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Senegal: A report highlights the social and environmental impacts of a coal power plant co-funded by the African Development Bank

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Article
30 October 2019

Sendou women call on the African Development Bank to uphold promises and halt coal plant amidst Climate Crisis

Author: LSD, WOMIN and Gender Alliance

Will the African Development Bank (AfDB) keep its promises to pave the way for a renewable energy future and withdraw funding and political support for the failed Sendou coal plant in Senegal, ask civil society observers? A new report, Women Stand their Ground against BIG Coal: the AfDB Sendou plant impacts on women in a time of climate crisis, highlights the deleterious effects that the Sendou coal plant has on people, particularly women, and ecosystems amidst the unfolding climate emergency in Africa. Since 2009, women fishers in Bargny, south of Dakar in Senegal, have been at the forefront of a fight against the Sendou coal power station co-funded by the public African Development Bank (AfDB), West African Development Bank (BOAD), Netherlands Development Bank (FMO) and private Compagnie Bancaire de l'Afrique de l'Ouest (CBAO). The project has already destroyed the livelihoods of more than 1,000 women fishers, undermined the health of community members, destroyed cultural heritage, and excluded local people from decision-making about their future.

Just over a month ago, African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina revealed the AfDB’s plans to scrap coal power stations across the continent and switch to renewable energy. In a speech delivered at the United Nations Climate Summit on September 23, 2019, Adesina told delegates that “…coal is the past, and renewable energy is the future. For us at the African Development Bank, we’re getting out of coal.” Yet the AfDB-funded Sendou coal plant, which began operating in 2018, will generate coal-fired power and pollutants harmful to local and global people’s health for many years to come...

This new Women Stand their Ground report employs a ground-breaking ecofeminist impact assessment framework developed by three partnering organisations, Lumière Synergie pour le Développement (LSD), WoMin African Alliance and Gender Action. By doing so, it lays bare the ecological and climate impacts of a fossil fuel energy system that continues to receive support from powerful corporations and development banks despite compelling scientific evidence that it is a key driver of climate change. The climate and ecological crisis particularly impact the majority of African women who carry primary responsibility, according to a dominant gender division of labour, for putting food on the table and taking care of ecosystems and people...

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Article
30 October 2019

Women Stand their Ground against BIG Coal: AfDB’s Sendou plant impacts on women in a time of climate crisis

Author: LSD, WOMIN and Gender Alliance

A new report, Women Stand their Ground against BIG Coal: the AfDB Sendou plant impacts on women in a time of climate crisis, highlights the harmful effects that the Sendou coal plant in Senegal has on people, particularly women, and ecosystems amidst the unfolding climate emergency across Africa.

 Since 2009, women fishers in Bargny, south of Dakar in Senegal, have been at the forefront of a fight against the Sendou coal power station co-funded by the public African Development Bank (AfDB), West African Development Bank (BOAD), Netherlands Development Bank (FMO) and private CompagnieBancaire de l'Afrique de l'Ouest (CBAO). The project has already destroyed the livelihoods of more than 1,000 women fishers, undermined the health of community members, destroyed cultural heritage, and excluded local people from decision-making about their future.

 This report employs a ground-breaking ecofeminist impact assessment framework developed by three partnering civil society organisations,Lumière Synergie pour le Développement (LSD) in Senegal, WoMin African Alliance and Gender Action. In doing so, it lays bare the impacts of a fossil fuels energy system that continues to receive support from powerful corporations and development banks despite scientific evidence that it is a key driver of climate change. The climate and ecological crises particularly impact most African women who carry primary responsibility, according to a dominant gender division of labour, for putting food on the table and taking care of ecosystems and people.

 In light of the AfDB’s stated commitment to scrap coal power stations across the continent and switch to renewable energy, this report echoes women in Sendou who are calling for all institutions – development banks, private financiers, governments and multilateral institutions – to withdraw from all dirty energy projects now.

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Report
30 October 2019

[Report]: Women stand their ground against big coal - The AfDB Sendou plant impacts on women in a time of climate crisis

Author: LSD, WOMIN and Gender Alliance

This first round of the impact assessment provided initial evidence that Sendou I, co-funded by the AfDB, West African Development Bank (BOAD), Netherlands Development Bank (FMO) and Compagnie Bancaire de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (CBAO), had compromised the livelihoods of more than 1 000 women fishers in the coastal area of Bargny, south of Dakar in Senegal...They have expressed their concerns about the threats the power plant poses to their communities’ fundamental rights and livelihoods, the high risks of pollution and its impact on people’s health, and the destruction of their communities’ cultural heritage...

The research applied an ecofeminist impact assessment framework...This research confirms the correctness of the AfDB’s 23 September 2019 announcement that it will no longer support coal investments. We provide further evidence that the AfDB must meticulously track its financing. The bank needs to guarantee that the private institutions it loans money to do not support coal projects...

On 10 August 2016, two complaints were lodged with the AfDB Compliance Review and Mediation Unit (BCRM) by Senegalese national civil society organisations...A compliance review was conducted in May 2017 by a panel of experts mandated by the AfDB’s BCRM to determine the extent to which the financing of the Sendou I project was in line with the AfDB’s environmental and social policies. The BCRM report produced in May 2018 concluded that “the Sendou Power Plant Project did not fully comply with the safeguard policies, particularly the AfDB’s Involuntary Resettlement Policy and Environmental Assessment Procedures for Private Sector Operations”...

Recommendation: as a most necessary step for accountability and transparency, the AfDB should engage in a full community consultation process which includes the Khelkom women, and not only women selected by the local authorities and the project promoters in Bangny...the AfDB should, without delay, take this minimum and necessary step: develop an adequate women’s rights – with a strong environmental lens – impact assessment and monitoring and evaluation framework for all projects it considers supporting...[Refers to Compagnie d’Electricité du Sénégal (CES), Senelec and Sococim]. 

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