Pressure is also on the Inter-American Development Bank to deny funding for Camisea

Enrique V. Iglesias
Inter-American Development Bank
Washington, D.C. 20577

Dear Enrique V. Iglesias,

Our organizations respectfully urge the Inter-American Development Bank to reject financing currently under consideration for all aspects of Peru's Camisea gas development project. Public funds should not be invested in support of a project that will provoke an array of insurmountable and unavoidable environmental and social impacts on vulnerable, isolated indigenous peoples within the Nahua-Kugapakori Reserve and the globally renowned primary tropical forests of the Lower Urubamba Valley and the Vilcabamba range. We
see no role for the IDB in this project in particular given that the Bank has no internationally recognized and systematic environmental and social safeguard policies in place for its Private Sector Department.

We also request that you postpone any formal consultation planned to take place during the Bank's forthcoming field visit to the project area because local communities and organizations have not been informed of the formal consultation in a timely manner. We request 1) the provision of one month's notice to local stakeholders and organizations regarding the formal consultation process; and 2) a moratorium requirement by IDB on all ongoing construction and on the ground project preparations prior to further IDB due diligence.

The location of a project of this magnitude in a place of extraordinary ecological and cultural sensitivity has provoked widespread concern among local communities. At the Congress of the Machiguenga People held on April 9-11, local indigenous communities and organizations made numerous worrying observations about the project and deficiencies in companies' practices and procedures. We reiterate the call of the settled Machiguenga and Yine indigenous communities of the area that the Camisea project should not violate their internationally recognized rights to:

· Territorial control
· An intact natural resource base
· Control over the development of their cultural and spiritual life
· Good health and a clean environment

Local indigenous communities and organizations do not foresee that these rights will be guaranteed.

In addition, in Camisea there are indigenous peoples living in voluntary isolation and without contact such as the Nanti, Nahua and Kirineri. The presence of outsiders including project workers and migrants will introduce diseases to which they have no immunity and reduce the natural resource base on which they depend for subsistence. Project impacts present a grave threat to their survival and could cause many deaths. Local organizations warn that these deaths could constitute a crime of genocide.

Based on the evidence presented in the newly released Independent Environmental and Social Assessment of the Camisea Gas Project, we the undersigned insist that public funds should not be exposed in this project considering that:

· even strict mitigation measures cannot prevent the serious long-term social, cultural, and ecological damage that will result from this project;

· it will not be possible to mitigate environmental and social risks effectively even with considerable changes to the project design, location, and scale. This is due to the poor environmental record and community relations practices of the consortia, deficiencies in the Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) and surrounding procedures, weak state oversight and the lack of independent monitoring and regulatory control;

· environmental and social impact mitigation measures proposed by project operators are inadequate.

The project consortia have failed to meet eligibility criteria for IDB private sector department funding in that they have failed to adequately prevent, control and mitigate project impacts and risks. According to the findings of the Independent Environmental and Social Assessment of the Camisea Gas Project, the Camisea project will have insurmountable and unavoidable environmental and social impacts for five principal reasons:

1. Irreversible negative impacts and deficient company and state environmental and social compliance

2. Failure to recognize induced impacts such as the control of access

3. Poor and divisive community relations practices

4. Substantial unavoidable impacts on indigenous peoples living in isolation

5. Insufficient measures to guarantee safety and health of local communities

The Independent Review establishes that this project violates World Bank environmental policies. We request a timely response on how the Inter-American Development Bank will reconcile its own environmental policies with the Camisea gas project's insurmountable and unavoidable environmental and social impacts and inadequate mitigation measures, as detailed in the Independent Review. We maintain that the approval of financing for any aspect of the Camisea gas project would violate the Inter-American Development Bank 's own environmental policies even though such policies are ad hoc and below international standards in many respects.

In light of these points, it is clear that the Inter-American Development Bank has the statutory obligation to deny financial aid to Camisea companies. Given the substantial risks in investing public money in a project that does not meet the Inter-American Development Bank's eligibility criteria on environmental and social standards, the undersigned organizations urge you to:

· Reject funding requests for the Camisea project;
· Adopt a policy not to fund fossil fuel development in ecologically and culturally sensitive regions of the Amazon, such as protected areas and areas inhabited by isolated indigenous peoples.

We eagerly anticipate your response.


Atossa Soltani, Executive Director, Amazon Watch

Jon Sohn, ECA Campaign Coordinator, Friends of the Earth International

Ilyse Hogue, Global Finance Campaigner, Rainforest Action Network

Doug Norlen, Policy Director, Pacific Environment

Amy Gray, Manager, Latin America Program, Bank Information Center

Nadia Martinez, Sustainable Energy and Economy Network, Institute for Policy Studies

Antonio Tricarico, Campagna per la riforma della Banca mondiale, Italy

Share & Comment

Related Multimedia


Yes, I will donate to protect the Amazon!

"The work you do is vital, and I am happy to support it."
– Charlotte R. A.