The Dutch Entrepreneurial Development Bank (FMO) has put pressure on the Panamanian government to proceed with the construction of the Barro Blanco dam. This was reported by the Dutch Newspaper ‘de Volkskrant’ on Monday the 18th of May. Construction works were suspended last February after the Panamanian environmental authority had found out that the company carrying out the construction – the Panamanian company Genisa – had violated environmental regulations and had failed to make proper arrangements with local Ngöbe communities. FMO is one of the investors in the project.
Just before being elected president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker from Luxemburg, has spoken out against ISDS. The ‘Investor to State Dispute Settlement’ would be a part of the proposed EU-US trade agreement TTIP. It would deal with conflicts between investors that feel disadvantaged and states they hold responsible. Those conflicts would not be taken to regular courts but to a special dispute settlement tribunal. Mr Juncker is clearly opposed to such a provision.
Good news from Brazil! The National Water Agency (ANA) has stopped issuing new permits for the construction of hydroelectric dams in the Brazilian Paraguay river basin, which is part of the Pantanal wetlands in South-America. The suspension will last at least until May 2020, after the publication of a comprehensive socio-economic and environmental impact assessment that the ANA started in 2016.
After five years of equivocation the European Commission has proposed a ‘roadmap’ for stepping-up EU action to address its contribution to global deforestation. Despite the escalating impact of EU trade in forest-risk commodities, regardless of repeated calls from the European Parliament for regulatory measures and contrary to the conclusions of the Commission’s own feasibility study in support of legislative intervention, the Commission has ruled-out out any new initiatives, let alone any legislative measures. The Commission’s solution to this complex problem: policy coherence.
International trade agreements often have far-reaching consequences not only for the economy of a country, but also for people and the environment. It is primarily the most vulnerable groups who suffer most from these agreements.