DOI-ITAP's work in the Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region supports energy independence in Argentina, environmental offsets in Colombia, protection of archeological sites in Guatemala, climate change adaptation in Panama, and counter wildlife trafficking throughout Central America, the Dominican Republic, Colombia, and Chile. These efforts, made possible through partnerships with U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), State Department, and others, have benefited from a long-term and strategic engagement in the region.
In this region, DOI-ITAP technical assistance, at both regional and national levels, helps to strengthen:
LATIN AMERICA & THE CARIBBEAN RECENT PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS:
The Wildlife Officer/Inspector Exchange (WOE/WIE) Program facilitates job shadowing exchanges between U.S. and overseas law enforcement personnel from Brazil, Belize, and Dominican Republic. DOI-ITAP works closely with U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement on these exchanges, matching candidates from qualifying conservation law enforcement leadership programs.
With support from the Department of State's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), this project aims to strengthen enforcement, reduce demand for illegally traded wildlife, and expand international cooperation through capacity building sessions, collaboration, and by creating lasting professional relationships between international counterparts.
DOI-ITAP is advancing the sustainable mining of lithium in Argentina.
Lithium plays a critical role in the transition away from fossil fuels to minimize greenhouse gas emissions and reach ambitious carbon pollution-free targets around the globe. Argentina, along with neighboring Chile and Bolivia, make up the “Lithium Triangle” – a region that contains about 67% of proven lithium reserves worldwide. Argentina is on track to become the second largest producer of lithium by 2030.
DOI-ITAP -- along with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Commercial Law Development Program and the U.S. Geological Survey -- is working with Argentina’s federal and provincial mining authorities to build capacity for sustainable lithium development, providing technical assistance in such areas as water management and hydrogeological modeling.
Managing water associated with mining is especially important for nearby communities and groundwater-dependent ecosystems.
DOI-ITAP is proud to be supported by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Energy Resources on this effort.
The Selva Maya, or Maya Jungle region, spans Guatemala, Belize, and Mexico, and is home to diverse wildlife and hundreds of ancient Maya cities.
DOI-ITAP works with in-country partners and DOI specialists to strengthen protected area management, environmental governance, and local community empowerment in the region, bolstering cross-border collaboration.
DOI-ITAP engages local communities in conservation efforts through initiatives such as voluntarily setting community lands aside for conservation, promoting community-based tourism, and empowering Indigenous women and youth as conservation leaders.
With support from USAID Guatemala, DOI-ITAP and its partners have contributed to recovery of forest cover, successful prosecution of environmental crimes, wildfire prevention, protection of archaeological sites, and combating wildlife trafficking.
PREVIOUS PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS:
DOI-ITAP strengthened biodiversity conservation through sound management of protected areas, improving implementation and enforcement of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), and combating wildlife trafficking throughout the investigative and judicial chain of government. These activities are complemented through visitor interpretation and youth engagement and education events.
DOI-ITAP builds capacity to implement and enforce CITES, counter wildlife trafficking at national and regional levels, and analyze data and information for sound government decision-making. Activities are tied to training, operational, and outreach efforts of the Central American and Dominican Republic Wildlife Enforcement Network (CAWEN, or ROAVIS(link is external) in Spanish).
DOI-ITAP strengthened environmental governance and law enforcement by streamlining the adjudication processes, standardized patrols, and increased public participation in the Maya Biosphere Reserve (MBR) and nearby Chiquibul & Maya Mountains Biosphere Reserve. DOI-ITAP efforts also support local community tourism, the protection of archaeological sites and environmental education and interpretation, in addition to strengthening Guatemala-Belize binational efforts to reduce cross-border wildlife trafficking.
DOI-ITAP worked with Colombian officials to reduce wildlife trafficking by building capacity to investigate and prosecute wildlife trafficking cases and improve the implementation and enforcement of CITES as a tool to regulate legal commerce, ensure sustainable levels of wildlife trade, and detect and deter illegal wildlife trade.
DOI-ITAP provided the Colombian Government tools to help prevent and resolve environmental conflicts anticipated by the land use changes associated with the peace process. Mitigation of impacts to Colombia’s protected areas in the Amazon include the development of protocols for integrated government-community decision-making, as well as identifying and promoting environmental offsets for expansion of the protected area system due to impacts of road development and other infrastructure.
FACTSHEETS & ADDITIONAL RESOURCES: