During a roundtable debate with environmental experts from political parties that are participating in the upcoming national elections in Uruguay, all participants expressed their concerns regarding the contract signed between the Government and UPM, the multinational pulp and paper company based in Finland. In this controversial contract, UPM agreed to invest in a new large pulp mill only upon certain conditions and major infrastructure investments by the Government of Uruguay.

The debate was organized by Movus (the Movement for a Sustainable Uruguay), which invited representatives of all political parties that are participating in the upcoming national elections. Only 2 out of 11 did not participate, among with the ruling Frente Amplio. See below the text of the press release by Movus:

Press Release

Beyond their differences, all the environmental referents of the political parties that participated in the round table convened last week by the Movement for a Sustainable Uruguay (Movus), in the Auditorium of the University, questioned the contract signed by the national government with the multinational UPM and rejected the projected cellulose plant or demanded an independent evaluation.

The invitation of the Movus was addressed to all the political parties authorized to compete in the next national elections of October of this year: Frente Amplio, Partido Nacional, Partido Colorado, Partido Independiente, Unidad Popular, Cabildo Abierto, Partido de la Gente, Partido Verde Animalista, Partido Ecologista Radical Intransigente, Partido Digital y Partido de los Trabajadores (Broad Front, National Party, Colorado Party, Independent Party, Popular Unity, Open Cabildo, People’s Party, Green Party Animalist, Intransigent Radical Ecologist Party, Digital Party and Workers Party).

The Movus is an autonomous social movement independent of political parties and ideological or religious sectors, as well as any governmental or non-governmental institution, whether national or international. The purpose of this round table was to make a contribution to public information and democratic debate about an investment project with high economic, social and environmental impacts.

In the election year the government of the country is usually decided for the next five years, but this year there is something else that is being decided. The project of a new pulp mill of the Finnish multinational UPM can change the life of all and all not for five years but for several decades and much more as well. That is why it is essential that this issue forms part of the electoral political debate.

We summon environmental referents, who are not necessarily representatives of the whole party to which they belong, to demonstrate the novel political fact in the country that environmental issues are present throughout the political system. This is a consequence of a growing awareness in our society about the seriousness of the environmental problems in progress and those that may come.

As a general summary of the round table held, the participation of virtually all of the political parties convened was counted. In the case of the Frente Amplio, we received a note with a declaration from Espacio 567 (PVP), which was read at the beginning of the interventions in the Paraninfo of the University. We just did not have an answer to the invitation from the novel Digital Party.

We highlight the following facts as a result of the presentations made:

  • None of the panelists present had expressions of support for the UPM project and, even less, for the contract signed between the government and the Finnish company.
  • In the case of Space 567, the note sent expressed its rejection of the UPM project and its proposal to the Frente Amplio is to take a position and dialogue in this regard.
  • Cabildo Abierto did not express itself in favor or against the project, it demanded an independent evaluation and the disclosure of all the signed documents.

In short, this round table was an initiative free of partisanship and a contribution to information and public discussion of a project that involves and concerns the entire Uruguayan society. We hope and will continue to struggle so that it becomes one of the central themes of the ongoing electoral campaign this year.

You can see the speeches of all the participants in the MOVUS facebook in:  https://www.facebook.com/movus.uruguay/videos/563851160810554/