Today, the Independent Expert Panel (IEP) issued their report, concluding the investigation of a complaint issued by Gacica General de la Comarca Ngäbe-Buglé and the Presidente General de M-10 under the Complaint Mechanism of DEG and FMO regarding the Barro Blanco hydro project in Panama. You can find the report of the IEP in both English and Spanish here: Report (UK) Informe de revision (Spanish)
The scope of work of the IEP was to review the way in which the lenders assessed the project and then monitored it against the standards to which they have committed themselves in 2011, when the credit agreement with the client was signed.
FMO wishes to express its appreciation for the efforts of the IEP and for the thorough report that has been produced. We also wish to express our appreciation to the project company subject to this complaint. At the time the loan agreement was signed, the referred mechanism was not yet in place, and so their co-operation and information sharing with the IEP has been purely on a voluntary basis. We also thank the complainants for their patience, as the complaints process has taken more time than was foreseen.
FMO is committed to extract lessons learned from the report and to remain focused on a thorough appraisal and monitoring process of environmental and social risks and impacts related to our investments. At the same time, the Management Boards of DEG and FMO wish to express their views on some of the statements made in the report and wish to comment in more detail.
You can find the management response HERE.
FMO would like to re-emphasize its appreciation for the work done by the IEP and express their commitment to make good use of the recommendations to continuously improve the way investment decisions are made and projects are executed in a sustainable manner.
At the end of the day, it is in the mandate of FMO to empower entrepreneurs in developing countries to build a better world. With their contribution to this hydropower project in Panama, the lenders but specifically the private sector partner and their project aim to deliver clean, cheap and stable energy to the people of Panama and thereby assist them in their economic growth and livelihood improvement ambitions.
The Barro Blanco project will generate 28MW of clean energy to Panama, enough to supply 50.000 households. It generates and support jobs in the region and avoids the import of 180.000 barrels of oil, thereby reducing CO2 emissions.
We fully support the dialogue table in Panama that has started, and hope that the involved parties and stakeholders will reach out to achieve a constructive dialogue.