Reference: SG/E/2009/11
Received Date: 11 December 2009
Subject: Barro Blanco Hydroelectric Project
Complainant:
  • Ambientalistas from Chiriqui and Asociacin Ambientalista de Chiriqui (ASAMCI)
  • Alianza para la Conservacion y el Desarrollo (ACD)
  • Movement M-10 Tabasara
  • Coordinadora para la Defensa de Tierras y Aguas (CODETIAGUAS)
  • Asociacion Pro-Defensa de las Cuencas Hidrograficas
  • Leila Shelton-Louhi
Allegations: Negative environmental and social impact of the project; non-compliance with CDM; violation of human rights
Type: E - Environmental and social impacts of financed projects
Outcome*: Financing request dropped by the promoter
Recommendations: no
Admissibility*
Assessment*
Investigation*
Mediation*
Consultation*
Closed*
11/12/2009
8/01/2010
11/01/2011
2/08/2010

* Admissibility date reflects the date the case was officially registered. All other dates pertain to the date in which a stage was completed.

Case Description

Complaint

On 11 December 2009, Ambientalistas from Chiriqui and Asociacin Ambientalista de Chiriqui (ASAMCI), Alianza para la Conservacion y el Desarrollo (ACD), Movement M-10 Tabasara, Coordinadora para la Defensa de Tierras y Aguas (CODETIAGUAS), Asociacion Pro-Defensa de las Cuencas Hidrograficas and Leila Shelton-Louhi lodged a complaint with the EIB Complaints Mechanism (EIB-CM) whereby they challenged the financial assistance granted by the EIB to the project promoter for the Barro Blanco Hydroelectric Project. In their letter, the complainants raised concerns regarding (i) compliance with the additionality principle of the Clean Development Mechanism, (ii) alleged lack of adequate consultation and assent of indigenous communities, (iii) allegedly negative environmental and social impact of the project, and (iv) alleged conflict of interest of National Authority of Environment of the Republic of Panama.

EIB-CM Action

Following a preliminary investigation and considering the history of the previous hydroelectric power projects in the region, the EIB-CM considered appropriate to carry out an inquiry despite the fact that the contested project was still undergoing the EIB appraisal and, therefore, the governing bodies of the EIB had not yet taken a formal decision to finance the operation.

Given the persistent divergence between on one hand - the information provided by the promoter and the EIB operational services as long as the appraisal of the lending operation was carried out and – and on the other – the information provided by the complainants throughout the inquiry - the EIB-CM deemed appropriate to engage directly with the complainants and the promoter and organise an on-site visit aiming at identifying the possibility of a friendly solution between the parties of the complaint as well as at gathering evidence on the allegations concerning the environmental and social impacts of the project as well as the public consultation and prior informed consent of indigenous communities on which the EIB-CM had not yet the opportunity to form a reasoned opinion.

Conclusions

The withdrawal of the promoter’s request for financial assistance has modified the admissibility assessment carried out on the complaint at the time of its submission insofar as the contested operation is no longer considered by the EIB for financing and, therefore, falls outside of the scope of the EIB-CM. As such, article 7.11 of the Rules of Procedures of the EIB Complaints Mechanism excludes the issue of Conclusions Reports for complaints which are declared inadmissible.