The Redes Chaco (pronounced Red-es Cha-co) or Chaco Networks is a group of people and organisations concerned with the sustainable development of the Gran Chaco Region of South America, an extensive low-lying and semi-arid area that is part of the territory of Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay and Brazil.

Ivan Arnold of Nativa addressing the Redes Chaco Meeting in February 2015

I recently participated in the regional meeting of Redes Chaco held in Embarcación, Argentina, close to the border with Bolivia. I was invited to the meeting by Ivan Arnold of Nativa, a Bolivian organisation that will be the subject of a separate blog post. Afterwards I spent some time visiting Nativa and understanding their programs, with a view to Community Works assisting or working with them in some way.

The home of a Chaqueña family participating in a Nativa project to reduce pressure on forest resources

Taking an Australian perspective on the Chaco, it has much in common with the Kimberley Region of Western Australia. Water quality and availability is a challenge, seasonal climate change (especially the rainy season) can present difficulties for access and infrastructure, while the pattern of sparse settlement leads to complexities around access to services and economic development. Topics of interest to Redes Chaco include water, climate change vulnerability, enterprise development and natural resource management. The presence of many indigenous people and organisations in the region brings a unique social and cultural dynamic to the region.

Redes Chaco has recently launched a fund to support sustainable development projects. Community Works will maintain our interest in the work of the organisation and any opportunities to make positive connections in Australia and elsewhere.