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New independent scientific panel to advise on Rio Doce recovery

In an effort to support the recovery of the Rio Doce Basin and the affected communities following the failure of the Fundao Dam in 2015, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) will establish an Independent Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (ISTAP).

IUCN is one of the world’s leading scientific and conservation organisations. It has significant experience in forming and managing technical panels that provide objective, independent advice on major social and environmental challenges. The ISTAP in Brazil will advise the Renova Foundation, the organisation formed by Samarco and its shareholders BHP Billiton Brasil and Vale, to manage the remediation and compensation programs to address impacts from the dam failure.

The ISTAP will be committed to independence, transparency, accountability, and engagement. It will include a wide range of Brazilian and international specialists, including experts in ecosystem impacts; terrestrial, riverine and coastal remediation; water and waste management; and sustainable economic practices.

The ISTAP’s advice will help the Renova Foundation develop and implement an integrated, outcomes-based strategy that deploys resources to secure the best possible social and environmental outcomes.

The creation of the ISTAP is intended to help build stakeholder confidence in the Renova Foundation’s scientific assessment and management responses. Information will be based on scientific evidence and the Panel’s reports and recommendations will be publically available. Engagement with interested and affected stakeholders will be integral to the ISTAP process.

IUCN is currently seeking input on the development and detailed design of the ISTAP from relevant stakeholders, including representatives from the local communities, NGOs, government and academia in Brazil and elsewhere. Nominations for the panel’s chair have now been opened and the ISTAP is expected to start its work in mid-2017.

More information on the ISTAP Chair position can be found here.