Belo Monte Mega-Dam: The Amazon up for grabs?

14 november 2013

original version


Belo Monte is a controversial mega-dam complex on the "big bend" of the Xingu river, a tributary of the Amazon. Like other mega-projects, it is claimed that such large scale development will improve living conditions for local people, in line with the  Brazilian government's  slogan "development starts with energy".  But who benefits? And who pays the bill?

Experts say that Belo Monte will produce a mere fraction of the projected electricity, while it risks huge social and environmental impacts, breaching the rights of the local population to access fisheries and forest. Critics argue that it will entail further construction contracts across the whole region while clearing the forest for mining.

How are EU citizens implicated through investments and shares in European companies which are consortia members? What are the legal challenges and options, what are the corruption allegations, what trials have been brought to the courts, and what has happened with them? What are the alternatives to these kinds of lucrative, publically-funded, expensive, high impact, low yield prestige projects?

Find out through presentations and debate between civil society and players in the legal, political and business worlds from both sides of the Atlantic, hosted by the three Green MEPs who visited the site and stakeholders in July.



15:00 - 15:15

Welcome and Introduction

Moderator: MEP Ulrike Lunacek (Austria), Vice-President of the Greens/EFA Group

Debriefing of the Greens' visit in July 2013

15:15 - 16:45

Panel one: Who pays the price and who really benefits?

Moderator: MEP Catherine Grèze (France), Greens/EFA Coordinator for the Development committee, Member of the EuroLat Assembly


Professor Dr. Janice Muriel Cunha, Universidade Federal do Pará, biologist, specialist on fish in Amazonian rivers
Professor Dr. Francisco de Moral Hernández, Belo Monte Expert Panel, engineer and expert on Brazilian energy policy
Member of construction companies (Norte Energia, Alstom, GDF-Suez, Allianz, Munich Re, Andritz,...) (tbc)
Olivier Petitjean
, cofounder of "Observatoire des multinationales"

16:45 - 17:30

Panel two: Who can stop the machine?

Moderator: MEP Eva Joly (France), President of the Development Committee


Felicio Pontes, Ministério Público do Pará
Valérie Cabanes, International Law Lawyer, spokesman for the European Citizens' Initiative "End Ecocide in Europe"
Alfredo Pena-Vega, Sociologist, Professor-researcher at the Edgar Morin Centre/EHESS-CNRS and founder of the International Tribunal for Nature
Representative ILO (tbc)
Representative Inter American Court of Justice (tbc)

17:30 - 18:15

Panel three: Looking for alternative solutions and public participation

Moderator: MEP Ulrike Lunacek (Austria), Vice-President of the Greens/EFA Group

Antonia Melo, Movimento Xingu Vivo
Christian Russau
, GegenStrömung
Prof. Dr. Francisco del Moral Hernández
, Belo Monte Expert Panel
Iury Paulino, MAB (Movimento dos Atingidos por Barragens - Movement of People Affected by Dams), National Coordination in Altamira

18:15 - 18:30

Conclusions: Next steps - continuing the campaign

Moderator: MEP Ulrike Lunacek Austria, Vice-President of the Greens/EFA Group