of our efforts to disseminate our knowledge about our countries of intervention, we are organizing an event focusing on the development trajectories of Costa Rica, on June 10, online only.

Find the full AFD Group program during Latin America and the Caribbean Week, ending on June 11 (program in French and Spanish; proceedings will be variously in the three languages) 

Further reading