More About BNDES
Brazil’s national bank has grown dramatically in recent years, with its loans far exceeding that of the World Bank. With this scope of investment and the responsibility attached to spending immense amounts of public funds, BNDES should demonstrate a high level of accountability, safeguards, and transparency. BNDES, however, trails in the industry and its track record falls short. More
Ethnocide, the new accusation leveled against the Belo Monte hydroelectric dam, brings to light deeper underlying aspects of the conflicts and controversies unleashed by megaprojects in Brazil's Amazon rainforest.
As the investigations of operation Lava Jato have unfolded revealing massive corruption within the Brazilian dam industry, the fundamental reasons for the federal government's obsession with destructive dam projects such as Belo Monte and São Manoel are becoming increasingly clear.
Since the construction of the Belo Monte dam began, the city of Altamira has been in a state of "complete chaos in all social and public policy areas, especially health, public safety, and housing," says Antonia Melo, leader of the movement Xingu Alive Forever. "There has been rampant population growth as well as rises in drug abuse and child prostitution, among other forms of violence."
There is an urgent need to, as another Brazilian energy expert has said, ‘open up and manage a debate on the country’s energy path’, including the future contribution of hydropower. A more open and transparent decision-making process with robust, independent review would increase the political legitimacy of decisions.
Given the growing scrutiny of Brazil's dam-building boom, the Tapajós River is now a key battleground in the global debate on the true costs of our development model and its fate could determine the future of the Amazon region.
If the Belo Monte disaster set a grim paradigm for human rights and environmental protection in the Amazon, then the manic race to dam the nearby Tapajós River confirms that the Brazilian government will stop at nothing to produce energy at any and all cost.
Last Sunday the world – and likely you, our readers – took notice as powerful actions took place in over 2,000 locations around the world for the People's Climate March. Where I live in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 400 people braved pouring rain, marching for hours as we called for clean energy, not mega-dams in the Amazon.
An open letter signed by 52 NGOs working in Latin AmericaSeptember 22, 2014
As critical climate negotiations take place this week in New York, Amazon Watch joined a coalition of 52 NGOs working in Latin America to insist that large dams should not be considered a clean energy source, nor an energy solution to climate change.
"Used to blaming all of the problems and postponements of project developers on [the environmental agency] IBAMA and [indigenous agency] FUNAI, developers tend to hide their own technical incompetence behind alleged delays in environmental licensing."
One reason this dynamic has been overlooked is that earlier studies evaluated dams' economic performance by considering whether international lenders like the World Bank recovered their loans – and in most cases, they did. But the economic impact on host countries was often debilitating.