Amazon Waterway: danger of dredging exposed to european allies

Gregorio Mirabal, Richard Rubio, Thomas Brosse, Robinson López and Juan Carlos Jintiach. (Photo: Jorge Agurto / Servindi) Gregorio Mirabal, Richard Rubio, Thomas Brosse, Robinson López and Juan Carlos Jintiach. (Photo: Jorge Agurto / Servindi)

Servindi, June 20, 2019. - The serious dangers of dredging the Amazonian rivers considered in the Amazon Waterway project were exposed in Bonn, Germany, before important European solidarity organizations.

The forum: The Alarming Dredging of the Amazon Rivers and its Global, National and Local Impacts, held on Tuesday, June 18 at the Gustav Streseman-Institut, in two separate times, morning and afternoon.

The event was organized by the Interethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Jungle (AIDESEP), and received the solid support of the Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA).

Thomas Brosse, director of the Climate Alliance (Klimabundnis), Andreas Wolter, Mayor of Cologne, Elke Rothkopf of the Institute of Ecology and Ethological Action (INFOE) and a spokesperson for the Foundation for Tropical Forests, among others also expressed their solidary support.

Richard Rubio Conde, vice president of AIDESEP, denounced that the project will affect 424 indigenous communities belonging to 14 indigenous peoples of the Peruvian Amazon.

"The dredging will affect the fishing areas," the food base of the Amazonian population and "will not bring benefits for the people," the Kichwa village leader affirmed.

He warned that the Peruvian government intends to make a farce of prior consultation that he described as "uninformed prior consultation" because it intends to evaluate the environmental impact study without having completed the final engineering studies (EDI).

He stated that, the project unnecessarily contemplates dredging rivers in the so-called "bad paths", but that "they are not bad paths for us or for life in the Amazonian rivers."

"The boats must adapt to the flow of the rivers and not the other way around," he said, concerned about the logic behind the dredging. "We cannot control nature, and clean the 'bad paths'," he warned.

In reference to the curves and meanders of the Amazonian rivers Rubio warned that when a river is "straightened", the water course acquires more speed and will wipe out the islands and beaches where species live.

Rubio said that, dredging is negative from any point of view and will affect Peru's commitments to the National Determined Contributions (CDN / NDC) because it will also damage the peat bogs and swamps that are large carbon sinks.

Richard Rubio regretted that the Ministry of Environment (MINAM) is silent about the destruction of the aquatic life of the Puinahua channel for the dredging business, while being responsible for the Pacaya Samiria Reserve, one of the areas that will be affected by the project.

The project is wrong and is unviable, said Rubio, who demands that the Peruvian government cancel the dredging of the Amazon Waterway project by applying the precautionary principle, as it brings more risks and dangers and no welfare.

On her part, biologist Mariana Montoya, director of WCS, explained that the Amazon is the largest aquatic ecosystem in the world and that the meanders are part of the natural dynamics of the Amazonian rivers.

She claimed that, "Thanks to them there are lagoons, lakes, peat bogs and swamps, altering the behavior of the rivers is a risk when we do not know how the Amazonian rivers behave and these changes are even more difficult to foresee in a context of climate change."

Montoya reaffirmed that there are serious gaps in study methodologies, river sediments have not been studied and the impact study is based on feasibility studies conducted years ago.

Andreas Wolter, Mayor of Koln, thanked for the information received and expressed concern about the impact of dredging on indigenous populations, particularly in the Ucayali region.

"We have an alliance with the Municipality of Yarinacocha and the FECONAU organization and we are sensitive and concerned about the climate impacts in that region."

"We have to share this information in other spaces and we are willing to support this debate in international political processes such as the COP 25 and if necessary, in transcontinental spaces," he concluded.

Finally, there was consensus to expand the Dredging-Peat Bogs-Climate debate at COP 25, demanding that it be placed on the official agenda. For this, parallel events will be held with the call to scientists, the companies involved: Sinohydro (China) and Haskoning (Netherlands) and governments such as the kingdom of Norway, Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands and England.


AIDESEP will continue its work of advocacy in the framework of the session known as "intersessional", which takes place from June 17 to 27 in Bonn, Germany.

For this, it will offer two press conferences on Wednesday, June 18 and Thursday, June 20, in the Nairobi room of the World Conference Center Bonn (WCCB).

Session 50 brings together the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA50) and the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI50).

These are two bodies in which the 193 countries of the United Nations continue discussions and negotiations that take place in every Conference of the Parties (COP).

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