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PANAMA’S INDIGENOUS COMMUNITY REJECTS ALREADY-CONSTRUCTED DAM

10/17/2016

The Ngäbe-Bugle General Congress, the decisionmaking body of a semi-autonomous region in Panama, voted down an agreement that would have allowed the Barro Blanco hydroelectric dam to start operation. Members of the Ngäbe-Bugle General Congress argue that their former leadership lacked the authority to negotiate the agreement. The Panamanian government is currently holding meetings to formalize the rejection of the dam and intends to reinitiate negotiations on the stalled project. Under newly designated leadership, the General Congress is undertaking a community consultation project in order to inform next steps. The dam under dispute would flood a religious site, several homes, and some of the community’s most fertile lands. In addition, funded by the UN Clean Development Mechanism, the Barro Blanco dam has an “environmental seal of approval” since it will help reduce carbon emissions, which has further fueled controversy around the project. For the full story, see https://news.mongabay.com/2016/10/barro-blanco-dam-in-limbo-after-ngabe-bugle-congress-rejects-agreement/.