Socio-environmental Compensation of Impacts of dams in the Brazilian Amazon: A Review of Legal and Economic Aspects of Indemnity Programs

CSF-Brazil has launched our publication "Indemnification of Hydroelectric Power Plants Projects: A Legal, Economic, and Empirical Review". The study's objective is to: 1) provide information that strengthens actions seeking fair compensation and indemnization for communities affected by dams; and information for the design of compensation programs that meets the communities' vision of the future; and 2) spread awareness of the socio-environmental impacts of large infrastructure projects in the Amazon to society.

The construction of several hydroelectric power plants in the Amazon has significantly impacted traditional populations in the region, generating negative impacts such as loss of biodiversity, a decrease in water quality and an increase in greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to planning problems in the electricity sector - which doesn't directly consider social and environmental costs when comparing it with alternative sources of energy - and the choices made to mitigate impacts, compensation processes can face serious problems in terms of design and adequacy. In Brazil, mitigation measures and compensation programs have often been ineffective and even irrelevant from a social standpoint. This is evidenced by the several lawsuits of the Public Ministry against construction companies related to this issue.

In this context, CSF-Brazil seeks to contribute to the discussion on the design of adequate compensation programs, so that affected communities are able to plan and build a future in a scenario of losses.

We conducted a literature review of theoretical and practical aspects of compensation, focusing on cases of populations affected by dams. In the first part of the report, we described cases of both success and failure of compensation programs, using examples of values and management mechanisms of these resources.

Additionally, we hope to contribute to the local and national debate on the construction of dams in the Brazilian Amazon region.

Please, click here to download our study.

Crédito de fotografia: Alejandro Burr.
Descrição da foto: Uma área na região Amazônica brasileira, local de grande beleza cénica, que poderia ser alagada caso uma UHE viesse a ser construída ao lado.