Proposals to Democratize Energy Planning in Brazil

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A summary of proposals put forward by the Alliance in Defense of the Rivers of the Amazon in a letter to President Dilma.

1. Democratize energy planning, making it transparent and participatory by creating opportunities for debate and dialogue between government and society in decision-making processes, and by facilitating participation of social movements, NGOs and the academic community.

2. Ensure the adoption of a broad perspective in planning the energy matrix, with special attention to energy efficiency, broadening the range of alternative renewable sources: solar, wind and biomass; articulate with other policies on the strategic management of watersheds, protected areas, land development, biodiversity conservation, climate change and the rights of traditional populations.

3. Implement, on an urgent basis, the recommendations of the Special Committee of "Dam-Affected People" of the Council of Defense of Human Rights (CDDPH)

4. Ensure full respect for human rights and environmental law in the planning and licensing of hydropower, including the right of indigenous peoples to free, prior, and informed consent, pursuant to article 231 of the Federal Constitution and ILO Convention 169;

5. Definitively cancel the Belo Monte complex, considering its social, environmental and economic inviability, beginning with the immediate suspension of the project’s environmental licensing (preliminary license, partial installation license) that were approved illegally. This measure must be taken with the utmost urgency, considering the risks of an explosive social situation stemming from the imminent start of construction and other dire and irreversible ecological, social, cultural and economic consequences.

6. Review the concepts, methodologies, and tools for guiding the planning of new dams, with special attention to the concepts of dam-affected people, tools for the analysis of socio-environmental impacts, comparative analysis of alternatives (options assessment), transparency and social participation.

7. Facilitate, in a transparent and participatory manner, the definition and implementation by BNDES and other public banks of strategic guidelines for investment in the energy sector, coupled with a new policy of social and environmental safeguards based on full respect for human rights legislation and the environment.

8. Orient the Office of the Solicitor-General to immediately cease practices that are solely intended to accelerate the licensing of large dams, ensuring full recognition of Brazilian law and international agreements on human rights and environmental protection, and the legal responsibilities of the Federal Public Prosecutor and of the judiciary (federal courts, TRF1).

9. Condition the institutional behavior of Eletrobras, including as a member of consortia and Special Purpose Entities (SPE), to not allow, under any circumstances, the practice of intimidation and coercion of leaders and other members of communities and social movements in order to obtain approval for hydroelectric projects.

10. Enable independent monitoring systems of environmental and social impacts of dams and other large infrastructure which grant local people the power to monitor and secure, with autonomy, the faithful fulfillment of obligations assumed by the entrepreneurs at various stages of project licensing ;

11. Promote measures to strengthen the institutional capacity of IBAMA, including its regional offices, in order to meet their legal obligations to effectively supervise the constraints of environmental permits of dams and other large projects;

12. Ensure the effective support of participatory initiatives for local and regional development in the Amazon aimed at ensuring the quality of life of indigenous peoples, riverine families, small farmers, slave-descendant communities, and other groups both rural and urban, generating jobs and income, while respecting cultural and environmental diversity.