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Red Frog Beach Tourist Complex, Panama


Description:

The Red Frog Beach project consists of the construction of a gigantic tourist complex on Bastimentos Island. In 2007, the firm sought approval from Panamas national environmental agency, ANAM, to begin phase two of its project, which would include 800 more residential units, luxury hotel facilities and a second marina. By that time, the first phase of the project was still under construction. Opponents claimed the project risks profoundly affecting Bastimentos fragile rainforest, beach and coral-reef habitats and jeopardizing the cultural heritage of the island's indigenous peoples, such as the Ngobe-Bugle, who have consistently voiced their opposition to the Red Frog Beach Club project through direct protests and petitions.

The National Environmental Authority (ANAM) approved the Environmental Impact Study (EIA) proposed by Red Frog Beach but the Supreme Court of Justice positively answered to “Centro de Incidencia Ambiental” request for the annulment of the previous EIA. The Court ordered in December 2008 a new EIA blaming ANAM for violating the national laws and International conventions signed by Panama for the protection of marine and rainforest biodiversity, but also for ignoring not only the interests of the community, but also momentous aspects of ecological impacts in the short, medium and long term that the residential and touristic works would cause. In October 2008 the first phase of the project was relaunched after 20 months of immobilization provoked by the workforce strike, coordinated by the labor union SUNTRACS.

The Supreme Court decision contained the Red Frog Beach project, shrinking it to only one marina instead of two and diminishing the number of luxury houses.

The completion of the first phase of the project took a new focus on green amenities rather than traditional tourist amenities. It was finished, including the marina, by mid-2009. Still no matters how “green” are the amenities, the immensity and energy-greedy of luxury villas, of a golf club and of a marina inevitably imbalance the precarious environmental equilibrium of the Bastimentos Island’s rainforest and coastal biodiversity.

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Red Frog Beach Tourist Complex, Panama
Country:Panama
State or province:Bocas del Toro
(municipality or city/town)Bastimentos Island
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict: 1st level:Tourism Recreation
Type of conflict: 2nd level :Tourism facilities (ski resorts, hotels, marinas)
Specific commodities:Land

Project Details and Actors

Project details:

The project covers 1500 acres (600 ha) and originally envisaged the building of 800 villas, a port for the boats and a golf course.

Project area:600
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:01/2007
Company names or state enterprises:Red Frog Beach Club Project
Oceans International
IGY Marinas from United States of America
Pillar Panama S.A. from United States of America
Relevant government actors:Ministerio de Ambiente de Panama : ANAM, Supreme Court of Justice
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Alianza Bocas - Panama, Centro de Incidencia Ambiental (Ciam) - Panama

Conflict and Mobilization

IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stageUnknown
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Forms of mobilization:Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Referendum other local consultations

Impacts of the project

Environmental ImpactsVisible: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Health ImpactsPotential: Malnutrition
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures

Outcome

Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:Despite the court victory, the project has now been approved, with a new plan which will scale back considerably the project development footprint in order to preserve and showcase the natural environment that already exists on Isla Bastimentos.

Sources and Materials

Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Law n.24 from 1995 on wildlife

Law n.41 from 1998 (general law on the environment)

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Supreme Court Decision 2008
https://www.gacetaoficial.gob.pa/pdfTemp/26350/18860.pdf

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Dendrobates pumilio frog biodiversity, 06/11/2005
http://salvemoslascostasdepanama.blogspot.it/search?q=bastimentos

Conozca el lodazal: Red Frog Beach Club, Almanaque Azul
http://www.almanaqueazul.org/red-frog-beach-club/

Seas of mud: Red Frog Beach Club, Almanaque Azul
http://www.almanaqueazul.org/red-frog-beach-club-english/

Petición de los residentes de Bahía Honda, august 2006
http://www.almanaqueazul.org/peticion-bahia-honda/

Ruling chastises ANAM, La Prensa, 7/12/2008
http://impresa.prensa.com/mas_de_la_prensa/Ruling-chastises-ANAM_0_2447005285.html

En el caso de Red Frog Beach ANAM había ignorado el interés colectivo, J. Arcia, 7/12/2008
https://burica.wordpress.com/tag/red-frog-beach/

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Isla Bastimentos Amenazada Online Album
http://picasaweb.google.com/107071904020967422374/IslaBastimentosAmenazada?gsessionid=FfaHeJ3tpwFdevpCQnC03w

Other documents

Picasa Albums Web
https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/red_frog.jpg

Bahia Honda, between Solarte island and Bastimentos island, threaten of becoming a marina by Red Frog II Almanaque Azul
https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/bahia_honda.jpg

Meta information

Contributor:Lucie Greyl
Last update11/01/2016

Images

 

Picasa Albums Web

Bahia Honda, between Solarte island and Bastimentos island, threaten of becoming a marina by Red Frog II

Almanaque Azul