News / 18 May 2015

Dutch FMO pushed Panama to continue construction Barro Blanco dam

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.


For many years, Both ENDS has been supporting Ngöbe communities in the area where the dam is being constructed. These communities are strongly opposed to the dam, because it threatens to inundate their homes, schools and religious sites. Moreover, the local population has not been properly consulted by the developers and investors about any adverse consequences the dam might have. Both ENDS helped the indigenous organisation M-10, which represents the affected population, to file a complaint with the FMO. After all, the bank has rules to ensure that no rights are infringed or environmental damage is caused.


Financial blow

FMO says to be aware of the social and environmental problems the dam has caused, but the report in response to the complaint has still not been released by the bank. On top of that, it now appears that FMO behind closed doors has insisted on continuing construction, because, according to the bank, to stop the project or to continue under different conditions or with another construction company, would cause serious financial losses. FMO responded to the Volkskrant report on its website.


For more information, have a look at our previous news items:


6 May 2015: Construction of Barro Blanco dam will be resumed

11 Feb 2015: Construction Barro Blanco dam finally suspended

7 May 2014: Complaint against FMO on grievance

3 March 2014:  Parliamentary questions about construction Barro Blanco dam in Panama

18 Feb 2014:  Situation tense for indigenous Ngäbe people near Barro Blanco dam

14 Feb 2014:  Filing a complaint with the FMO?

19 June 2013: Will VN-rapporteur James Anaya investigate Barro Blanco dam in Panama?


Background information on Barro Blanco can be found here.



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