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Alianza por la Solidaridad v. Grupo ACS-COBRA

Case overview

Date filed 16 November 2017
Current status Concluded
Issue Environmental, FPIC abuses impact Q'eqchi indigenous
Summary of the case On November 16, 2017, the NGO Alliance for Solidarity (AxS) filed a complaint with the Spanish National Contact Point alleging that a hydroelectric project called RENACE in Alta Verapaz, Guatemala, led by the Spanish company Grupo Cobra (ACS), had caused negative environmental and human rights impacts affecting the Q'eqchi indigenous people.

The RENACE hydroelectric project consists of five subprojects that have been built on the Cahabón river in the municipality of San Pedro Carchá, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala. The Guatemalan company Corporación Multi-Inversiones (CMI) subcontracted the Spanish company Grupo Cobra (ACS) for the construction of the second, third, and fourth phases of the RENACE project. The project is expected to produce 306 mega watts of power and contribute approximately 15% of the energy consumed in Guatemala, making it the largest hydroelectric complex in Central America.

According to Alianza por la Solidaridad, the hydroelectric project has negatively impacted the surrounding environment and way of life of the Q'eqchi indigenous people. First, AxS argues that although an environmental impact study was carried out in each phase of the project, a comprehensive study has not been carried out. Asihe project consists of a series of connected subprojects, AxS believes that the cumulative impact of the hydroelectric complex must be considered. Second, AxS alleges the company did not consult the local community during the implementation of the project, violating their right to free, prior, and informed consent under International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 169 on indigenous and tribal peoples. AxS asserts that the company has a responsibility to mitigate the negative impacts of the project and promote positive impacts for the local community.
Developments/Outcome After holding meetings with the parties, the NCP concluded the case and issued a final statement noting that ACS, in its role of contractor, was not exempted from carrying out the OECD Guidelines requirements, and that it had responsibility require its local partner to also comply with them.

The NCP also recommends that ACS redress any damage that its failure to conduct adequate due diligence may have caused to the communities and that ACS collaborate with the Guatemalan judicial authorities for mitigation and remediation of those damages.
Relevant OECD Guidelines
Case keywords

NCP Information

NCP name National Contact Point Spain
NCP address Madrid, Spain
NCP website
Other NCPs involved



Company Information

Company responsible Grupo ACS-COBRA
Company address
Company website
Company in violation Grupo ACS-COBRA
Country of operations Guatemala
Other companies involved

Timeline of developments

Date Actor Action Description Document
19 December 2019 National Contact Point Spain statement NCP issues final statement download pdf (873Kb)  
5 April 2018 National Contact Point Spain accept The Spanish NCP issued a report on the acceptance of the case of AxS against Grupo Acs-Cobra  
28 February 2018 National Contact Point Spain meeting The Spanish NCP held a meeting with the representatives of the Alliance for Solidarity (AxS).  
12 February 2018 National Contact Point Spain meeting The Spanish NCP held a meeting with representatives of the Cobra Group.  
16 November 2017 Alianza por la Solidaridad (AxS) file Complaint filed with Spanish NCP  
Alianza por la Solidaridad (AxS) report  

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