FGV launches report about social and environmental impacts of BR-319’s resurfacing
The Human Rights and Companies Center (FGV CeDHE) at Fundação Getulio Vargas’ Sao Paulo Law School has just launched a report titled Highways and Social and Environmental Impacts: the case of BR-319. The study is part of “Promoting Transparency and Territorial Governance in the Context of Road Development in the Brazilian Amazon: the case of BR-319,” a research project funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.
Roads account for the bulk of transportation in Brazil and so highways play a significant role in the country’s economic growth. The federal government often says that road building is a strategic priority. Highway BR-319 extends for 877 km, connecting the municipalities of Porto Velho in the state of Rondônia to Manaus in the state of Amazonas. The middle stretch of BR-319, from the 250 km mark to the 655.7 km mark, has become impassable over the years due to a lack of maintenance and the local climate. A project to resurface this section of the highway was included in the government’s Investment Partnerships Program, which is designed to boost the country’s economic growth.
However, in 2015 the member states of the United Nations approved Agenda 2030 and the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which strengthened their commitment to promoting sustainable infrastructure, recognizing and increasing protection of human rights and the environment. This commitment is mirrored in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the first international instrument to establish that states and companies have shared responsibility in relation to human rights. As a result, infrastructure projects must take a preventive approach regarding adverse impacts on human rights, from planning to operation.
Because of BR-319’s length and importance, the highway’s resurfacing is highly significant in terms of social and environmental impact assessments for large projects in Brazil. FGV CeDHE’s study presents a diagnosis of whether and how protection of human rights and the environment was considered in the project to resurface BR-319. “The report provides an essential discussion about the social and environmental impacts of large infrastructure projects on regions and their people, with the Amazon as the focus of this discussion,” says Roberta Peixoto Ramos, a researcher and the coordinator of the project in question at FGV’s Sao Paulo Law School.
You can read the report, Highways and Social and Environmental Impacts: the case of BR-319, here.
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