Tuesday, July 30, 2013

[Human Rights] in the CDM

After this weekend’s CDM reform workshop, ECO has new hope for the CDM’s ability to address human rights.

For the first time in the history of the CDM, Parties had an open dialogue about the impacts of CDM on human rights. It is important to recall that Parties agreed to “fully respect human rights in all climate change related actions.” The review of the CDM Modalities and Procedures provides a critical opportunity for the CDM to make this a reality.

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A case in point…The Barro Blanco project is a hydroelectric dam that is currently under construction on the Tabasará River in western Panama. Once completed, the dam is projected to flood homes, schools, and religious, historical and cultural sites in Ngäbe indigenous territories, threatening the Ngäbe’s cultural heritage. In addition, the dam will transform the Tabasará River – critical to the Ngäbe’s physical, cultural, and economic survival – from a flowing river to a stagnant lake ecosystem. This will severely affect the Ngäbe’s lands and means of subsistence, and result in the forced relocation of many families.

CDM rules require investors to consult with local stakeholders and to take their comments into account during the registration process. However, the company did not consult the Ngäbe communities regarding the Barro Blanco project and its impacts. In February 2011, the Ngäbe, in collaboration with civil society groups, submitted comments to the CDM Executive Board. The comments documented the Ngäbe’s concerns, in particular the fact that the Ngäbe were not given notice of the consultation process and were never consulted. Despite concrete evidence that the Barro Blanco project violated CDM rules on stakeholder consultation, in 2011, the CDM Executive Board registered the Barro Blanco as a CDM project.

Now that Barro Blanco has been registered, there is no process that allows the Ngäbe to raise their concerns regarding the project’s social and environmental impacts. Over the past two years, the SBI has been negotiating an appeals procedure that would allow stakeholders to challenge registration decisions under the CDM. However, ECO is dismayed that, as discussions currently stand, this procedure would not provide a means of recourse for affected communities once a project is under construction or operational.

More than 6,500 projects are registered under the CDM, and these projects will be operational for many years to come. ECO calls on Parties to revise the CDM Modalities and Procedures to: establish international safeguards to protect human rights; strengthen requirements on how to conduct local stakeholder consultations; establish a grievance process that allows affected peoples and communities to raise concerns about harms associated with CDM projects; and develop a process to deregister projects where there are violations of CDM rules.

To learn more, join us at a side event on CDM and human rights TODAY at 6:30 pm in Room Solar. You will meet on Monday at 6:30 pm, wWeni Bakama, a Ngäbe activist, and other panelists who will discuss how we can integrate human rights protections in the CDM. More

Today, we are writing to ask you to sign an ACTION ALERT in support of the Barro Blanco campaign and our broader CDM advocacy efforts. We launched this petition two weeks ago, asking James Anaya, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, to recommend reforms to protect communities that are adversely affected by CDM projects, such as Barro Blanco. In astatement released at the end of his recent visit to Panama, Special Rapporteur Anaya described his visit to the Ngäbe communities and highlighted the Barro Blanco project as an example of the many large-scale development projects that threaten the rights of indigenous peoples in Panama. In the coming months, Mr. Anaya will be preparing his final report, which provides an opportunity for the Special Rapporteur to document the ways in which the existing CDM rules are inadequate to protect the rights of indigenous peoples.

by signing this alert to urge Special Rapporteur Anaya to make recommendations to the CDM and the Panamanian government, calling for both to respect human rights for development projects that generate social and environmental impacts, with particular attention to indigenous rights. Also, please share with your lists and promote via Facebook/Twitter. Our goal is to reach 1000 signatories by the end of the week.

CIEL Newsletter

July 19, 2013


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We need your help. Will you add your name and support to a letter asking James Anaya, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, to recommend reforms to protect indigenous communities in Panama?

Yesterday, Mr. Anaya began his ten-day visit to Panama. At the request of CIEL and adozen other organizations, Mr. Anaya will meet with community representatives in the Ngäbe-Buglé territory in Panama who are directly affected by the Barro Blanco hydroelectric dam. He will hear firsthand about how the Panamanian state has violated the rights of affected indigenous communities to free, prior and informed consent on a project which threatens to violate their right to traditional land and territories. When completed, the dam would flood historic and religious Ngäbe-Buglé sites and compromise the ecosystem upon which their traditional diet depends.

The Barro Blanco dam is registered under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), a carbon-market mechanism of the UN convention on climate change. The CDM allows developed countries to claim emission reductions by paying for mitigation efforts – in this case a hydroelectric dam – in developing countries. Unfortunately, the CDM has no standards for human or indigenous rights, nor does it have a way for communities that are negatively affected by CDM projects to even register complaints.

Following Mr. Anaya’s Panama trip, he will present a report on his findings of concerns related to indigenous peoples in Panama, including the human rights violations against the indigenous people affected by Barro Blanco. As Special Rapporteur and as part of his mandate, Mr. Anaya is in a unique position to give advice and recommendations to the CDM as well as other UN-related mechanisms that affect the rights of indigenous peoples.His recommendations could help to halt and prevent human rights violations