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Panel Issues Notice of Registration of Cameroon Hydropower Project

The Inspection Panel on July 25, 2022, issued a Notice of Registration for a Request for Inspection of the Cameroon Nachtigal Hydropower Project (P157734) and Hydropower Development on the Sanaga River Technical Assistance Project (P157733).

The Request was submitted on June 30, 2020, by two community members (the “Requesters”) living in the project area in Cameroon, who asked the Panel to keep their identities confidential. On July 18, 2022, another 99 people from the community and from socio-professional organizations in the project area added their names to the Request and asked IFI Synergy, a local Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) network, whose secretariat is a Cameroonian civil society organization called “Green Development Advocates” (GDA), to represent them during the Panel process. The 99 Requesters have also asked the Panel to keep their identities confidential. The Dutch NGO Both ENDS, which works to empower civil society, also supports this Request. 

The Requesters raise concern about the construction of the Nachtigal Hydropower Project — a 420 Megawatt (MW) hydropower plant located approximately 65 km north-east of Yaoundé — they claim has caused them harm. They allege that, since the start of construction on the Nachtigal power plant in 2018, the communities living and working near the Project have suffered environmental and social difficulties, including a lack of meaningful consultation; inadequate resettlement measures; loss of income-generating activities for fisherfolk, sand miners, and fishmongers; untimely and inadequate compensation for land and crops; inaccessibility to agricultural land; inadequate housing; destruction of sacred sites; loss of medicinal plants; and environmental damage. They further allege that Project activities are aggravating social problems such as theft, juvenile delinquency, commercial sex work, and provoking marital conflicts and divorces in their community. 

The Panel’s registration implies no judgment whatsoever concerning the merits of the Request. Bank management must provide the Panel with a response to the issues raised in the Request for Inspection by August, 23, 2022. After receiving the response and engaging with the relevant stakeholders, the Panel will make a recommendation to the Board of Executive Directors on whether the matter should be investigated. More