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Movimento dos Atingidos por Barragens (Movement of People Affected by Dams, MAB)

More and more dams are stretching over Brazil’s rivers. These megaprojects, from tailings dams for mining to even hydroelectric ones, have had a profound impact on communities that live near and depend on these rivers. MAB organizes with rural peoples on a grassroots level to address the harmful effects and put forward real solutions.

Established in 1991 as an autonomous national popular movement, Movimento dos Atingidos por Barragens (Movement of People Affected by Dams, MAB) advocates for the human right to water and land, particularly for people displaced by dams and other mega-projects. The threat from increasing numbers of mega-dams has risen dramatically as the climate and energy crises have fueled the growth of so-called “clean and green” energy sources like hydro-power.

MAB’s work exposes how these projects — many of which receive carbon credits under international clean development mechanism arrangements — actually increase deforestation and methane emissions, while devastating local ecosystems and the communities connected to them. Under national and international law, communities must be fully informed about and asked in advance for consent to projects that threaten their homes, land and livelihood. Unfortunately, the reality is far different.

MAB provides organizing support to those threatened by dams — particularly low-income and Indigenous families whose lives are most impacted by dams and whose rights are regularly violated. MAB also works with families displaced by dam disasters to receive their due assistance and compensation to rebuild their lives.

MAB is building a strong resistance movement that seeks an alternative and sustainable development model that advances the energy sovereignty of the Brazilian people. This is a model in which the sustainability of the environment, culture and communities is at the center, and incorporates participatory mechanisms for civil society to discuss, build, influence and control energy policies at local, state and national levels.

As water and energy are key issues that intersect with climate change, MAB is also playing a key role in the development of a stronger international movement for climate justice. The communities most affected by climate impacts and false solutions are not the ones who have contributed the most to cause climate change, but they are the communities who have the real solutions.

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