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
For the people who once lived within and relied upon the forest for survival, industrial development such as mega-dam construction greatly impacts the natural balance, automatically altering their right to live in a healthy environment. That's why talking about human rights abuses in the Amazon requires the acknowledgement that environmental rights abuses are directly linked to human rights abuses.
"Brazil is putting these dams into the energy mix, without so much as looking at their carbon footprints," said Brent Millikin, the Brazil-based Amazon program director for International Rivers, a US environmental group. "The dams are a disaster every way you look at it."
Greenpeace called on Brazilian authorities on Tuesday to reject an environmental assessment for a hydroelectric dam on the Tapajos River in the Amazon because it was a "marketing tool" that disregarded the indigenous people living along its banks.
Recently we asked the international community to take action by urging the Brazilian environmental agency IBAMA to reject the dam-building consortium Norte Energia's request for Belo Monte's operational license. In a stunning victory for social and environmental accountability – and thanks in part to the many thousands of you that took action – it worked!
Antonia Melo is standing on her front porch. Behind her sits a room full of memories and photos. Her grandchildren wrap their arms around her legs. She speaks with strength, energy and indignation. At first, I couldn't really feel the sadness in her tone when I spoke with her, but now I can.
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.