Based on statements by the Minister of the Presidency Juan Ramon Quintana on Friday 20th of December, related to a possible expulsion of IBIS in Bolivia, the Secretary General of IBIS, Vagn Berthelsen, announces:

"Various allegations against IBIS have been voiced in the media. We do not recognise the allegations, which seems to be misunderstandings. We hope to have the opportunity to clarify misconceptions to clear up possible misunderstandings before a verdict is handed down and hope to have a dialogue with representatives of the Bolivian government as soon as possible."

"We know for a fact that

  • We have received no complaints from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We have followed all agreed guidelines for the cooperation and international NGO’s, and there does not exist any argument against IBIS nor its officers in respect of having made actions or statements relating to internal affairs of the Bolivian State.
  • The exit of IBIS in Ecuador and Peru was not driven by expulsion of the governments of those countries. It was carried out due to an internal decision of our organisation to not work at regional level and to focus on national structures worldwide. In the case of Bolivia, the low-income conditions of the country, especially of the indigenous peoples, were what made ​​IBIS stay in Bolivia as the only country in South America. This decision was made in 2010 and the departure of Peru and Ecuador was conducted in a responsible and gradual way, without any pressure, closing projects in an absolutely normal manner.
  • That we are quoted for saying and meaning things we have not said or meant as an organisation. It is our clear policy that Bolivian organisations must speak for themselves."


IBIS has worked for 30 years in Bolivia and has a very broad and substantial program. We support education, job creation, health, agricultural production, entrepreneurship and indigenous organisations at local and national level. IBIS works with a broad range of partners – organisations, municipalities, and businesses.

"We have been able to support the Bolivian population for 30 years even in very rough periods of the country’s history. We have always tried to be constructive and build platforms for dialogue in times of conflict and if we have made mistakes, we have apologised and found a way forward. We are proud of the contribution we have made."

"At this point there seems to be little hope of clearing misunderstandings. Never the less I will travel to Bolivia as soon as I get the chance to meet government officials. It is indeed sad if our support to Bolivia ends this way, not least for those that benefit from our work."

Our Annual Report 2012 (in Spanish) is to be found on this web site:

For further information, please contact:

General Secretary of IBIS Vagn Berthelsen, (+45) 2440 8640

Country Director of IBIS in Bolivia, Ximena Valdivia, (+591) 720 007 58