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“Perspectives on Latin American Issues: Mining Disaster in Brazil and Environmental Agenda in Chile,” LACS Seminar Series

Monday, April 11, 2022 at 1:00pm to 2:15pm

Stimson Hall, G01

Andressa Lanchotti

The Minas Gerais State Prosecutor’s Office actions in search for reparation for the Vale’s mining disaster in Brumadinho

On January 25, 2019, three tailings’ dams owned by Vale, a Brazilian multinational corporation which is the largest producer of iron ore and nickel in the world, located in the Córrego do Feijão mine, in the city of Brumadinho, Minas Gerais, collapsed, releasing more than 10 million m³ of tailings in the Paraopeba River, destroying the flora and fauna found along the way, and killing 270 people.

Since the disaster, the Minas Gerais State Prosecutor’s Office took several actions searching for reparation to the affected communities, to restore the disaster-affected environment and to prevent future mining disasters.  As a result of this work, the recovery of the Paraopeba hydrographic basin is currently at an advanced stage and concrete improvements were achieved in the state control system of mining tailings disposal.

Andressa Lanchotti has a bachelor’s degree in Law from the University of São Paulo, Brazil (1998), master’s degree in international environmental law from the Limoges University, France (2008) and master’s degree in Environmental Engineering from the Federal University of Ouro Preto, Brazil (2010). She holds a PhD in Fundamental Rights and Public Liberties from the University of Castilla-La Mancha, Spain (2013), and conducted postdoctoral research at the Postdoctoral Program in Democracy and Human Rights of the University of Coimbra, Portugal (2018).

Since November 1999, she is a public prosecutor working for the Minas Gerais State Prosecutor’s Office (MPMG), where she served as environmental prosecutor, handling mostly conflicts related to mining, housing and urban development and their environmental impacts. Her work includes research, mediation, negotiation, conflict resolution, identify and initiate civil and criminal complaints and prosecutions. She also served as Coordinator of the Support Center for the Environment (CAOMA) and coordinated the task forces that were created by the MPMG to mitigate the impact of the mining disasters in Brazil (2016 – 2020).

She taught courses and created the Post-Graduate Course "Environmental law and Sustainability: Theory and Practice”, offered by the Minas Gerais State Prosecutor’s Office Center of Studies and Professional Development (CEAF/MPMG) and Dom Helder Law School (2017-2018). She is also the author and co-author of books and author of several articles about environment, human rights, and sustainable development.

She is current a Humphrey Fellow at Cornell University, where her field of study is natural resources, environmental and climate change.

Pedro Rossi (Chile)

The Environmental agenda in Chile, new legislations and future challenges

Chile is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change in Latin America, with high levels of pollution and a huge water crisis. That’s why the Congress and the Ministry of Environment have been working on different legislations to improve the country’s environmental standards. Among the new laws that has been approved in the last years we can mention: the urban wetlands law, the single use plastics law, and the light pollution law. There are also some important bills waiting to become Law, like the biodiversity law bill and the framework law on Climate Change.

Chile is also in the middle of a constituent process that is going to restructure a large part of the legal order, especially in the environmental area, so it’s important to analyze not only the legislative reforms but also some of the main debates in the Constitutional Convention, because the new constitution will set the basis for the future legislation.

Pedro Rossi is a Lawyer, with a bachelor’s degree from the Pontifical Catholic University of Valparaíso, Chile (2013) He is a problem-solver professional with experience in the public sector, in areas such as environmental law, science and legislative processing.

Since 2010, he started worker as a junior advisor in the Ministry General Secretary of The Presidency, after getting his degree he worked for five years at the National Commission of Scientific and Technological Research (CONICYT), solving legal problems of researchers and centers financed by the State of Chile. Then, he returned to the Ministry of the Secretary General of the Presidency where he was in charge of the fulfillment of the legislative Government plan.

The last three years he worked as a legislative advisor in the Minister of Environment, where he was responsible of leading the environmental agenda of the Ministry at the Congress and advise the Minister and the Undersecretary. He had to coordinate, elaborate and study the bills and motions related to the top priorities of the environmental agenda. Likewise, he oversaw conducting the political debate between the Executive and Legislative branches and handling parliamentary motions within the lawmaking process of those bills.

He is current a Humphrey Fellow at Cornell University, where his field is Natural Resources, Environmental Policy and Climate Change.

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Panel Discussion


Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, Latino Studies Program, Global Learning, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Global Cornell, Global Development, C&I (Centers & Institutes)

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Leah Marx


Cornell University Humphrey Fellows from Brazil, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Chile

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