The Initiative for the Integration of the Regional Infrastructure of South America (IIRSA) is a development plan to link South America's economies through new transportation, energy, and telecommunications projects.
IIRSA investments are expected to integrate highway networks, river ways, hydroelectric dams and telecommunications links throughout the continent—particularly in remote, isolated regions—to allow greater trade and create a South American community of nations.
The initiative was launched in late 2000 with the participation of the 12 countries of South America which form the Union of South American Nations. It is being supported by the Corporación Andina de Fomento (CAF), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the River Plate Basin Financial Development Fund (FONPLATA). Together the three institutions form the Technical Coordination Committee (CCT) which provides technical and financial support for IIRSA activities.
The project is subdivided in several regions, called hubs.
The anchor project within the second group is the improvement of Boa Vista-Bonfim-Lethem-Georgetown road. The construction of the Takutu River Bridge between Guyana and Brazil on this road was a separate project within IIRSA, as is the construction of a deep water port in northern Guyana and a hydropower plant in Amaila, among others.
The anchor project within the third group is the improvement and construction of the Ciudad Guayana-San Martín de Turumbang-Linden-Apoera-Paramaribo road with a connection from Linden to Georgetown. Only the section between San Martín de Turumbang and Linden seems likely to be reconstructed in the imminent future. The various bridges proposed on this route, including the international crossings on the Cuyuni River (Venezuela-Guyana) and Corentyne River (Guyana-Suriname) are also projects within group 3. The section within Suriname of this route is part of the Southern East-West Link.
The anchor project in the fourth group is the improvement of the Georgetown-Albina road, which includes a bridge linking Albina with Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni in French Guiana over the Marowijne River. The section within Suriname of this route is part of the Northern East-West Link. The bridge between French Guiana and Brazil on the Oyapock River and the improvement of the road between Oiapoque and Macapá are also part of this group. It has been suggested that French Guiana, which is not part of the IIRSA project, be included in this respect as an observing partner.
According to Conservation International scientist Tim Killeen, who conducted a study on the IIRSA, the current plans could lead to the destruction of the Amazon rainforest and have profound and far-reaching consequences.
The study shows that cutting and burning of the forests could seriously imperil the multibillion-dollar agriculture industry of the Rio Plata basin, as well as destroy the ecosystems that are home to indigenous people. According to the study, the IIRSA would also wipe out some of Earth's richest storehouses of terrestrial and freshwater life and would negatively affect climate change by releasing into the atmosphere the huge quantities of carbon dioxide stored in the biomass of the tropical forest—estimated at about twenty times the world's total annual greenhouse gas emissions.
According to Killeen, the IIRSA does not have to be destructive: "A visionary initiative such as IIRSA should be visionary in all of its dimensions, and should incorporate measures to ensure that the region’s renewable natural resources are conserved and its traditional communities strengthened."
The (northern) East-West Link (Dutch: Oost-Westverbinding) is a road in Suriname between Albina in the eastern part of the country to Nieuw Nickerie in the western part, via the capital city of Paramaribo. The southern East-West Link connects Paramaribo with Apoera via Bitagron. Construction of the road link started in the 1960s.Felipe Correa
Felipe Correa (born August 21, 1976) is a New York-based architect, urbanist, author, and professor. He is the founder and managing partner of the design practice Somatic Collaborative. Correa is currently the Vincent and Eleanor Shea Professor and the Chair of Architecture at the University of Virginia School of Architecture . Previously, he served as faculty at Harvard Graduate School of Design as an assistant professor (2008-2012), associate professor (2012–2018), and as director of the Master of Architecture in Urban Design (MAUD) program (2009-2018). Correa’s writing, research, and design work have been widely published and exhibited.Garabí-Panambi Hydroelectric Complex
The Garabí-Panambi Hydroelectric Complex (Portuguese: Complexo Hidrelétrico Garabi-Panambi) is a planned pair of hydroelectric dams and generating stations on the Uruguay River between Argentina and Brazil. There is controversy over the environmental impact on the fast-flowing river.
The prime contractors are trying to avoid public image problems and delays such as those with other recent dams.Gulf of Paria crossing
The Gulf of Paria crossing is a hypothetical bridge or tunnel spanning the Gulf of Paria that would connect the island of Trinidad and South America.Interoceanic Highway
The Interoceanic Highway or Trans-oceanic highway is an international, transcontinental highway in Peru and Brazil to connect the two countries . The east-west passageway spans 2600 kilometers. From Peru's Pacific ocean coastline, it continues across the Andes mountains and through a large part of the Amazon rainforest in the Peruvian department of Madre de Dios. It then travels into Brazil where it connects with a network of existing highways to the Atlantic. It entailed the renovation and construction of roughly 2,600 kilometers of roads and 22 bridges. Now completed, it creates a connected highway from the Peruvian ports of San Juan de Marcona to Brazilian ports and cities throughout the City of Rio Branco ZPE (Special Export Zone). The project came into being via a 2004 agreement between Alejandro Toledo and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, then presidents of the two countries.
In Peru the project is known by the MTC (Ministerio de Transportes y Comunicaciones) as the Corredor Vial Interoceánico Sur Perú-Brasil and by ProInversion (Private Investment Promotion Agency - Peru) as the Initiative for the Integration of the Regional Infrastructure of South America, (Iniciativa para la Integración de la Infraestructura Regional Suramericana) (IIRSA), SUR axis. The project is part of a national road investment plan which involves the construction of three longitudinal highways, and 20 transversal highways. Parts of these transversal highways make up part of IIRSA SUR.Jirau Dam
The Jirau Dam is a rock-fill dam with an asphalt-concrete core, currently under construction on the Madeira River in the state of Rondônia, Brazil. The dam's hydroelectric power stations will have 50 turbines each 75 MW resulting total installed capacity of 3,750 MW. The power plant's first unit was commissioned in September 2013, the 16th in November 2014, 24th in February 2015, the 41st in December 2015, and the last in December 2016. Most of the power is designed to be exported to south-eastern Brazil via the Rio Madeira HVDC system.
The dam is part of a planned four power plant Madeira river hydroelectric complex, which will consist of two dams in Brazil (3,580 MW Santo Antonio Dam at the city of Porto Velho and Jirau), a third on the border of Brazil and Bolivia, and a fourth station inside Bolivia. Two of these, Santo Antonio and Jirau, are currently under construction, while the smaller upstream dams are still in the planning stages. In part due to the 2001–2002 power shortage in Brazil, construction of both dams was accelerated in 2009. The total estimated cost of the two facilities currently under construction is $15.6 billion ($8 billion for Jirau), including about $10 billion for the civil engineering and power plants, and $5 billion for ship locks, transmission lines, and environmental re-mediation. The Madeira river hydroelectric complex is part of the Initiative for the Integration of the Regional Infrastructure of South America, an effort by South American governments to integrate the continent's infrastructure with new investments in transportation, energy, and communication. Construction on the project was temporary halted in March 2011, February 2012 and April 2013 due to worker riots or strikes.The Brazilian Development Bank approved an additional US$1.6 billion for the project in September 2012. The extra funding will add six more 75 MW bulb turbine-generators to the power station (a total of 50) and pay for transmission lines.Merkez Türkiye
The Merkez Türkiye (English: Centre Turkey, Hub Turkey or Central Turkey) project is a proposal for a planned megacity put forward by Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) on 21 May 2015, as part of their June 2015 general election campaign. The project plans to use Turkey's strategic geographical positioning to establish a centre for global trade and commerce in Central Anatolia. It was branded as Turkey's 'economic empowerment project' (Ekonomi Yükseliş Projesi) and was nicknamed 'the Project of the Century' (Yüzyılın projesi).Oyapock River Bridge
The Oyapock River Bridge spans the Oyapock River, linking the cities of Oiapoque in Amapá, Brazil and Saint-Georges-de-l'Oyapock in French Guiana. The bridge is cable-stayed, with two towers rising to a height of 83 metres (272 ft) and a length of 378 metres (1,240 ft). There are two lanes for vehicles with a total width of 9 metres (30 ft) and a pedestrian sidewalk with a width of 2.50 metres (8 ft 2 in). The vertical clearance under the bridge is 15 metres (49 ft).Its construction was completed in August 2011. However, due to delays in the construction of Brazilian checkpoint facilities, the bridge was not open to traffic for many years.The inauguration ceremony of the bridge finally took place on 18 March 2017. Starting from 08:00 on 20 March 2017, the bridge has been open to members of the public.The bridge is toll-free and is accessible to both private cars and pedestrians. On the French side, there is a border checkpoint staffed by three governmental agencies: the Border Police, Customs and the Directorate for Food, Agriculture and Forestry. The border checkpoint is open during the periods of 08:00 - 12:00 and 14:00 - 18:00 on weekdays, and 08:00 - 12:00 on Saturdays. The border checkpoint is shut on Sundays and Brazilian public holidays.Until the Brazilian border outposts are completed, only passenger vehicles (not cargo vehicles or public transportation vehicles) are permitted access. As the Brazilian side of the bridge is not staffed, travellers arriving in Brazil should stop at the offices of the Federal Revenue Service (Receita Federal) and the Federal Police in Oiapoque to regularise their entry.With the bridge open to traffic, it is now possible to drive from Cayenne to Macapá, the capital of the Brazilian state of Amapá, although parts of the BR-156 federal highway on the Brazilian side are yet to be paved (of the 600 km (370 mi) between Oiapoque and Macapá, around 105 km (65 mi) has not yet been paved).Santo Antônio Dam
The Santo Antônio Dam is a hydroelectric dam on the Madeira River 6 km (4 mi) southwest of Porto Velho in the state of Rondônia, Brazil. The dam's run-of-the-river hydroelectric power station have 50 turbines each rated at 71.6 MW resulting in a total installed capacity of 3,580 MW. The first unit began commercial production in March 2012, and as of June 2015 a total of 32 units were operational. Last 6 units went online in December 2016. Most of the power will be exported to south-eastern Brazil via the Rio Madeira HVDC system.
The dam is part of a planned four power plant Madeira river hydroelectric complex, which will consist of two dams in Brazil (Santo Antônio and 3,750 MW Jirau Dam about 100 km upstream), a third on the border of Brazil and Bolivia (Guayaramerin), and a fourth station inside Bolivia (Cachuela Esperanza). Santo Antonio and Jirau Dam are operating, while the smaller upstream dams are still in the planning stages. In part due to the 2001-2002 power shortage in Brazil, construction of both dams was accelerated in 2009. The total estimated cost of the two facilities currently under construction is $15.6 billion ($7 billion for Santo Antônio), including about $10 billion for the civil engineering and power plants, and $5 billion for ship locks, transmission lines, and environmental re-mediation. The Madeira river hydroelectric complex is part of the Initiative for the Integration of the Regional Infrastructure of South America, an effort by South American governments to integrate the continent's infrastructure with new investments in transportation, energy, and communication.Takutu River Bridge
The Takutu River Bridge (Portuguese: Ponte do Rio Tacutu) is a bridge across the Takutu River, linking Lethem in Guyana to Bonfim in Brazil. It was completed in 2009 and opened on 31 July 2009. Its official inauguration was on 14 September 2009, in the presence of leaders of both countries. It cost 5 million USD and was paid for by Brazil. The bridge was a project within the Initiative for the Integration of the Regional Infrastructure of South America.The bridge is the only instance in the Americas of a land border where drivers must change from driving on the left (in Guyana) to driving on the right (in Brazil), or vice versa. The changeover is achieved by means of a crossover bridge.Union of South American Nations
The Union of South American Nations (USAN; Spanish: Unión de Naciones Suramericanas, UNASUR; Portuguese: União de Nações Sul-Americanas, UNASUL; Dutch: Unie van Zuid-Amerikaanse Naties, UZAN; and sometimes referred to as the South American Union) is an intergovernmental regional organization that once comprised twelve South American countries; as of 2019, most have withdrawn.
The UNASUR Constitutive Treaty was signed on 23 May 2008, at the Third Summit of Heads of State, held in Brasília, Brazil. According to the Constitutive Treaty, the Union's headquarters will be located in Quito, Ecuador. On 1 December 2010, Uruguay became the ninth state to ratify the UNASUR treaty, thus giving the union full legality. As the Constitutive Treaty entered into force on 11 March 2011, UNASUR became a legal entity during a meeting of Foreign Ministers in Mitad del Mundo, Ecuador, where they had laid the foundation stone for the Secretariat Headquarters.In April 2018, six countries—Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay and Peru—suspended their membership, and in August of the same year, Colombia announced its withdrawal from the organization. In March 2019, Brazil's president Jair Bolsonaro announced his country's intention to withdraw from the organization. On March 13, 2019, Ecuador announced that it will withdraw from the organization. The president of the country, Lenin Moreno, also asked the bloc to return the headquarters building of the organization, based in Quito.In January 2019, amid growing concern about Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro, a new group, PROSUR, has been advanced to "counteract the influence of what countries in the region call a dictatorship in Venezuela". A Chilean summit to organize Prosur will be held in March 2019, and would exclude Venezuela. Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Uruguay, Paraguay, Peru, Guyana and Suriname were invited to join the new regional bloc.
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