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Pitfalls of hydropower projects to meet climate and sustainability objectives

8th December 2014 – COP20 Mountains and Water Pavilion

DSC_0004The event “Pitfalls Of Hydropower Project To Meet Climate And Sustainability Objectives”, held at the COP20 Mountains and Water Pavilion, gave participants the opportunity to listen to first hand experiences of affected communities in Guatemala, Panama and Colombia.  The panel included local community representatives, civil society and experts on international environmental law and climate finance who raised concerns on how indigenous populations often face challenges to defend their rights in relation to the construction of large hydropower dams. CDM hydroelectric projects in Guatemala, Panama and Colombia show that local communities often face challenges to defend their rights in relation to the construction, which gave the event important significance.

Monti Aguirre opened the debate by pointing out violations of communities’ rights to the lands, territories and resources that they have traditionally lived on, as well as stressing the dramatic consequences occurring when stakeholder consultations are not conducted. Maximo Ba Tiul, Q’eqchies community representative from the Peoples’ Council of Tezulutlan in Coban, Alto Verapez, Guatemala shared the experience of the Santa Rita hydroelectric dam in Guatemala. Similarly Consuelo Acevedo, activist of El Movimiento Social por la Defensa del Río Sogamoso, presented the Sogamoso hydroelectric dam in Columbia. Adelaida Miranda, (also called Weni Bagame) member of the Ngäbe-Buglé indigenous community in Panama, representative of El Movimiento 10 de Abril, introduced the Barro Blanco hydroelectric dam in Panama. Andrea Rodriguez from AIDA raised concerns about hydropower dams as solutions for climate change. Finally, Eva Filzmoser, director of Carbon Market Watch, underlined the problems faced by local stakeholder consultation and the need for grievance mechanisms.

Read full report here

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