In a meeting with international NGOs at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) annual meetings in Milan, Italy, President Enrique Iglesias and Senior IDB officials admitted that the Camisea gas project in Peru is problematic and controversial, as it is having negative impacts on the environment and on indigenous people.

Iglesias made it clear that the IDB loan for Camisea is not certain and acknowledged potential financial risks. He also pledged to meet with Peruvian indigenous organizations in the near future to discuss their concerns.

The meeting between NGOs and Iglesias came after the recent release of a memorandum documenting alarming deaths inside a legally recognized reserve for isolated and uncontacted indigenous peoples, where part of the project is located. The signatories contend that, in violation of international law, the Camisea project sponsors are forcing contact with these peoples. According to the memo, a preponderance of evidence suggests that this contact is causing increased deaths through the introduction of contagious diseases to which they have no immunity. IDB officials for the first time acknowledged in Milan that risks of deaths in the reserve could not be eliminated.

The Camisea gas project is a US $1.5 billion gas extraction, transportation and export project located in a remote region of the Peruvian Amazon. The pipeline that will transport the gas to the country’s coast cuts through some of the most biologically diverse tropical forest regions on earth. Most of the gas will be shipped to California.

In addition, during discussions regarding IDB safeguards for the environment and indigenous peoples, IDB Vice President Dennis Flannery stated that,”The IDB does not want to repeat the past sins of our brothers at the World Bank with the Chad-Cameroon pipeline,” acknowledging the failed implementation of safeguards at the ExxonMobil pipeline in West Africa.

In a joint statement after the meeting, representatives of Friends of the Earth, Amazon Watch and the Institute for Policy Studies stated, “President Iglesias and the IDB finally acknowledge the serious implications that Camisea could cause for the Bank. They also recognize that efforts by public financiers to improve controversial projects often look good on paper but fail on the ground. Now is the time for the IDB to reject financing for Camisea and refuse public taxpayer support for projects that pose danger to people’s lives and destroy the environment.”


Janet Lloyd, Amazon Watch, Nadia Martinez, Institute for Policy Studies, Jon Sohn, Friends of the Earth: +1 39 33 8672 7400.
In the U.S., Atossa Soltani, Amazon Watch, 202 256 9795.