Energy and Minerals
The Western Hemisphere is the largest consumer of
energy in the world, and even though this is due largely to high
per-capita use in the United States and Canada, energy consumption
in Latin America and the Caribbean is due to accelerate rapidly in
the near future. Energy production and management in the region will
be a large factor in attracting future investment and growth; it is
for this reason that the Bolivian Summit's Plan of Action dedicated
several initiatives to the topic.
At the same time, mineral resources continue to
be very important for the economic stability of several countries of
the hemisphere. The mining industry provides jobs and, through these
jobs, incomes that help alleviate poverty and promote regional
development. With this in mind, the Santa Cruz Summit addresses the
topic of minerals in its Plan of Action, under Initiatives
63, 64, and 65.
Actions and programs related to energy and minerals that have
been implemented since the Santa Cruz Summit are listed below.
Regional and Cross-Border Energy Cooperation
- Energy ministers have gathered three times in three years
(Washington DC, Santa Cruz, Bolivia and Venezuela) in an effort
to increase regional cooperation and integration. As a result,
Energy Steering Committee and the Energy Coordination
Secretariat were founded.
- Electric line interconnections now exist between Chile and
Argentina and Venezuela and Colombia.
- Plans are underway for natural gas interconnections between
Argentina and Chile and Bolivia and Brazil; proposals and
studies have begun for other areas as well.
- With the help of the Joint Implementation Initiative,
twenty-one Latin American and Caribbean countries have been
approved for clean energy projects.
Regulatory, Institutional, and Cooperative
Initiatives for Clean Energy Projects
- In Costa Rica, Argentina, the United States, Brazil, Mexico,
wind energy projects have been implemented.
- In Mexico, Nicaragua, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Costa
Rica, and El Salvador, geothermal power development has been
explored as an alternate form of energy.
- Sustainable Markets for Sustainable Energy Program (SMSE), 1996:
created to support the formation of sustainable markets for
- Several countries throughout the hemisphere are also working
towards energy conservation and promoting energy-efficient
- Argentina - initiated a US$300 million program to provide
universal coverage over the next ten years.
- Brazil - implemented an initiative that would electrify 5,000
communities in the country by 1999.
- Mexico - as of 1996, 95% of Mexico's population had electricity.
By 2000, the country sought to increase electrification to a rate
- Meeting of the Ministers of Mining of the Americas: Santiago,
Chile, 1997 and Arequipa, Peru, 1997: six groups were appointed to
study Bolivian mining initiatives.
- Regional collaboration on mining issues is the Ministers' goal
for the future.
- The region still must confront severe energy challenges: urban
brownouts and blackouts, lack of electrical access in rural areas,
and environmental concerns.
- Uneven income disparities throughout the region make
multi-national cooperation and integration difficult.
- Regional inconsistencies between private and public rule of the
sector further complicate cooperation and integration.
- The use of environmentally sound and energy efficient technology
requires a serious commitment from policy-makers and currently
does not have the support it needs to be effective.
- Variations in regulations, ownership rights, wages, and adequate
training programs in the mining sector make regional cooperation
and integration still more difficult.