16 July 2015
Dear Mr Schneider, Dear Mr Buendia,
We, the April 10 Movement for the Defense of the Tabasara River (M-10), Alianza para la Conservacion y el Desarrollo (ACD) and Asociacion Ambientalista de Chiriqui (ASAMCHI), are writing to inform you about the decision of the Panamanian government to temporarily suspend the project Barro Blanco Hydroelectric Power Plant, in the Tabasara River, Panama (project number 3237). The decision was taken because of breaches of the national environmental impact assessment requirements, including shortcomings in the agreement with the locally affected indigenous communities.
In light of the recent decision that the CDM local stakeholder consultations are to be conducted “in accordance with applicable national regulations, if any.”1, we hereby ask the CDM Board to take action, including to coordinate with ongoing investigations, react to the suspension decision of the Panamanian government, and suspend the project upon finding non-compliance with the current CDM rules and procedures.
Let us first provide you with the most recent developments surrounding the Barro Blanco hydroelectric project: In 2008, the Autoridad Nacional del Ambiente (ANAM), granted approval to the project under the mandatory condition of an agreement between GENISA, the developer of the Barro Blanco hydroelectric project in Panama, and the indigenous Ngöbe-Buglé communities, who will be affected by the dam as it would flood their territory, homes, schools, as well as religious, archaeological, and cultural sites. On 19 January 2015, following the continued protests of the affected indigenous communities, the President of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela, designated a high-level commission headed by Vice-President Isabel de Saint Malo to start a dialogue with a special commission of the Ngöbe-Buglé.
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