Guisela Carolina Camacho Mejia
Arne Naess stipend
Tentative title: Human rights and nature conservation in hydropower projects: A case study of the Ecological Reserve “Chaparri” in Peru
Within the past decade, hydropower and mega water infrastructure have returned to the development policy and practice arena as one of the green alternatives to fossil fuel/based electricity. However, the development of hydropower projects (particularly dam building) has been criticized by the academia and environmental justice organizations for leading to social conflicts, violence, and human rights violations.
Such is the case of the ongoing social-environmental conflict that takes place in the Ecological Reserve Chaparri (Lambayeque Department, Peru). In this case, the announcement by the Regional Government of the building of a dam inside the Chaparri Reserve territory has unfolded a process of land grabbing that reached its highest point at the end of 2017 with the murder of the Lieutenant Government Jose Tarrillo by land traffickers.
In this context, the overall aim of this project is to explore how relevant actors (mainly environmental justice organizations, domestic elites, and the government) use the human rights discourse and its legal mechanisms to validate or deny the protection of biodiversity defense initiatives. To address this aim, it draws on three analytical approaches. First, the Human Rights Based-Approach as defined by the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Second, the Environmental Justice Approach in the context of the extractive imperative that prevails in Latin America. Finally, Deep Ecology as an approach to environmental ethics that focuses on the real possibility of achieving development in harmony with nature.