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Archive for August, 2008

http://burica.wordpress.com/2008/08/19/ambientalistas-exigen-creacion-de-comite/

CHIRIQUÍ. Buscan salvar al Pila y demás reservas.

Ambientalistas exigen creación de comité

Quedan en riesgo los humedales de Volcán, el Parque Nacional Volcán Barú y la reserva de Fortuna.

La Unesco presentó un informe en el que considera en riesgo al Parque Internacional La Amistad.

ESPECIAL PARA LA PRENSA/Boris Gómez
AMENAZA. No hay claridad en la definición tenencial de las tierras dentro del parque, tampoco existen suficientes guardaparques.

Boris Gómez
DAVID, Chiriquí.

El pronunciamiento de la Organización de las Naciones Unidas para la Educación, Ciencia y Cultura (Unesco) fue el detonante para que los grupos ambientalistas en la provincia de Chiriquí alzaran su voz contra la proliferación de hidroeléctricas y las amenazas a las zonas protegidas en el occidente del país.

La Unesco presentó un informe que considera en riesgo al Parque Internacional La Amistad (PILA), declarado Patrimonio de la Humanidad en 1983.

Así lo establece la Unesco luego de analizar en su XXXII sesión realizada en Canadá, en julio pasado, denuncias que presentaron varios grupos ambientalistas al organismo, corroboradas por representantes de la institución que visitaron la reserva natural administrada por los gobiernos de Costa Rica y Panamá.

Damaris Sánchez, de la Fundación para el Desarrollo Integral Comunitario y Conservación de los Sistemas en Panamá (Fundiccep), con sede en Cerro Punta, indicó que no solo el PILA corre riesgo.

“Son diversas las amenazas sobre toda le reserva de la biosfera La Amistad, que incluye además del PILA los humedales de Volcán, el Parque Nacional Volcán Barú, la reserva de Fortuna y los humedales San San Pon Sac en Bocas del Toro”.

No hay claridad en la definición tenencial de las tierras dentro del parque, tampoco existen suficientes guardaparques, la amenaza de la proliferación de hidroeléctricas y el crecimiento de la frontera agrícola son parte de esas amenazas a nuestras reservas, explicó Sánchez.

La publicación del informe de la Unesco coincidió con el inicio del programa en la Universidad Autónoma de Chiriquí denominado Encuentro Cultura de la Naturaleza 2008.

En dicho encuentro los ambientalistas asistieron a la exposición “Comunicación Gráfica y Medio Ambiente”, con la exposición de las viñetas (caricaturas) del dibujante español Andrés Rábago, El Roto, y muestras de la obra Photo Clima, editada por Greenpeace, España.

Hicieron duros señalamientos contra la aprobación de proyectos hidroeléctricos en el marco de la conferencia de Antonio Clement, sobre energías renovables.

“No hay monitoreo del respeto o violaciones a la naturaleza por las autoridades y el Gobierno le ha dejado las manos sueltas a las empresas transnacionales promotoras de hidroeléctricas sin considerar los daños”, aseguró Demetrio Miranda de la Asociación de Ambientalistas de Chiriquí. Esperamos que en el caso del PILA ambos gobiernos se pongan de acuerdo en este caso, explicó el ambientalista.

“Pesa más el interés económico de las transnacionales y los gobiernos no han tenido el personal con calidad técnica ni humana para hacer un balance en este tema”, dijo Miranda.

Raúl Montenegro, ambientalista, estuvo de acuerdo con el conferencista Clement de que el caudal ecológico del 10% dejado por las hidroeléctricas de embalse es ínfimo y están matando muchas especies nativas del lugar.

Ese 10% que se deja en la estación seca no alcanza y se necesita mucha más del 50% del caudal para no afectar a las especies, comentó.

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http://burica.wordpress.com/2008/08/18/parque-internacional-la-amistad-en-riesgo/

IMPACTO. RESERVA NATURAL

El PILA, en riesgo: Unesco

A la Unesco le preocupa los efectos nocivos que pudieran tener sobre el ecosistema los referidos proyectos.

El organismo pidió a Costa Rica y a Panamá que tomen medidas para preservar la reserva natural.

José Arcia
jarcia@prensa.com

El Parque Internacional La Amistad (PILA), declarado Patrimonio de la Humanidad en 1983, está en riesgo.

Así lo establece la Unesco luego de analizar en su XXXII sesión realizada en Canadá, en julio pasado, denuncias que presentaron varios grupos ambientalistas al organismo, corroboradas por representantes de la institución que visitaron la reserva natural administrada por los gobiernos de Costa Rica y Panamá.

La Unesco manifestó su preocupación por los efectos que tenga sobre el ecosistema la construcción de proyectos hidroeléctricos que se desarrollan en los ríos Changuinola y Bonyic, en la provincia de Bocas del Toro, y por la expansión de las actividades agropecuarias.

“Existe una ausencia de medidas para atenuar el impacto de las represas en siete especies acuáticas”, señala el organismo en el informe.

La Unesco también encontró que no existe una gestión ambiental por parte de ambos gobiernos, y pidió a Costa Rica y a Panamá abordar estos problemas con urgencia.

La Unesco solicitó también que los dos países apliquen de forma sistemática un monitoreo ecológico para comprender cuál es la situación de la vida silvestre, así como un informe conjunto sobre el estado de conservación del parque. Este documento debe presentarse, a más tardar, el 1 de febrero de 2009.

Pese a los riesgos, el PILA todavía no está en la lista de sitios en peligro.

AMBIENTE. HIDROELÉCTRICAS Y ACTIVIDAD AGROPECUARIA AFECTAN PARQUE LA AMISTAD.

Unesco pide intervención de gobiernos

Organismo recibe denuncias de asociaciones ambientales y visita el área en conflicto.

El Parque La Amistad, Patrimonio de la Humanidad desde 1983, se encuentra en riesgo.

José Arcia
jarcia@prensa.com

La Unesco manifestó su preocupación por los proyectos hidroeléctricos que se desarrollan en Changuinola, provincia de Bocas del Toro, y por la expansión de las actividades agropecuarias que se incrementan en las fronteras de la reserva natural, porque ambas actividades podrían tener un impacto negativo en el ecosistema del Parque Internacional La Amistad (PILA), declarado Patrimonio de la Humanidad en 1983.

Las denuncias sobre estas situaciones fueron presentadas por grupos ambientalistas, entre ellos la Alianza para la Conservación y el Desarrollo (ACD) y el Centro de la Diversidad Biológica (CBD, por sus siglas en inglés).

La Unesco, en su 32da. sesión realizada del 2 al 10 de julio pasado en Quebec, Canadá, analizó las denuncias y el informe que presentaron representantes del organismo, luego de su visita a la reserva natural en febrero pasado.

El organismo decidió no incluir al PILA en la lista de sitios en peligro, pero pidió al Gobierno panameño presentar, antes del 1 de febrero de 2009, un informe sobre las medidas tomadas para mantener los corredores migratorios para las especies acuáticas que viven en los ríos Bonyic y Changuinola, afectadas por la construcción de proyectos hidroeléctricos. Ambos cursos de agua nacen en las cordilleras del parque, administrado conjuntamente por los gobiernos de Costa Rica y Panamá.

“Existe una ausencia de medidas para atenuar el impacto de las represas en siete especies acuáticas”, señala el organismo en el informe.

La Unesco cuestionó la falta de una gestión ambiental por parte de las autoridades gubernamentales y pidió, tanto al Gobierno de Panamá como al de Costa Rica ,abordar estos problemas con urgencia.

El organismo solicitó también a ambos Gobiernos aplicar de forma sistemática un monitoreo ecológico para mejorar la comprensión de la reducción de la vida silvestre, así como un informe conjunto sobre el estado de conservación del parque, que también tiene como fecha límite de presentación el 1 de febrero de 2009.

Al Gobierno panameño, por su parte, le pide evaluar la eficacia del recurso de delito ecológico, y que aplique las medidas correctivas cuando sean necesarias.

Se llamó al director de Asesoría Legal de la Autoridad Nacional del Ambiente, Harley Mitchell, para conocer su posición, pero no respondió la llamada.

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http://burica.wordpress.com/2008/08/13/gobierno-panameno-le-debe-muchas-explicaciones-a-la-unesco-sobre-el-pila/

Gobierno panameño le debe muchas explicaciones a la UNESCO sobre el PILA

Burica Press. Panamá. 13 de agosto de 2008. En la 32ª sesión de la UNESCO realizada del 2 al 10 de julio de 2008 en Québec, Canadá, se decidió no incluir todavía al sitio binacional Parque Internacional La Amistad como un Sitio de Patrimonio Mundial En Peligro, sin embargo ha mostrado su preocupación y ha puntualizado varias decisiones que son de estricto cumplimiento para los Estados Partes, Costa Rica y Panamá, con tal de salvaguardar la integridad de la propiedad natural binacional.

La solicitud que le hace la UNESCO a las autoridades de Panamá está directamente relacionado a las preocupaciones ambientales que denunciaron grupos ecologistas nacionales y extranjeros que están preocupados por el impacto ambiental de grandes represas en las inmediciones del Sitio de Patrimonio Mundial, al avance de la frontera agropecuaria y a la casi ausencia de gestión ambiental que garantice que esta propiedad de la UNESCO, no se deteriorá de manera significativa.

Linda Barrera del Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), quien lideró la petición ante la UNESCO se mostró complacida con  que el Centro de Patrimonio Mundial haya venido a Panamá a conducir una evaluación preliminar del estado del Sitio e indica que a pesar que el Comité no ha declarado el parque (Parque Internacional La Amistad) en peligro, sí ha registrado deficiencias en el manejo e insta a los gobiernos de Panamá y Costa Rica a analizar los efectos acumulativos de las represas potenciales en el área inmediata.  Además es importante que el Comité haya decidido volverle a pedir cuentas de sus avances en algunas de las solicitudes realizadas el 1 de febrero de 2009.

RESUMEN DE LA DECISIÓN

Caso 35.Talamanca Range-La Amistad Reserves / La Amistad National Park (Costa
Rica Panama) (N 205 bis)

Decision: 32 COM 7B.35

1. Habiendo examinado el documento WHC-08/32.COM/7B. Add,

2. Recordando la Decisión 31 COM 7B.36, adoptada en su 31ª reunión de la UNESCO (Christchurch, New Zeland 2007),

3. Lamenta que los Estados Partes no presentaron sus informes en uno de los dos idiomas de trabajo de la Convención del Patrimonio Mundial (francés e Inglés)

4. Toma nota con preocupación de las observaciones comunicadas por el Centro del Patrimonio Mundial / Misión de la UICN a la propiedad, en particular en los siguientes puntos:

a) ausencia de medidas previstas para atenuar el impacto de las represas hidroeléctricas en las siete especies acuáticas que de otra manera se perderían de los sistemas fluviales afectados;

b) incidencia significativa de ganado dentro de la propiedad, incluida la creación de pastos ilegales dentro de sus fronteras;

c) A largo plazo se visualiza el riesgo que plantea a la propiedad el potencial de desarrollo fragmentario causado por las represas hidroeléctricas y sus correspondientes infraestructuras;

d) el riesgo de que las comunidades desplazadas por la construcción de presas pueden migrar hacia dentro propiedad si sus necesidades no son adecuadamente atendidas;

e) baja presencia de la autoridad de gestión en la propiedad;

f) falta de un efectivo proceso de gestión participativa, la participación de la sociedad civil y las autoridades gubernamentales;

5. Pide a los Estados Partes abordar conjuntamente estos problemas de urgencia y llevar a cabo las siguientes recomendaciones, señalando los puntos a)-e) como prioridades:

a) diseñar, aplicar y vigilar la eficacia de las medidas de mitigación en relación con la necesidad de mantener los corredores migratorios en los Ríos Changuinola y Bonyic para las especies acuáticas; aplicar medidas aguas abajo para reducir la mortalidad por contaminación y la pesca ilegal (Panamá);

b) desarrollar y aplicar un plan para controlar y manejar el ganado dentro de la propiedad; integrando las tierras privadas a la propiedad para el año 2018 (Costa Rica, Panamá), y cesar o rigurosamente controlar y administrar el movimiento de ganado a través de la propiedad (Panamá) a fin de evitar los posibles efectos sobre el valor universal y excepcional y la integridad de la propiedad

c) garantizar que las necesidades de todos los miembros de las comunidades que pueden ser desplazadas por la construcción de las represas para hidroeléctricas son adecuadamente satisfechas, garantizar que la propiedad no es afectada negativamente (Panamá);

d) identificar e implementar aumentos apropiados en la presencia de la autoridad de manejo para apoyar la gestión eficaz de la propiedad (Costa Rica, Panamá);

e) Reactivar y apoyar al Comité Binacional de la Reserva de la Biósfera para la propiedad, incorporando agentes gubernamentales y no gubernamentales, proporcionando entrada efectiva a nivel de paisaje en los temas de planeamiento del manejo y el uso  existente de los acuerdos binacionales, particularmente  aquellos existentes en el marco de la CCAD, para mejorar aún más esta labor(Costa Rica, Panamá);

f) llevar a cabo un análisis de los efectos acumulativos de las posibles nuevas construcciones de represas fuera de la propiedad (Panamá) y de otras infraestructuras de desarrollo (Costa Rica, Panamá) en la integridad y valor Universal Excepcional de la propiedad como una mejor guía para el futuro en la toma de decisiones y la restauración y los programas de mitigación;

g) aplicar de forma sistemática el monitoreo ecológico del sistema para mejorar la comprensión de la reducción en los números de la vida silvestre (Costa Rica, Panamá);

h) llevar a cabo una evaluación detallada de observar el avance que tienen lugar en el Lado Caribe (Costa Rica), y aplicar una respuesta adecuada para detener nuevas invasiones y para garantizar los límites de la propiedad y que refuerce el control;

i) evaluar la eficacia del seguimiento de delitos ambientales en la presentación de informes, y aplicar medidas correctivas cuando sea necesario (Panamá);

6. Se reitera la petición a los Estados Partes a desarrollar conjuntamente, en consulta con el Centro del Patrimonio Mundial y los órganos consultivos, un proyecto de Declaración de valor universal excepcional incluidas las condiciones de integridad, para su examen por el Comité del Patrimonio Mundial en su 34ª reunión en el año 2010;

7. También se le pide al Estado Parte Panamá para que presente al Centro de Patrimonio Mundial, antes del 1 de febrero de 2009, un informe sobre los progresos realizados en cuanto a la identificación y aplicación de las medidas de mitigación en relación con la necesidad de mantener los corredores migratorios de los ríos Bonyic y Changuinola para las especies acuáticas afectadas, como se ha señalado en el punto 5 a), para su examen por el Comité del Patrimonio Mundial en su 33ª reunión en 2009;

8. Se pide además a los Estados Partes a presentar al Centro del Patrimonio Mundial, antes del 1 de febrero de 2009, un informe conjunto sobre el estado de conservación de los bienes y en la implementación de las recomendaciones señaladas en los puntos 5a)-i) de arriba, para su examen por el Comité del Patrimonio Mundial en su 33 ª reunión en 2009.

VERSIÓN EN INGLÉS

35.Talamanca Range-La Amistad Reserves / La Amistad National Park (Costa
Rica Panama) (N 205 bis)
Decision: 32 COM 7B.35

The World Heritage Committee,
1. Having examined Document WHC-08/32.COM/7B.Add,

2. Recalling Decision 31 COM 7B.36, adopted at its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007),

3. Regrets that the States Parties did not submit their reports in one of the two working languages of the World Heritage Convention (French and English);

4. Notes with concern the observations reported by the World Heritage Centre/IUCN mission to the property, in particular:

a) absence of any planned measures to mitigate the impact of the hydroelectric dams on the seven aquatic species which would otherwise be lost from the affected river systems;

b) significant incidence of cattle within the property, including the creation of illegal pastures within its boundaries;

c) longer term risk to the property posed by potential piecemeal development of hydroelectric dams and their associated infrastructure;

d) risk that communities displaced by the dam construction may migrate into the property if their needs are not adequately addressed;

e) low presence of the management authority at the property;

f) absence of an effective participatory management process involving civil society and government authorities;

5. Requests the States Parties to jointly address these concerns by urgently carrying out the following recommendations, noting points a)-e) as priorities:

a) design, implement and monitor the effectiveness of mitigation measures in relation to the need to maintain the migratory corridors of the Changuinola and Bonyic rivers for the affected aquatic species; implement measures downstream to reduce mortality from pollution and illegal fishing (Panama);

b) develop and implement a plan to control and manage cattle within the property; integrating private lands into the property by 2018 (Costa Rica, Panama), and cease or rigorously control and manage the movement of cattle through the property(Panama) to avoid any effects on the Outstanding Universal Value and the integrity of the  property;

c) ensure that the needs of all members of communities that may be displaced by the building of the hydro-electric dams are adequately met, ensuring that the property is not negatively affected (Panama);

d) identify and implement appropriate increases in management authority presence to support the effective management of the property (Costa Rica,
Panama);

e) re-activate and support the bi-national Biosphere Reserve Committee for the property, incorporating government and non-government stakeholders, providing effective landscape level input into management planning issues, and use existing bi-national cooperation agreements, particularly those existing under the framework of the  CCAD, to further enhance this work (Costa Rica,
Panama);

f) carry out an analysis of the cumulative effects of potential further dam construction outside of the property (Panama) and of other infrastructure development (Costa Rica, Panama) on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value and integrity to better guide future decision-making and restoration/mitigation programmes;

g) implement a systematic ecological monitoring system to improve understanding of the reduction in wildlife numbers reported to be taking place (Costa Rica, Panama);

h) carry out a detailed assessment of observed encroachment taking place on the Caribbean side (Costa Rica), and implement an appropriate response to stop further encroachments and to ensure property boundaries are respected and their control enforced;

i) assess the effectiveness of the follow-up on environmental crimes reporting, and implement corrective measures where necessary (Panama);

6. Reiterates its request to the States Parties to develop jointly, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, a draft
Statement of Outstanding Universal Value including the conditions of integrity, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session in 2010;

7. Also requests the State Party of Panama to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2009, a report on the progress made in regards to the identification and implementation of mitigation measures in relation to the need to maintain the migratory corridors of the Changuinola and Bonyic rivers for the affected aquatic species as noted in point 5a) above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 33rd session in 2009;

8. Further requests the States Parties to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2009, a joint report on the state of conservation of the property and on the implementaiton of the recommendations noted in points 5a)-i) above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 33rd session in 2009.

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http://internationalrivers.org/en/climate-change/carbon-trading-cdm/comments-changuinola-1-chan-75-large-hydro-project-panama

Comments on Changuinola 1 (Chan 75) Large Hydro Project (Panama)

August 11, 2008

Comments on the CDM Project Design Document (PDD) for the AES Changuinola I (a.k.a. Chan 75) Large Hydroelectric Dam Project: A Case of “Greenwash Additionality”

Submitted by International Rivers to the project validator TÜV SÜD
August 8, 2008

Project Overview:

  • Location: Changuinola River, La Amistad UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Buffer Zone and Mesoamerican Biological Corridor, Panama
  • Type: 222 MW; 99m concrete dam; 1394 ha reservoir.
  • Project Promoter: AES Corporation
  • Social impacts: Include forced displacement of more than 1000 Ngobe indigenous people and harm to livelihoods of 4000 more. Because of the dam the Ngobe have suffered beatings, arbitrary detention, public humiliation, threats and illegal destruction of crops and homes at the hands of the police and AES.
  • Environmental impacts: Destruction of riverine and forest ecosystems in one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots. The dam is expected to have severely negative impacts on fish and shrimp biodiversity by blocking migrations between the San San Wetlands Ramsar site and the UNESCO World Heritage Site La Amistad International Park (shared with Costa Rica).
  • Status: Under construction. Land clearing started 2005. Subject to numerous ongoing court cases, repression of local communities, and criticism from United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights and indigenous people.
  • Additionality Status: Non-additional in terms of how CDM “additionality” is normally understood (i.e. that the prospect of CDM registration was necessary for the project to go forward). However the project could be considered as a case of a new form of additionality: “greenwash additionality.” Validation by TÜV-SUD and registration by the CDM could harm local community and environmentalist efforts to stop the project and protect local communities by providing apparent UN support for the project.
  • Quality of PDD: PDD contains numerous fraudulent claims, in particularon project additionality and the strong opposition from local indigenous communities. No mention is made of the intimidation and other repressive tactics used against local communities, the legal irregularities in the project approval process, or the numerous legal challenges against the project.
  • Impact of validating the project: Vindication of repression against local communities and fraud in CDM documents. Could set back legal and political campaigns to stop the project.
  • Estimated generation: 1047 GWh/yr
  • Claimed “emission reductions”: 669,000 tCO2/year (4,683,000 tCO2 over 7 years)

Further comments on project additionality

“Investment Barrier”
AES announced that they would build the dam on the basis of a 10-year power purchase agreement with utility, Union Fenosa, at a meeting with Panama’s President Martin Torrijos on January 26, 2006. Full-scale construction started in 2007. Andres Gluski, president of AES Latin America, told President Torrijos that the dam would “provide a . . . low cost source of electricity for Panama.”

It is inconceivable that AES would have entered a legal contract to supply electricity and committed a $320 million investment if this would only be economically viable if at some point in the future the dam would be issued credits by the CDM. This is especially true given AES experience of its application to the CDM for the Bayano Hydro Expansion Project in Panama. This application was first made in 2001 and is still waiting for validation. (The Bayano Expansion has long since been completed regardless of its not receiving CER income). AES also unsuccessfully tried to get CDM registration for its Bujagali dam in Uganda in 2002. (Although AES is no longer involved the dam is now under construction despite not receiving CER income).

The PDD claims that the Minutes from an AES Board of Directors meeting in October 2006 “demonstrates that the incentive to develop the project activity as a CDM [sic] was considered and played an important role in the decision to go ahead with the project.” This is irrelevant in terms of proving additionality. To be additional the CDM must essential to the decision to develop the project, not just an “important” factor which was “considered.” Given that AES is well aware of CDM rules, and stands to gain revenues of around $70m (@$15/CER) overseven years if they get CDM registration, it would indeed be surprising if their board did not consider how much they would like to get CDM registration. It would even be somewhat surprising if the $70m was not a sufficient inducement for the board to say that the CDM was essential for the project to go ahead regardless of the reality. The CDM process is predicated upon independent evaluation of developer claims, not just taking developers at their word. In any case confidential minutes should not be eligible to be used in CDM validation processes which must be open to public scrutiny.

“Prevailing Practice Barrier”
AES makes the absurd claim that “under a business as usual scenario hydroelectric technology would not be implemented in Panama.” In reality, hydropower has long supplied the majority of Panama’s electricity. In 2004 hydropower contributed 56% of the country’s installed capacity. The list of “recent hydropower projects in Panama” given in the PDD includes only one hydropower plant commissioned since 1984 and conveniently fails to list AES’s Bayano expansion project, or numerous other hydro projects that are under construction or recently completed. It omits the two other dams for which AES has received concessions on the Changuinola River, the highly controversial Bonyic hydro project, and the 87 hydro projects that have been approved by, or are seeking approval from, Panama’s DNA (CDM authority).

“Barrier due to Project’s Sensitive Location”
This is the one area where the project may indeed be additional. The project is being built in a supposedly protected area and on the lands of an indigenous community which is strongly opposed to the project. This opposition has been manifested in numerous political actions such as the blockading of the road to the construction site in December 2007 and January 2008, as well as a number of domestic and international legal actions (the struggle against the dam is referred to in the PDD only as a “significant discussion”).

One of the more shockingly deceitful claims made by AES in the PDD is that “95% of the population in the region approves the project.” The only evidence given for this claim is a newspaper clipping quoting the leader of an “astroturf” (false grassroots) organization set up and funded by AES to promote their dams and discredit genuine environmental and community organizations. This is typical of the dirty tricks used by AES to promote the dam.

It may be the case that if the Changuinola I dam is registered by the CDM this will give the appearance of UN approval for the project’s “clean” credentials. This could assist AES and the Panamanian government (majority shareholders in AES Panama) to defeat the political and legal challenges to the dam and ensure its completion. This is the only form of additionality – let us call it “greenwash additionality” – for the project which is at all credible.

This “greenwash additionality” is totally unacceptable and contrary to the spirit of the CDM. The CDM is not supposed to help unscrupulous and dishonest developers to steamroller environmentally and socially destructive projects against the wishes of local people or to interfere in ongoing legal processes and petitions. If TÜV-SUD validates this project it will be colluding in the human rights abuses and environmental destruction being caused by Changuinola 1 and the dishonest practices of AES.

The AES PDD claims that the dam “follows the recommendations” of the World Commission on Dams. This is a risible claim. The dam is in breach of numerous essential aspects of the WCD, most importantly perhaps the requirement to gain the “free, prior informed consent” of indigenous people. Clearly AES have paid lip service to the WCD in the hope that this will help ensure that CERs from Changuinola I will be eligible to be used in the European Trading System (which requires WCD compliance).

Proper Consultation and Research

To be legitimate, TÜV-SUD’s validation process must include interviews with stakeholders other than AES and allied groups and the Panamanian government. These stakeholders should include at a minimum Ngobe community leaders, their legal advisors, Panamanian environmental and human rights organizations including ACD, the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and indigenous people, and members of the UNESCO delegation who visiting the area in January 2008 to assess the request for the La Amistad International Park to be listed as a World Heritage Site in Danger. A validation report based only on discussions with dam supporters would be non-credible and totally unacceptable.

Further reading for TÜV-SUD

“International Rivers Comments on Proposed CDM Methodology for Bayano Large Hydro Expansion (Panama)” http://www.internationalrivers.org/en/node/1331

“Changuinola 75 Hydroelectric facility, Panama”
http://www.power-technology.com/projects/changuinola75/

“AES To Build 150 MW Hydroelectric Plant with Long Term Contract in Panama; Company to Add a Total of 940 MW to Its Global Fleet, Business Wire, Jan 26, 2006 http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0EIN/is_2006_Jan_26/ai_n26738004

Sarah Cordero et al. “Análisis de costo beneficio de cuatro proyectos hidroelélectricos en la cuenca Changuinola-Teribe.” ACD/Asociación ANAI/CSF, July 2006 http://conservation-strategy.org/files/Changuinola%20FINAL.pdf

Ellen L. Lutz “Dam Nation.” Cultural Survival Quarterly, Winter 2007. “Letter of the Ngobe People affected by Dam Chan 75 of the Company AES Changuinola.” International Indian Treaty Council, March 2008 http://www.treatycouncil.org/document_9111112121211211.htm

Jeffrey D. Stein, “Resistance to Dam Nation: An Analysis of the Stance and Strategies of the Opposition Movement to the Chan-75 Hydroelectric Project in Bocas del Toro, Panama.” BA thesis, Wesleyan University, Connecticut, April 2008.

Jessica Barber, “Paradigms and Perceptions: A Chronology and Analysis fo the Events of the Chan-75 Hydroelectric Project and the Roles and Relationships of Participants.” SIT Panama: Conservation and Development, May 2008.

More information:

Dams Threaten Biodiversity and Indigenous People in Panama

International Rivers Comments on CDM Methodology for Bayano Large Hydro Dam Expansion (Panama)

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United Nations Expert on Indigenous Peoples denounces human rights violations committed against the Charco la Pava community in Panama

8 August 2008

Geneva: — The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people, Mr. James Anaya, expresses concern about information received from various sources regarding the arbitrary displacement and other abuses suffered by members of the Charco la Pava community, which is part of the Ngöbe indigenous community, in the Changuinola District, Bocas del Toro Province, Panama, in relation to the construction of the Hydroelectric Project CHAN 75.

“I observe with concern the human rights violations suffered by members of the Charco la Pava community, such as arbitrary displacement from their lands, loss of housing and destruction of agricultural crops, and other abuses such as the excessive use of force and detaining of members of the community that have opposed the construction of the Hydroelectric Project, including women and children.”

“Likewise, I express profound concern that the situation is apparently deteriorating and, given the presence of an armed police force in the area, the situation could worsen and place the lives and physical integrity of the members of the Charco la Pava community at risk. Also, I have received information that the company is moving forward without the control or supervision of government authorities. In light of this situation, I urgently appeal to Panama to adopt all the necessary measures to: (1) protect the rights and freedoms of the affected indigenous communities, (2) seriously investigate the alleged violations of human rights and punish
those responsible, (3) repair any damage caused to the victims, and (4) adopt the necessary measures to prevent the reoccurrence of similar acts.”

“I also insist that political, social, and business actors consider the recommendations made by various institutions in charge of ensuring compliance with human rights obligations. In this context, I would like to call the attention of the Government to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, adopted on 13 September 2007, and in particular article 10, which states that ‘Indigenous peoples shall not be forcibly removed from their lands or territories. No relocation shall take place without the free, prior and informed consent of the indigenous peoples concerned and after agreement on just and fair compensation and, where possible, with the option of return.'”

At the end of 2007, the AES Changuinola Company initiated construction of the Hydroelectric Project CHAN 75, which could result in the complete flooding of the indigenous Charco la Pava community and other neighboring indigenous communities, without obtaining the informed consent of the affected communities, in accordance with international standards.

On 8 April 2008 and 3 June 2008, the Special Rapporteur sent urgent appeals to the Government of Panama about the situation in Charco la Pava. The Special Rapporteur regrets not having received an answer from the Government of Panama to the questions and concerns expressed in those communications.

On March 26, 2008, the Human Rights Council appointed Professor James Anaya as the new Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people for an initial period of three years.  Mr. Anaya is the James J. Lenoir Professor of Human Rights Law and Policy at the University of Arizona, College of Law in the United States.

For additional information on the mandate of the Special Rapporteur, see the website: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/indigenous/rapporteur/

For OHCHR media requests, please contact OHCHR-Media Unit, tel: +41 22917 93 83/ +41.78.826.3552, +41.22.917 9602, email: press-info@ohchr.org.

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http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=27640&Cr=Indigenous&Cr1=

UN rights officials call on countries to back declaration on indigenous peoples

http://www.un.org/News/dh/photos/2008/04-01-hcr-panama.jpg

Colombian indigenous children in jungle settlements in Panama

8 August 2008 – Two senior United Nations human rights officials called today for political commitment from States and the support of the public at large to fulfil the rights of indigenous peoples around the globe, in a joint statement released on the eve of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People.

Acting UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Kyung-wha Kang and the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people. S. James Anaya, both lauded the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples last year by the General Assembly, but said that it “will not in itself change the everyday lives of the men, women and children whose rights it champions.”

“For this we need the political commitment of States, international cooperation, and the support and good will of the public at large, to create and implement a range of intensely practical programmes, designed and undertaken in consultation with indigenous peoples themselves,” they said.

The Declaration lays down minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of the world’s estimated 5,000 indigenous groups, comprising as many as 370 million people.

In a separate statement, Mr. Anaya expressed his concern at reports of arbitrary displacement and other abuses suffered by members of the Charco la Pava community, which is part of the Ngöbe indigenous community in Bocas del Toro Province in Panama, where the construction of a hydroelectric project, called CHAN 75, is taking place.

“I observe with concern the human rights violations suffered by members of the Charco la Pava community, such as arbitrary displacement from their lands, loss of housing and destruction of agricultural crops, and other abuses such as the excessive use of force and detaining of members of the community that have opposed the construction of the hydroelectric project, including women and children.”

Mr. Anaya said he was concerned that the situation was deteriorating, and that, given the presence of an armed police force in the area, the situation could worsen. He said he had information that the AES Changuinola Company was moving ahead without the control or the supervision of the government authorities.

He added that the project could result in the complete flooding of the Charco la Pava community, without obtaining their informed consent.

In another development today, the UN refugee agency said that forced displacement was devastating the lives of indigenous people in Colombia.

“There are around a million indigenous people in Colombia, belonging to more than 80 different Indian-American groups with over 60 separate languages. Nearly all of these groups have been victims of forced displacement or are threatened by it as a result of the internal armed conflict,” Ron Redmond, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), said today. Mr. Redmond added that every year between 10,000 and 20,000 indigenous people are registered by national authorities after being forced to flee from their lands, stressing that the economic, social and cultural survival of indigenous communities depends on their very strong links with their ancestral land.

“In many cases, losing their territory and moving into the entirely foreign environment of the cities threatens the very survival of the group and its individual members,” he said.

Also on the eve of the International Day, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said that indigenous peoples were especially vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

“Indigenous peoples are among the first to suffer from increasingly harsh and erratic weather conditions, and a generalized lack of empowerment to claim goods and services to which other population groups have greater access,” Regina Laub, FAO focal point for indigenous peoples, said today.

FAO stressed that indigenous peoples also had a critical role to play in supporting global adaptation to climate change.

“Indigenous communities are often the custodians of unique knowledge and skills, and the genetic and biological diversity in plant and animal production that may be vital in adapting to climate change. Approximately 80 per cent of the world’s remaining biodiversity is found within indigenous peoples’ territories,” the agency said.

Also today, the UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro said that indigenous people all over the world are stewards of an immense wealth of diversity and that their existence is crucial to sustaining development in the countries where they live.

Speaking at an event in New York to commemorate the International Day, she said the UN was firmly committed to promoting and protecting the rights of every human being – regardless of background, creed or culture.

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http://thisisoscar.blogspot.com/2008/08/un-clean-development-money-sought-for.html

07 August 2008

UN ‘clean development’ money sought for dam that threatens World Heritage Site in Panama

A new hydroelectric dam in Panama could receive funding from the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism, environmental justice and conservation groups have warned.

The Chan-75 dam is being built by a subsidiary of the Virginia-based Allied Energy Systems Corporation (AES), which has now requested carbon credit certification for the project. Yet the environmental impact could be devastating.

“The construction threatens the environment and violates the human rights of the Ngöbe indigenous tribe living in the region” says Osvaldo Jordan of the Alliance for Conservation and Development (ACD), a Panamanian environmental organisation.

The dam’s construction is currently taking place in the Palo Seco Protected Forest within the La Amistad Biosphere Reserve, in the Bocas Del Toro region of Panama. Yet the Chan 75 project does not comply with the guidelines of the World Commission on Dams. The construction threatens the La Amistad International Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site shared by Panama and Costa Rica, and part of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor. Earlier this year, BBC News reported the discovery of three new species of amphibians on the Costa Rican side of the Park, very close to the border with Panama. The dam will most likely cause the extirpation of all of the major migratory aquatic fish and shrimp species from the La Amistad, and will negatively affect populations of jaguars, tapirs, and harpy eagles.

The dam also violates the human rights of Panama’s indigenous Ngöbe population. The Panamanian environmental agency, La Autoridad Nacional del Ambiente (ANAM), approved the construction without the free, prior and informed consent of the affected Ngöbe. The dam will result in the complete relocation of more than 1,000 Ngöbe subsistence farmers, and the destruction of their unique lifestyle. AES has met Ngöbe protests in response to the construction with the use of bribery, blackmail and outright police repression, all with the intention of pressuring the Ngöbe farmers to leave their land.

“The Chan-75 case is further evidence that the CDM is being treated as a subsidy stream for environmentally destructive projects,” says Oscar Reyes of Carbon Trade Watch, a project of the Amsterdam-based Transnational Institute. “It risks a lose-lose scenario, where the people and environment of Panama are threatened by a project that would allow industries elsewhere to continue polluting.”

A factsheet on the Chan-75 project can be found here

1. In March 2008, two non-governmental organizations, La Alianza para la Conservacion y el Desarrollo (ACD) and Cultural Survival, filed a petition to the Inter-American Human Rights Commission to protect the human rights of the Ngöbe. The NGOs argue that the CDM should not be utilized to propagate human rights violations and the destruction of the world’s biological diversity in the name of clean energy.

2. In line with the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol carbon market, the CDM Executive Board is now accepting public comment on the legitimacy of the project. ACD and Cultural Survival are now requesting that comments on the project be sent to the CDM Executive Board, by emailing manja.welzel@tuev-sued.de with the heading (Changuinola, Panama – COMMENTS) before 8 Friday 8 August.

3. Hydropower is the most common form of technology in the CDM pipeline, with 828 such projects awaiting approval as of April 2008. See International Rivers, Bad Deal for the Planet http://www.internationalrivers.org/node/2826 for further details.

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