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Request for Inspection: Itaparica Resettlement and Irrigation Project

​CONTACT: Eduardo G. Abbott

Telephone: (202) 458-5200

WASHINGTON, D.C. March 19, 1997--The independent Inspection Panel for the World Bank today registered a request for an investigation into the Itaparica Resettlement and Irrigation Project in Brazil. This is the seventh investigation request to be accepted for processing by the Panel.

The request has been filed by 121 individuals and an organization called Pólo Sindical do Submédio São Francisco representing people who live in the Project area who claim that their rights/interests have been directly, materially and adversely affected by the design and execution of the above-referenced project. The Request claims that the standards of living, health and economic-well being of people living in the project area have been directly and adversely affected as a result of construction of the Itaparica Hydroelectric dam-located on the São Francisco River, at the border of the Bahía and Pernambuco states-the faulty execution of the above-referenced project, and the Bank's omissions and failures in the preparation and

implementation of the project. Specifically they claim, inter alia, that after ten years of involuntary resettlement of the project area population (a) only 35% of the project's six irrigation systems have been completed, 34% are under construction and 31% are still in the design phase; (b) the Tuxá indigenous community has been resettled in the Municipality of Rodelas but are unable to grow crops, since the irrigation system promised is still under design; (c) several of the irrigation systems already constructed have serious operational and maintenance problems; (d) the delays in the installation and commissioning of the irrigation projects have contributed to an increase of violence in the resettled communities, to alcoholism and family

breakdown; (e) there is an evident deterioration-because of the poor quality of the materials utilized in construction-of some of the project's 110 agricultural settlements (Agrovilas) which include health and education infrastructure; and (f) in general, a significant proportion of the about 40,000 beneficiaries (six thousand families) are in worse social and economic conditions than before the construction of the Itaparica dam. They allege that policies and procedures of the Bank have not been observed.

Under Inspection Panel procedures Bank Management will respond to the claims made in the request no later than April 17, 1997. After the Inspection Panel receives this response, it will make a recommendation to the Bank's Executive Directors on whether or not the request should be investigated. The Executive Directors will then decide whether or not to accept or reject the Panel's recommendation.

Copies of the Notice of Registration are available at the Bank's Public Information Center

(Tel: (202) 458-5454) and on INTERNET through Inspection Panel, address: