The National University conducted a study on social participation in the processes for hydroelectric licenses.
The investigation concluded that there are gaps in communities’ participation in the processes to grant licenses to hydroelectric projects, Portafolio reported.
The study, led by Professor Nohora León Rodríguez, established that the current licensing processes are reduced to only socializing the information, but there is no true exercise of collective construction with social participation, which are included in the environmental impact studies.
“There are gaps in the processes related to social participation and to make a decision regarding environmental licensing,” the sociologist and master’s degree in Geography, Claudia Patricia Romero, said.
Romero said that it is essential to consider this social component to grant permits in the assembly and operation process of a hydroelectric megaproject.
“It is proposed to maintain a relational approach from economic and environmental geography, which recognizes territorial dynamics and the synergistic and cumulative relationship that environmental impacts have,” the research said.
Romero said that this contributes significantly to an analysis of the viability and sustainability of hydroelectric projects, since the environmental impacts are defined as if they were a photograph (instantaneous), and not a relational, synergistic, and cumulative.
The expert said that the country should consider changes in the type of hydroelectric power generation.
“It is necessary to move from large plants with reservoirs to smaller and alternative energy generation projects, which are developed on a more local and regional scale, meeting supply needs in a more sustainable way,” Romero highlighted.
Bottom-Line: Colombia must improve the environmental licensing process, from timing to citizen participation.
Social unrest is one of the main obstacles to advancing large-scale projects in Colombia and authorities should pay attention to these studies to improve in these important issues.