50 years of the Itaipu Treaty: a landmark in Latin American Diplomacy

  • Corporate

Recognized as a global reference in bilateral agreements, the Itaipu Treaty reached its 50th anniversary on April 26. The date was celebrated with a major gathering at the Production Building of the hydroelectric plant. Brazilian and Paraguayan directors, advisors, invited authorities, and Itaipu employees participated in the event.

For the Brazilian general director, Enio Verri, the Itaipu Treaty is a symbol of cooperation between two countries and a historic milestone for Latin American diplomacy. “After studying the subject for years, I needed to come to Foz do Iguaçu to understand that the great world experience of integration is here, between Brazil and Paraguay,” he stated.

“These 50 years represent much more than a great engineering feat. They represent mutual respect and the understanding that we are partners, we build together, pay together, and will continue to evolve together for at least another 50 years,” Enio concluded.

“The Treaty represents the first real integration between two countries. Itaipu was the seed that gave rise to the process of regional integration in Latin America, showing that two countries can come together for a common interest,” said the Paraguayan general director, Manuel María Cáceres Cardozo.

During the event, the visual identity for the 50 years of the Treaty was launched, which will illustrate Itaipu’s binational institutional materials. The logo consists of five concentric circles, representing the five decades that intersect in the form of water waves, flowing in a common direction.

Part of the documentary “Two Countries, One Agreement: 50 Years of the Itaipu Treaty,” produced on the Brazilian side, was also exhibited. The documentary recovers the history, background, and key figures involved in the elaboration of the fifty-year-old document. At the end, a plaque in commemoration of the date was unveiled.

The ceremony was attended by State Ministers Alexandre Silveira (Mines and Energy), Fernando Haddad (Finance), Esther Dweck (Management and Innovation in Public Services), and Rui Costa (Civil House), all councilors of the binational entity, representing the Brazilian side. Also present was Ambassador José Marcondes de Carvalho, on behalf of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mauro Vieira.

About the Treaty

The Itaipu Treaty was signed in Brasília on April 26, 1973, by the governments of Brazil and Paraguay, after years of negotiations for the joint utilization of the hydroelectric resources of the Paraná River, in the stretch between Guaíra and Foz do Iguaçu.

The signing of the Treaty put an end to a border dispute that had lasted for more than two centuries, paving the way for the construction of what would become the largest generator of clean and renewable energy on the planet: the Itaipu dam.

One of the most important agreements preceding the Treaty was the Iguaçu Accord, signed on June 22, 1966, which provided for an equal division of the electric power produced by the future hydroelectric project.

To become valid, the Itaipu Treaty had to be approved by the congresses of both countries. The construction of the Itaipu dam began in 1975, one year after the signing of the Treaty and the establishment of the binational company (created on May 17, 1974).

Given the uniqueness of the Itaipu Treaty, it is often said that Itaipu is the result not only of mechanical, civil, and electrical engineering, essential for the construction of the dam but also of diplomatic and financial engineering, allowing the dam to be financed from the energy it generates.

The document celebrated on this date consists of 25 articles and three annexes: Annex A (statute of the binational entity), Annex B (general description of the facilities for the production of electric energy), and Annex C (establishing the financial and electricity service provision bases).

In this year 2023, with the settlement of the historical debt for the construction of the hydroelectric plant, Annex C may be revised, as provided in the text of the treaty itself. The negotiations will be conducted by the Foreign Ministries of both countries.