News / 25 March 2013

Joint forces against Suape expansion activities

Last week Both ENDS’ Wiert Wiertsema attended the launch of Forum SUAPE in Brazil. During this second fact finding mission Wiert talked to Forum SUAPE and local residents about the social and ecological effects of the dredging activities in Suape carried out by a Dutch company.

Together we are strong

Together with a Brazilian expert Both ENDS was invited to the launch and first public meeting of Forum SUAPE at the town hall of Cabo de Santo Agostinho. Forum SUAPE is a partnership set up by various local organizations for better collaboration and to provide a permanent discussion platform for the Suape project. “The process is now well under way,” says Wiert. “It is great to see how local organizations have joined forces in Forum SUAPE. For Both ENDS this second fact finding mission is an opportunity to strengthen our ties with the various organizations to further enhance collaboration in order to create a program to strengthen the social en ecological sustainability agenda.”


Port expansion with serious social and environmental impact

What it is all about in Suape is the social and environmental impact of the expansion and deepening of the Suape port, one of the major international ports of Northeast Brazil, some 40 kilometers from Recife. Dredging activities carried about by the Dutch company Van Oord are an important part of the project. A lot was invested in the Suape port since the nineties and Van Oord was contracted to realize an open channel between the port and the ocean. Van Oord was granted a export credit insurance by Atradius DSB, a credit insurance company from the Dutch government. This means that both Atradius and Van Oord have to comply with the rules drawn up by the OECD. Atradius itself has also set criteria for the granting of export credit insurances, but it seems that these criteria are not followed. The expansion of the Suape port has profound effects on the local environment and living circumstances, but this seems not to be taken into account.


Voice of the people

“The creation of Forum SUAPE is therefore very important. Local people have to be heard. They are the ones who experience the effects of the dredging in daily life,” says Wiert. Environmental organizations, geographers, labor unions, fishermen, women’s movements and movements for landless and homeless people have joined Forum SUAPE. In the time coming up, Forum SUAPE will focus on social and ecological justice and think about alternatives for sustainable development in the Suape region.


For footage of and interviews with local s from the area around the harbour,  take a look at the video which was commissioned by Both ENDS. (Available on 'Forum Suape': Portuguese spoken, subtitles in English)


Forum SUAPE (Portuguese):


Both ENDS Suape report

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