Brazil, BNDES and investment projects with implications in the Amazon region

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In recent years, some countries with emerging economies have become important international project funders; a quarter of these flows come from Latin America and the Caribbean. In particular, the Brazilian state Bank is the most dynamic one within the region, becoming also the main instrument for the internationalization process of their companies.

The international expansion process planned by the Brazilian State, prioritizes the South American integration through the entrenchment of UNASUR, which is developing in several fields, some more dynamic than others, such as infrastructure through the South American Infrastructure and Planning Council (COSIPLAN), mechanism that, among others, will enable Brazil become established as a regional power and, at the same time, lead the process of formation of the South American area hegemonically.

The strong dynamics of investment for the development of transport, energy and other projects has generated a variety of conflicts within the territories and communities affected by the projects, forcing the community organizations and of the civil society, to know the interwoven relationship between the projects financing, and national and international policies, finding also many barriers to access to information and many others to be heard.

In this context, several initiatives promoted by institutions and civil society organizations have been developed, with the aim, in one way or another, to have an impact on democratization and transparency of policies and practices of governments and especially of public financing organization such as the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES).

The text we present is a first exploratory attempt to obtain official or reliable information about the projects financed by the BNDES, especially for activities carried out outside Brazil and that has led us conclude that barriers to public access to such information still exist. This contrasts with the current position of the Brazilian government to defend the right of society to access to public information.

Unfortunately, the Law of Access to Public Information in Brazil, n. 12.527/2011, has failed to guarantee sufficient transparency in the BNDES activities in Latin America. Note that this lack of transparency in the approval of loans for projects not only in the Amazon region, but also in other regions, is a threat to indigenous, rural and traditional communities, to the integrity of forests as well as to the entire environment.

This situation has set limits to the reassurance of the Bank regarding the endorsement of some projects that, according to the information from secondary sources, involve their participation. This effect increases, once again, the need to guarantee that the institution actually has atransparency policy. The tables included in this report are still incomplete precisely because of confronted difficulties to obtain information from an official source.

 

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