Foz Côa dam at Guarda, Portugal

“The engravings cannot swim”: local communities and protest movements stop the construction of dams that would endanger the country’s cultural heritage


Description

The project of a hydroelectric power plant in the Côa Valley threats to submerge an area of 17 km2 comprising the Archaeological Park of Côa Valley.

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Basic Data
NameFoz Côa dam at Guarda, Portugal
CountryPortugal
ProvinceGuarda, Trás-os-Montes
SiteVila Nova de Foz Côa
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Water Management
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Dams and water distribution conflicts
Specific CommoditiesElectricity
Water
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsInstalled capacity of the proposed project: 163 GWh
Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Potential Affected Population7,000
Start Date1991
End Date1995
Company Names or State EnterprisesEDP - Energias de Portugal (EDP) from Portugal - Project developer
Relevant government actorsMinistério da Indústria e Energia, Ministério do Ambiente, Secretaria da Cultura, Instituto Português do Património Arquitectónico (IPPAR), UNESCO
International and Financial InstitutionsInternational Committee on Rock Art (CAR)
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersQUERCUS

Grupo de Estudo do Ordenamento do Território e Ambiente (GEOTA)

Associação para Defesa das Gravuras Rupestres do Foz Côa Movimento de Salvaguarda da Arte do Côa

Côa Vivo

Associação Juvenil Olho Vivo

Estudantes de Vila Nova de Foz Côa
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingLocal ejos
Local government/political parties
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Social movements
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationArtistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Development of a network/collective action
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
OtherLoss of cultural heritage
Outcome
Project StatusStopped
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseInstitutional changes
Strengthening of participation
Application of existing regulations
Project cancelled
Do you consider this as a success?Yes
Why? Explain briefly.The dam was not built and the historical and natural heritage was preserved, therefore the two main claims from the EJOs were fulfilled
Sources and Materials
Legislations

Decreto-Lei n.º 35/2011 de 8 de Março Ministério da Cultura, Parque Arqueológico de Vale do Côa (PAVC)

Decreto-Lei n.º 6/2013 de 6 de maio Monumento nacional - alteração da classificação do conjunto de sitios arqueologicos no vale do rio coa

References

ALMEIDA, Henrique. Arqueologia vs desenvolvimento? Sobre as margens de um rio que ecoa. Máthesis, v. 5, p. 213-235, 1996.
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GOMES, Rui T. A casa de Foz Côa: percurso de um símbolo na definição de políticas culturais em Portugal. Agora, 2013.

GONÇALVES, Maria E. O caso Foz Côa. Um laboratório de análises sociopolíticas. Edições 70: Lisboa, 272 p. 2001.

CI/FL//UC. Les gravures paléolithiques de la vallée du Côa.
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FERREIRA, Maria de Fátima; GONÇALVES, Maria Eduarda; COSTA, Ana. Conflicting values and public decision: The Foz Côa case. Ecological Economics, v. 86, p. 129-135, 2013.
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GOMES, Rui T. O caso de Foz Côa: percurso de um símbolo na definição de políticas culturais em Portugal. Agora, 2013.
[click to view]

SILVA, António J. M. A batalha do Côa. As gravuras paleolíticas do Vale do Côa. Coimbra, Mar. 1996.
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CALDWELL, Duncan. A Call to Arms to save the largest open-air assemblage of Upper Paleolithic art in Europe from being drowned NOW behind a rising dam at Foz Côa, Portugal. 2014.
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OOCITIES. Form the dam to the park. Special Côa: palaeolithic rock engravings at Vermelhosa, Côa Valley archaeological park.
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Links

CAFÉ PORTUGAL. Foz Côa – população não esquece a barragem que nunca existiu. Notícias, 28 JUL. 2010.
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AGÊNCIA LUSA. Governo pondera barragem Foz Côa como alternativa ao petróleo. RTP Notícias, 22 out. 2004.
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Fundação Côa Parque
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Media Links

ARAÚJO, Hélio (Realização). COMSOM (Produção). Foz Côa As figuras não sabem nadar. Documentário. Duração 32' 59''. 1995. Publicado a 13/03/2013
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Other Documents

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Meta Information
ContributorFrancisco Fernandes, Inês Ribeiro and Teresa Meira
Last update13/03/2015
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