Sting and indigenous leader Raoni Metyktire in 1990. (Rainforest Foundation, Sue Cunningham)

Sting and indigenous leader Raoni Metyktire in 1990. (Rainforest Foundation, Sue Cunningham)

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Rock star Sting is speaking out on behalf of indigenous people in Brazil, who feel their way of life is being threatened by a project to build the third-largest hydroelectric dam in the world, according to the BBC, here.

“This is the heart of the Amazon and what happens here affects the whole world,” he said at a news conference in Sao Paolo, where he was joined by indigenous leader Raoni Metyktire, who worked with him in a similar campaign 20 years ago.

Sting says the issue takes on new urgency in light of climate change.

“This was my intuition but now the science is backing that up, I mean substantial science is saying this is true,” he says. “We need to save this forest. It is the biggest contribution to greenhouse gases – deforestation. Way beyond industrial pollution, way beyond the burning of fossil fuel for transport, or heating.”

Chief Raoni says he doubts claims by government officials that a smaller-than-planned area will be flooded, and that indigenous areas will be protected.

“The authorities never called a meeting with us, with our leaders to explain this, to have a consultation over Belo Monte.”

The BBC report says a decision on an environmental approval for the Belo Monte dam is said to be imminent.

Gwen Florio

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This entry was posted on Monday, November 23rd, 2009 at 7:18 pm and is filed under environment, Indigenous people. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One comment

Jennifer Doherty

Belo Monte is only a small part of development-induced displacement in Amazon Region (see. the situation in Ecuador, Colombia and Peru). Many NGOs estimates that forcible “development-induced displacement and resettlement” now affects 10 million people per year. According to the World Bank an estimated 33 million people have been displaced by development projects such as dams, urban development and irrigation canals in India alone.

India is well ahead in this respect. A country with as many as over 3600 large dams within its belt can never be the exceptional case regarding displacement. The number of development induced displacement is higher than the conflict induced displacement worldwide.

Athough the exact number of development-induced displaced people (DIDPs) is difficult to know, estimates are that in the last decade 90–100 million people have been displaced by urban, irrigation and power projects alone, with the number of people displaced by urban development becoming greater than those displaced by large infrastructure projects (such as dams). DIDPs outnumber refugees, with the added problem that their plight is often more concealed.

This is what experts have termed “development-induced displacement.” According to Michael Cernea, a World Bank analyst, the causes of development-induced displacement include water supply (dams, reservoirs, irrigation); urban infrastructure; transportation (roads, highways, canals); energy (mining, power plants, oil exploration and extraction, pipelines); agricultural expansion; parks and forest reserves; and population redistribution schemes.

March 24th, 2012 at 7:38 am

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