Barro Blanco hydro dam: time is running out for affected communities

In February 2015, the Panamanian government suspended construction of the Barro Blanco hydro dam after recognising shortcomings in the agreement with affected stakeholders. One year later, and with the suspension now lifted, construction of the dam nears completion with some local communities fearing forced eviction from their homes. Supporters are calling on the Panamanian President to ensure that the affected communities are free from repression.

Barro Blanco: take urgent action to ensure that the Ngäbe are free from repression and eviction

We are receiving reports from our partners in the Ngäbe indigenous territories of Panama that they are being threatened to be evicted without their consent this week. We fear this eviction makes way for completion of the Barro Blanco dam – a project registered under the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism and financed by German and Dutch …

Watch This! NGO Newsletter #14: Barro Blanco – construction nears completion without agreement with affected stakeholders

In February, 2015, the Panamanian government suspended construction of the Barro Blanco hydro dam after recognising the absence of agreement with affected stakeholders. One year later, the suspension has been lifted and the construction is close to completion. However, no dialogue or agreement with the affected local communities is within sight. One year ago, in …

WATCH THIS! NGO Newsletter #12: Ever more uncertainty over Barro Blanco

On the first of September tensions in Panama heightened when heavy machinery moved very close to the Ngöbe-Bugle Comarca to complete the highly contested Barro Blanco hydro dam, which is registered under the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism. This was preceded by the forceful eviction of indigenous people camping next to the construction area by the …

Uncertainty over Barro Blanco’s CDM approval

On the first of September tensions in Panama heightened when heavy machinery moved very close to the Ngöbe-Bugle Comarca to complete the highly contested Barro Blanco hydro dam, which is registered under the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism. This was preceded by the forceful eviction of indigenous people camping next to the construction area by the national police. In response to a letter sent by Panamanian civil society groups, the CDM Board has now reminded Panama about its right to withdraw approval for the project, “if it deems appropriate”.

Request to support due implementation of CDM rules re #3237: Barro Blanco Hydroelectric Project

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.

MEDIA STATEMENT: Independent report finds Dutch and German development banks failed to comply with environmental and human rights standards in financing the Barro Blanco dam in Panama

Kiad, Panama/Amsterdam/Bogota – Last Friday, a long-awaited report by an independent panel found that FMO and DEG, the Dutch and German development banks, violated their own policies by failing to adequately assess the risks to indigenous rights and the environment before approving a US$50 million loan to GENISA, the developer of the Barro Blanco hydroelectric project in Panama. FMO and DEG’s response to the findings, while acknowledging some deficiencies in their assessment, does not commit to any measures to address the outstanding policy violations. Even while the report concludes that “the lenders have not taken the resistance of the affected communities seriously enough,” it appears that FMO and DEG continue to do so.

A summary of the Independent Complaints Mechanism’s findings on Barro Blanco and FMO-DEG management response

The Dutch and German development banks, FMO and DEG, each invested 25 US$ million in the Barro Blanco hydropower project in Panama. In May 2014, the Movimiento 10 de Abril (M-10), representing indigenous peoples directly affected by the project, with the support of Both ENDS and SOMO, filed the first complaint to the Independent Complaints …

NEWS: Future of Barro Blanco hydro dam left to European investment banks

Following the temporary suspension of the controversial CDM hydroelectric project Barro Blanco in February, Panama’s government acknowledges “recurring administrative flaws and improper handling” by the company in charge. After its dismissal, a new roundtable is now convened to analyse how the project can continue under a new management and “in accordance with the well-being of the communities”. The crucial decision to continue financing the project is now up to the German and Dutch development banks.