Now, recent dam tragedies such as Aguas da Pedra’s destruction of an Arara tribal cemetery at the Dardanelos construction site, and the subsequent occupation of the dam by 11 indigenous tribes, illustrate that no amount of greenwash can compensate for age-old malpractices in the hydro industry’s writing of dam impact assessments and the government’s granting of environmental licenses. The wrinkly irregularities of Aguas da Pedra’s impact assessment have come tragically back to the surface despite the clean sheen the project attracted.
The answer for the dam industry and its financiers is not more botox solutions like the CDM. The answer for companies is a diet of strict oversight to uncover and address their short shrift of impact analyses. The answer for BNDES is a steady schedule of exercise to strengthen the transparency of decision-making mechanisms for loan approval and adopt more comprehensive, binding, socio-environmental safeguards.
The dam industry’s aging practices need a healthy workout, not plastic surgery. The longer they wait to address their systemic symptoms, the more violent and unstable mistakes like Dardanelos may become.