PBI-Colombia accompanied CCALCP has challenged Toronto-based Brookfield’s “clean power” investments in Colombia

Published by Brent Patterson on

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On February 10, Bloomberg reported: “Brookfield Asset Management Inc. plans to raise at least $7.5 billion (all figures U.S.) for a new climate-focused fund, as the Canadian investment firm builds out an ESG [environmental, social and governance] business led by former Bank of Canada and Bank of England governor Mark Carney.”

“[Carney] joined Toronto-based Brookfield last year as vice-chairman and head of ESG and Impact Fund Investing. …The Brookfield Global Transition Fund [would] be one of the largest — if not the largest — funds in a sector that’s attracting a flood of new capital.”

The news report further notes: “There’s no path to net zero without large capital investments in clean power, said Carney [who also says] getting the carbon out of energy systems means replacing fossil fuels with solar and other renewable sources and will require $3 trillion or more a year in capital investment for decades…”

When Colombian human rights defenders Julia Figueroa and Andrea Nocove from the Luis Carlos Perez Lawyers’ Collective (CCALCP) and Ivan Madero of the Regional Corporation for the Defence of Human Rights (CREDHOS) visited Toronto in November 2019 during a Peace Brigades International advocacy tour they stopped at the office of Brookfield Assets Management on Bay Street.

In 2016 Brookfield bought a majority share (57.6 per cent) in the Colombian power generation and distribution company Isagen.

Sogamoso Dam

One of the dams Brookfield bought through its majority share in Isagen is the Sogamoso Hydroelectric Dam which is located 30 kilometres west of Bucaramanga.

Between 2009 and 2014, six activists were killed and many more were disappeared in relation to their opposition to the Sogamoso dam.

In March 2020, El Espectador published this article titled Community denounces fish and bird deaths in Barrancabermeja.

That article notes: “The fishermen of the San Silvestre spout, in Santander, denounce that since the middle of February there is a fish mortality in the place. According to them, this emergency is due to the fact that Isagen, a company in charge of the Sogamoso dam, opened the floodgates to feed the river that bears the same name.”

Piedra del Sol Dam

In 2016, CCALCP filed a challenge against the proposed Piedra del Sol hydroelectric project, which would have been situated about 100 kilometres south of Bucaramanga.

On April 20, 2018, Renewable Energy World reported: “ANLA has upheld its decision to reject the permit request for the 152-MW Piedra del Sol hydro project in Colombia, citing deficiencies in information related to the project’s impact on water supply and fragile ecosystems in northern Santander department, among other factors.”

At COP24 in Poland in 2018, then UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Victoria Tauli-Corpuz stated: “I’ve seen how renewable projects like wind farms and hydropower electric dams have been done without consultation with indigenous peoples. And in the process, indigenous peoples are expelled or worse yet, killed.”

As COP26 approaches this coming November 1-12, PBI-Canada is highlighting that while the transition to renewable energy is necessary, climate financing and “clean power” projects can lead to human rights violations and the criminalization of defenders if human rights guarantees are not included in the operative provisions of UN climate agreements.

The Bloomberg article by Jason Kelly about The Brookfield Global Transition Fund was also published in the Toronto Star.

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