UPDATE Mo, 7.11.2011, 19:33 For immediate release

Media contacts:

Zachary Hurwitz, International Rivers +1 510 848 1155 x 303 zachary@internationalrivers.org

Oriana Rey Tanaka, Amigos da Terra-Amazônia, Brazil orianarey@amazonia.org.br

Belo Monte Dam Does Not Meet Sustainability Criteria of World’s Private Banks, Say Rights Groups

The controversial Belo Monte Dam, slated for construction in Brazil’s Amazon region, does not meet the standards of an international framework used by the world’s largest private banks to evaluate sustainability, say human rights groups in Brazil.

In a letter sent to Itaú, Banco do Brasil, Bradesco, Santander, and Caixa Econômica Federal, 150 Brazilian social and environmental organizations warned that Belo Monte developer Norte Energia, S.A. (NESA) has not complied with the Equator Principles, a set of voluntary standards created in 2003 that aid private financiers in assessing and managing social and environmental risk in project finance. As signatories of the Equator Principles, the five banks commit to not providing loans to projects where the borrower will not or is unable to comply with the Principles‘ respective social and environmental policies and procedures.

The five banks have been mentioned by the Brazilian government as possible co-financiers of the Belo Monte Dam, and at least one, Banco do Brasil, has been mentioned as the top-runner to co-finance nearly $20 billion reais that would be disbursed by the Brazilian National Development Bank (BNDES) to NESA. The Brazilian civil society groups argue that BNDES is using tax-payer funds to finance what is ultimately a costly boondoggle. In October, Credit Suisse reduced its outlook for Cemig and Light, two Brazilian electric utilities that joined NESA, stating that the project’s rate of return is far below government estimates.

“The legal violations that have accumulated throughout the planning process of the Belo Monte Dam clearly illustrate that the project does not live up to the standards of the Equator Principles. We recommend that Equator Principles banks stay away from co-financing Belo Monte, because the reputational risks associated with the project are very large,” said Zachary Hurwitz, Policy Coordinator at International Rivers, which published a risk report with Amigos da Terra-Amazônia Brasileira in early 2011 detailing the project’s history.

In order for any of the five private banks to co-finance a loan for the Belo Monte Dam, they would have to illustrate that NESA has complied with the guidelines‘ ten principles. For example, Principle 5 requires borrowers to “consult with project affected communities in a structured and culturally appropriate manner,” and to “ensure their free, prior and informed consultation and facilitate their informed participation as a means to establish whether a project has adequately incorporated affected communities’ concerns.”

However, recent evidence suggests that NESA, a project consortium composed of nearly 75% state-owned enterprises, did not hold free, prior, and informed consultations with affected indigenous communities.

In a hearing of Brazil’s Regional Federal Tribunal, judge Selene Maria de Almeida decided that three tribes who live on a 100km stretch of the Xingu River that would be dried out because of the dam— the Juruna, the Arara, and the Xikrín Kayapó— had not been properly consulted. Environmental agency IBAMA and state electric utility Eletrobras, the largest holder in NESA, only began studying the project’s impacts on tribes in 2008, three years after the Brazilian Congress had approved the project. The Brazilian Constitution mandates that developers must hold proper consultations before a development project that impacts indigenous people is approved by the Brazilian Congress. If de Almeida’s decision is upheld in court, Belo Monte would be suspended until proper consultations were held.

The warning letter also argues that the developer has not complied with Principle 4 of the Equator Principles, which requires the borrower to create an Action Plan that “implements mitigation measures, corrective actions and monitoring measures to manage the impacts and risks” in compliance with host country social and environmental regulations. An injunction brought by Carlos Castro Martins at the end of September barred NESA from beginning any work that would interfere with the natural flow of the Xingu river, after it was found that the developer had not properly assessed the risks to local fish stocks, nor planned a program to mitigate the impacts on families who make a living from fishing.

The warning letter also argues that NESA has not complied with Principle 6, which requires the borrower to create a grievance mechanism as a condition of managing the risk of Category A and B projects. The Equator Principles consider Category A projects to have significant risk, while Category B are considered to have limited risk.

The Equator Principles, last revised in 2006, are directly based on the Performance Standards of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), which were revised and strengthened in 2011. The new version of the Performance Standards includes language that protects indigenous peoples‘ right to informed consultation and participation, and, in certain cases, upholds their right to free, prior, and informed consent. The Equator Principles will also be updated in 2012, and are likely to adopt the stronger language.

For more information:


International Rivers

Amigos da Terra – Amazônia Brasileira (Portuguese)

Movimento Xingu Vivo Para Sempre (Portuguese)

More Info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equator_Principles

http://nativeamericanheritagemonth.gov/ Native American Heritage Month 2011



AMAZON WATCH BREAKING NEWS – As Peru elects a new president today, we remember the Bagua massacre 2 years ago and ask you to take action to support isolated peoples in the Murunahua Reserve. The government is considering abolishing it.

Please direct a tweet at Peru’s Indian affairs department on Twitter asking them not to abolish the reserve: Peru in shock move to abolish uncontacted tribe’s reserve http://bit.ly/lVJMzQ (via @Survival) , www.illegal-logging.info

The Belo Monte Dam (formerly known as Kararaô) is a proposed hydroelectric dam complex on the Xingu River in the state of Pará, Brazil. The planned installed capacity of the dam complex would be 11,233 megawatts (MW), which would make it the second-largest hydroelectric dam complex in Brazil and the world’s third-largest in installed capacity, behind the Three Gorges Dam in China and the Brazilian-Paraguayan Itaipu Dam. Hier…

Andritz AG is an Austrian plant engineering group headquartered in Graz. The group gets its name from the district Andritz in which it is located. Andritz employs more than 13,400 employees at 35 production and service facilities and 120 subsidiaries. In 2007, the company reported a revenue of €3.28 billion, a gross profit of €242 million and a net profit of €193 million. Hier…

Amazonas: Umstrittenes Wasserkraftwerk Belo Monte wird gebaut

Wien (OTS) – Trotz unerfüllter Auflagen wurde die endgültige Baugenehmigung für das umstrittene Wasserkraftwerk Belo Monte im Amazonas erteilt. Die entwicklungspolitischen Organisationen Südwind und die Dreikönigsaktion der Katholischen Jungschar fordern die österreichische Andritz AG auf, sich aus dem Projekt zurückzuziehen.

Nur wenige Tage vor dem Internationalen Tag der Umwelt (05.06.2011) hat die brasilianische Umweltbehörde (IBAMA) grünes Licht für den Bau des Wasserkraftwerkes Belo Monte erteilt. Das Kraftwerk am Xingu-Fluss soll das drittgrößte seiner Art weltweit werden, seine Auswirkungen auf Menschen und Umwelt sind extrem umstritten. Große Flächen des Regenwalds werden geflutet, Zehntausende von Menschen vertrieben.

Die endgültige Baugenehmigung war von IBAMA bei der Erteilung der Vorlizenz Anfang 2010 von der Erfüllung von etwa 40 Bedingungen abhängig gemacht worden. Die staatliche Indigenen-Behörde FUNAI hatte weitere 26 Auflagen erteilt. IBAMA stellte nun aber die Baugenehmigung aus, ohne die vollständige Erfüllung der Auflagen abzuwarten. Dieser Schritt wurde mit Verbesserungen am Projektplan durch das Betreiberkonsortium Norte Energia und durch die Zusage von Finanzmitteln für abfedernde ökologische und soziale Maßnahmen argumentiert. (…)



A Call for Renewable Energy in Brazil – Amazon Watch journeyed back to the Brazilian Amazon with James Cameron and this time, he brought Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The team returned to the Arara village on the threatened Big Bend of the Xingu River and was met by hundreds of villagers, the legendary Kayapo Chief Raoni, world-renowned climate scientists and local movement leaders. Their resounding message was the same: „We urge the Brazilian government stop the Belo Monte Dam and pursue truly renewable energy alternatives!“

Amazon Watch – Watch, share this video and donate today to support the last stand for the Xingu. http://www.causes.com/campaigns/Belo Monte/Xingu

Stop the Belo Monte Monster Dam

The Brazilian government is moving ahead „at any cost“ with plans to build the third-largest dam in the world and one of the Amazon’s most controversial development projects – the Belo Monte dam on the Xingu River in the state of Pará. The Belo Monte dam complex dates back to Brazil’s military dictatorship and the government has attempted to build it through various series of national investment programs including Brasil em Ação and the Program to Accelerate Growth. Original plans to dam the Xingu have been greenwashed through multiple public relations programs over the course of two decades in the face of intense national and international protest.

Belo Monte – Die Lebensader Xingu darf nicht abgeschnürt werden!

Dramatische Auswirkungen auf Menschen und Natur – Die Region „Volta Grande“ (große Schlinge) des Xingu wird durch den Bau des Kraftwerks praktisch trocken gelegt. „Belo Monte“ wird auf einer Strecke von hundert Kilometern Wasserfälle, Stromschnellen und natürliche Flussläufe zerstören und verändern. Die Nebenflüsse des Xingu werden austrocknen und die Menschen, die vom Fischfang und von kleinstrukturierter Landwirtschaft leben, werden ihrer Lebensgrundlage beraubt. Aber nicht nur sie würden durch „Belo Monte“ verlieren, sondern die gesamte Menschheit: Viele der Fisch-, Vogel- und Säugetierarten gibt es nur hier und sie würden unwiederbringlich verloren gehen.

  • Infos, Berichte und Materialien zur Solidaritätsaktion anlässlich der Verleihung des Alternativen Nobelpreises an Bischof Erwin Kräutler
  • In einem Video (9 Min.) unserer Partnerorganisation MAB (Bewegung von Staudammbetroffenen) kommen Betroffene des Projekts selbst zu Wort
  • 10-minütiger Kurzfilm zu Belo Monte von International Rivers Network. Der Text des Dokumentarfilms wird im Orginal von Hollywood-Star Sigourney Weaver gesprochen.

Auch Österreich ist involviert

Leider wird mit dem Anlagenbauer Andritz AG auch ein österreichisches Unternehmen zu den Profiteuren des Unrechtsprojekts „Belo Monte“ gehören: In einem Konsortium mit der deutschen Voith-Siemens und der französischen Alstom wird Andritz laut Ankündigung vom 14.2.2011 für rund 330 Mio. Euro Turbinen, Generatoren und andere technischer Ausrüstung liefern.

Bereits im März haben Südwind und die Dreikönigsaktion eine Email-Protestaktion gegen eine Beteiligung der Andritz AG an der Errichtung von Belo Monte gestartet, an der sich weit über 3.000 Menschen in Österreich beteiligt haben. Aus aktuellem Anlass rufen sie zur Solidarität mit den Völkern des Amazonas auf und fordern einen verantwortungsvollen Umgang mit Menschen und Umwelt.

Die Petition kann unter www.dka.at/belomonte, bzw. unter www.suedwind-agentur.at unterschrieben werden. Appellieren Sie an den Vorstand, CEO der Andritz AG die Entscheidung zu überdenken und Abstand von einer Beteiligung an ‚Belo Monte‘ zu nehmen! E-Mail-Protestaktion: Stopp dem Staudamm! Hier…



Herbert Wasserbauer, Dreikönigsaktion

Tel.: (01) 4810991 46

Mobil: 0676/88 011 – 1086

E-Mail: herbert.wasserbauer@dka.at


Christina Schröder, Südwind

Tel.: (01) 405 55 15 301

Mobil: 0676/750 77 76

E-Mail: christina.schroeder@suedwind.at


Related News: Erwin Kräutler – Right Livelihood Award





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www.culturalsurvival.org „A message from Chief Raoni, renowned leader of the Kayapó people“

Xingu River 1,230-mile long, (1979 km ), is a southeast TRIBUTARY of the Amazon River. Here…

Enormous swathes of garbage have been exposed as the waters dry up.
Rio Negro is the largest left tributary of the Amazon:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rio_Negro Amazon
The Xingu River is a southeast tributary of the Amazon River
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belo_Monte_Dam Environmental_effects

Shocking images from Amazon jungle – http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/La Niña

World Meteorological Organization – http://planetsave.com/2011/01/27/la-nina-to-continue-through-first-quarter-of-2011/

Source: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Meteorological_Organization

@nprnews: ‚Alarming‘ Amazon Droughts May Have Global Fallout | http://t.co/MECJzGC