Washington, DC – On Friday, 12 civil society organizations urged the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, James Anaya, to conduct a formal investigation into the human rights impacts of the Barro Blanco dam located on the Tabasará River in Panama. The Panamanian and international organizations also asked Mr. Anaya to call on the government of Panama to immediately halt the dam’s construction until the threats to the rights of the indigenous Ngӓbe people affected by the project have been fully addressed. The Barro Blanco controversy received special attention at the UN climate talks held last week in Bonn, Germany, because the project is registered under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), a carbon offsetting scheme established under the Kyoto Protocol.
The Sharm el-Sheikh climate conference’s final deal on Article 6 opens the door to secret carbon market deals between countries with little oversight. On a positive note, a new type of carbon credit could help spell the end of offsetting, but the agreement falls far short of what is needed.