06.10.00 : A Milestone in
the History of Dams and Development : Commission finalises Global
Report, to be released by Nelson Mandela in London
After an intense and at times dramatic process of
reviewing the world's experience with large dams, the WCD announced
at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Amman, Jordan, that all
12 members of the Commission, representing public, private and civil
society perspectives have signed a unanimous report. The report due
to be released on November 16th will propose a new framework for decision
making in water and energy resources management.
The announcement concludes two years of worldwide
research and consultation, making the WCD the most comprehensive global
and independent assessment of dams ever undertaken. More than 45,000
large dams have been built to date which include some of the largest
infrastructure investments ever undertaken in a country. Through case
studies, peer reviews, impartial outreach, and rigorous independent
analysis the Commission has assessed their technical, financial, environmental
and social performance. Its work programme involved thousands of people
and hundreds of dams across the world, to learn the lessons of the
past and develop guidelines for future decision making.
In announcing the completion of its work the WCD has
succeeded in fulfilling a difficult mandate with a unanimous report
on time, and under budget.
The final moment of the WCD comes when it launches
the published Final Report with Nelson Mandela as patron and guest
of honour in London.
Complete pressrelease at : http://www.dams.org/press/pressrelease_63.htm
IUCN launches an ambitious freshwater programme consisting of 24 projects
worldwide at the 2nd World Conservation Congress.
The Initiative follows the growing international concerns
on freshwater resources - as expressed at the 2nd World Water Forum
last March. Forum participants and ministers from 132 countries called
for actions to avert the world water crisis. Communities around the
world already face serious shortages of fresh water, and the number
is expected to rise to thirty percent of the world's population by
It also comes at a time when IUCN's 2000 Red List
of Threatened Species signals an extremely serious deterioration in
river-dwelling species. For instance, 30 % of freshwater fish species
are currently threatened and estimates also indicate that over 800
other freshwater species are at risk of extinction. Further research
is likely to reveal an even deeper worldwide crisis in freshwater
Says Dr. Maritta von Bieberstein Koch-Weser, Director
General of IUCN: 'This Initiative fills the missing link in the water
discussions, which usually focused on the distribution of water, not
on where that water comes from. Healthy ecosystems renew our water
and provide the clean water to support all life on earth, human as
well as species'.
The 'Water and Nature Initiative' will demonstrate
how catchments and our water resources can be managed in a sustainable
way through an integrated approach. Projects will focus on protecting,
restoring and managing ecosystems that provide clean water and numerous
other valuable services to communities.
For further information, please contact Elroy Bos,
Communication Assistant, Wetlands and Water Resources Programme, Mobile
(++41) 76 339 53 36
More information at http://www.iucn.org
05.10.00 : Huge
dam proposed for Nigeria
Reference: 11181 In Tender Mambilla Hydroelectric
Power Project US$ 4,000.000 m. ( Euro 3,970.223 m. )
Country : Nigeria
Location : Mambilla Plateau, Taraba State
Sector : Power(hydro-electric power plant)
Borrower Type : Private Corporate
Concession Awarder Government of Nigeria
The project entails the construction and operation
of a $4bn, 3,600MW hydro-electric power plant on the Mambilla Plateau
in Taraba State, Nigeria. Talks were held between the Nigerian president,
officials from the power and steel ministry and Nigerian Electric
Power Authority (NEPA) and an unidentified US firm in September 2000
to sign agreements to develop the project. The move is part of the
government's emergency power programme aimed at increasing the country's
electricity generation capacity. Several agreements have already been
signed with independent power producers since June 2000 and in September
2000 the government invited consultants to bid for the role of adviser
for the privatisation of NEPA.
: Army corps postpones release of Mississippi river study
(ENS) - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will delay
for one year the completion of a controversial study of new construction
projects on the Mississippi River. The decision comes after an independent
review uncovered regulatory violations, flawed assumptions and other
problems with the seven year, multimillion dollar study. For full
text and graphics visit: For full text and graphics visit:
: China : Unrest Grows in 3 Gorges Resettlement Areas (Press advisory)
As violence grows in the Three Gorges resettlement
areas, international NGOs call for immediate action by government
and investors to address affected peoples' grievances
Reports from the areas to be flooded by the mammoth
Three Gorges Dam tell of an alarming rise in violent incidents sparked
by resentment against resettlement. Officials summoned troops to quell
On Friday, Sept 29, the South China Morning Post reported
that long-standing complaints that resettlement plans are ill-conceived,
funds inadequate and that monies allocated for this purpose have been
embezzled by corrupt officials continue to be ignored, while the date
for filling the reservoir grows ever nearer. In many cases, years
of peaceful petitioning has brought no relief, and frustrated residents
are increasingly resorting to public protests, sometimes resulting
in clashes with police or local officials. The homes of between 1.2
to 1.9 million people are to be flooded.
Reports of growing tension and violence contradict
official statements that the first stage of resettlement is proceeding
smoothly. They also demonstrate that the Chinese government's resettlement
regulations and policies, praised by the World Bank as a model for
the developing world, are often nothing but empty promises for displaced
people. In addition, they reveal the serious inadequacy of complaints
mechanisms in China, where the constitutional right to petition the
authorities for the redress of grievances generally means little in
A number of recent examples of disturbances illustrate
the seriousness of the problems in the Three Gorges area. In mid-September,
about 300 peasants from Gaoyang Township in Yunyang County attacked
officials in charge of the county Resettlement Bureau, injuring at
least one. In another protest in September, farmers hurled objects
that injured some officials, including the deputy party chief, who
was hit with a brick. Officials summoned troops to quell the violence.
Earlier this year in Gaoyang, more than 1,000 peasants staged a protest
and demanded a meeting with county >leaders to demand more equitable
compensation and access to official policy documents detailing the
terms and conditions of resettlement.
A group of 300 farmers resettled in Zhanjiang in Jiangsu
Province is returning to the Three Gorges area because each household
had received the pitiful sum of only 9,000 yuan ($1,200 dollars) to
build new houses. Last week, another group of 300 farmers sent to
Taofu state farm in Hubei Province returned to Gaoyang and assaulted
local resettlement bureau officials, accusing them of embezzling money
earmarked for the construction of their new homes.
Farmers have signed dozens of petitions to complain
that their representatives had been detained and threatened by local
officials and even charging that petitioner representatives had been
knifed by local gangsters on the orders of a local official.
These are just a few among a catalogue of incidents
resulting from severely inadequate resettlement planning, endemic
corruption and mismanagement, problems the International Rivers Network
and Human Rights in China have been warning for some years create
an explosive situation in the Three Gorges area as large numbers of
people began to be moved under the resettlement program.
For over eight years, the International Rivers Network
has been lobbying financial institutions to ensure they will not support
the project. "We call on the international community to cease involvement
in Three Gorges Dam until abuses of civil rights are addressed. By
financing the project, U.S. banks are aiding in the creation of the
most development refugees for a single project ever. Until Morgan
Stanley Dean Witter implements necessary environmental and social
policies governing core business operations, International Rivers
Network is spearheading a consumer boycott of the firm's Discover
Card and I-Choice brokerage services. Financial institutions don't
deserve our business if they don't take responsibility for their >environmental
and social impacts" said Doris Shen, IRN program officer.
Since 1995, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter's joint venture,
China International Capital Corporation based in Hong Kong, has served
as the Three Gorges Project Development Corporation's advisor on raising
overseas capital. In May 1997 and 1999, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter
>helped underwrite $830 million in bonds for the China Development
Bank (CDB). Three Gorges Dam is listed as CDB's top loan commitment.
(see www.floodwallstreet.org for more details)
Human Rights in China is disturbed at the evident
failure of the authorities at all levels to address the grievances
of people forced to move by the Three Gorges Dam. "As in so many cases,
promises made to people displaced for hydropower projects are proving
to be not worth the paper they are written onÓ said Sophia Woodman,
HRIC research director. "People whose rights are ignored have no effective
means of redress, and their efforts to organize to protect their interests
are met only with repression. This kind of approach is a recipe for
instability and unrest. In the Three Gorges, it could mean out-and-out
violence as the resettlement program advances.
We call on the Chinese government to act immediately
to ensure that the rights of people displaced by the dam are fully
respected, and to undertake serious, good faith investigation of all
complaints. We recommend that foreign investors suspend their involvement
in the Three Gorges Dam project until these problems have been satisfactorily
addressed,Ó Woodman added.
Companies that are currently involved in the project
include: GEC Alsthom of France, ABB of Switzerland and Sweden, Agra
Monenco of Canada, GE Canada, and Voith Hydro and Siemens of Germany
Financing firms involved in financing include: Morgan
Stanley Dean Witter, China International Capital Corporation, Merrill
Lynch, Salomon Smith Barney of Citigroup, Goldman, Sachs & Co., Credit
Suisse First Boston. For a complete list of foreign involvement in
Three Gorges: http://www.probeinternational.org/probeint/ThreeGorges/who.html
South China Morning Post reports:
"Anger at dam corruption Growing" http://www.scmp.com/News/ToBody.asp?Sec=China&AID=20000929033340099
> "Last Chance for the Damned" http://www.scmp.com/News/ToBody.asp?Sec=Comment&AID=20000928224300704
: Malawi switches on to controversial hydro-power project
BLANTYRE, Sept 30 (AFP) -
Malawi on Saturday officially switched on the new
but controversial 64 megawatts hydro-power project, bringing the country's
total power output to 234 megawatts.
The much-delayed 130 million dollar Kapichira hydro-project
was declared open by President Bakili Muluzi.
"The launching of the project was beset by a number
of problems," Lameck Ntchembe, project officer for Electricity supply
commission of Malawi >(ESCOM), said.
Work had been halted in 1992 after donors withdrew
all aid to Malawi to put pressure on the regime of former dictator
Kamuzu Banda into implementing human rights and democratic reforms.
The project was also delayed because the African Development
Bank pulled out of co-financing civil works, Ntchembe said.
The International Development Association (IDA), an
affliate of the World Bank, the European Investment Bank, the Commonwealth
Development Corporation (CDC) and German and Netherlands technical
agencies co-financed the project.
The Kapichira project is the fifth on the Shire river,
which flows from the vast Lake Malawi--the third largest in Africa.
Malawi, whose power supplies have in the past been
hit by drought, is negotiating to buy 50 megawatts from Mozambique's
Cahora Bassa >hydro-electric plant.
The project will cost 40 million dollars, which is
being sought from donors.
The power will be tapped from Mozambique's central
Tete province and transmitted 210 kilometres (125 miles) to Blantyre,
Malawi's commercial capital.
: Ilisu dam: Skanska drops out
According to a report in the "Financial Times" of
26 September, Skanska, the Swedish construction company, has decided
to pull out of the Ilisu consortium. According to the FT, Skanska
said the decision was taken due to unspecified negotiating problems
which were not related to the protests by environmental and human
rights groups. Yet since summer 1999, there had been signs that Skanska
was unhappy about the violation of World Bank guidelines by the Ilisu
project. As "Cumhuriyet" reported on 21 September, the Turkish secretary
of state recently ruled out any interference from foreign governments
regarding Ilisu, thus further diminishing the prospects of bringing
the dam project in line with international standards.
According to the FT, Skanska held a 24 per cent stake
in the Ilisu consortium, which is headed by Sulzer Hydro. According
to government sources, the Swedish export credit agency EKN was supposed
to contribute 7 per cent of the costs of Ilisu, or 12.5 per cent of
all funding provided by export credit agencies.
According to the FT article, the British construction
company Balfour Beatty maintained that Ilisu was not dead. Yet any
company which decides to join Ilisu consortium a this point, in full
knowledge of the social, environmental and political problems of the
project, will face a lot of NGO opposition and public criticism. So
Skanska's decision to drop out of Ilisu might well be a further nail
in the coffin of the project.
Peter Bosshard, Berne Declaration
P.O. Box 1327, 8031 Zurich, Switzerland
ph +41 1 277 70 07, fax +41 1 277 70 01,
For comments, contact also Tony Juniper at Friends
of the Earth/UK, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rivers in England and Wales Cleanest for 200 Years
LONDON, UK, September 25, 2000 (ENS)
British rivers are cleaner today than at any time
since the industrial revolution began in the eighteenth century, the
Anglo-Welsh Environment Agency reports.
Results of the latest annual river water quality survey,
plus findings reported earlier for Scotland and Northern Ireland,
show that 92 percent of UK rivers can now support fish.
The strongest areas of improvement since 1990 have
been in urban areas in northern England and the English midlands where
around half of rivers and canals have improved by one grade or more.
The net improvement, taking into account the fact
that some rivers have deteriorated over the same period, is equivalent
to upgrading 40 percent of total river and canal length in the Midlands
The positive trend is put down to government ordered
investment by water companies in better sewage treatment plus stricter
regulation and enforcement. Announcing the new water quality results
on Thursday, Environment Minister Michael Meacher said, "The billions
being invested in cleaning up our rivers are really bearing fruit.
These are the best ever water quality results and reflect the Government's
firm commitment to delivering a cleaner, better quality environment
for everyone to enjoy.
In Wales, nearly 99 per cent of rivers were classified
as good' or 'fair in 1999. Assembly Environment Secretary Sue Essex
said, "Our rivers are an asset that we must protect and improve for
future generations. As well as enhancing the Welsh landscape, they
are the source of drinking water supplies and support a rich variety
" The survey assesses only the chemical quality of
river water. Results of a more detailed five year biological survey
will be released next year. Scotland's environment minister Sarah
Boyack Friday announced an increase of UK£190m (euros 310m) in environmental
spending for the period 2002-2004. The funding increase is set to
add one quarter to total expenditure (excluding water) by 2004 compared
The largest slice of the extra money will be spent
on improving water and wastewater treatment. Extra funds will also
go to the Scottish environmental protection agency to help improve
compliance with European Union environmental directives.
: Pak Mun Report Biased, says EGAT
Anchalee Kongrut Bangkok Post September 21, 2000
The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand has
rejected outright an international report which concludes the Pak
Moon dam is not economically justifiable.
The report was prepared by the World Commission on
Dams, a group established by the World Bank and the World Conservation
"This report is unacceptable and simply biased," Egat
assistant governor Subhin Panyamag said yesterday.
"We insist that we have fulfilled all legal requirements.
We did the right thing, and it has benefitted society."
Mr Subhin accused the researchers of being biased
against the national power authority. The commission used "different
parameters" in researching and judging the merits of Pak Moon dam.
The report, released this week, said the dam, at the
confluence of the Moon and Mekong rivers in Ubon Ratchathani, was
a flop in all respects.
It failed to live up to its promises regarding power
generation, irrigation and fisheries development. It had destroyed
the Moon river's ecosystem and affected villagers' livelihoods. M.L.
Chanaphun Kridakorn, Egat deputy governor who represented the authority
in hearings arranged by commission, said the report failed to take
information supplied by Egat into account. The information was instead
included in the report's appendix, he said.
M.L. Chanaphun said he had not seen the final report,
but if its contents were as reported the power authority would seek
ways to express its objection. James Workman, the commission's spokesman,
said the report had been peer-reviewed. Egat, among others, had been
invited to comment.
"We incorporated those comments which we felt were
matters of fact and accuracy that could be independently and objectively
verified, rather than tone, language, opinion or emphasis which are
more subjective to where you stand. "It is the nature of an independent
report that not all are happy with the outcome, from either side.
But we stand firmly with confidence behind this final report."
Chayan Vaddhanaphuti, a political scientist at Chiang
Mai University and a member of the commission's research team, said
Egat should face up to reality.
He said Egat executives were themselves biased. Study
team members came from respectable backgrounds.
20.09.00 : WCD Report Says
Pak Mun Dam A Failure
Thailand-PAK MOON DAM: A FAILURE IN EVERY RESPECT,
SAYS REPORT; >>COSTLY PROJECT LEFT NOTHING BUT DAMAGE
Bangkok Post - Thailand, Sep 20, 2000
The World Commission on Dams has declared Pak Moon
dam a flop in all respects.
In a report released yesterday, it said the dam was
economically unjustifiable, caused serious damage to the ecosystem
of the Moon river, and destroyed villagers' livelihood.
The report is billed as the first independent, comprehensive
and peer-reviewed analysis of the dam in the Mekong river basin.
It confirmed previous accounts of the report leaked
to the press but disputed by the Electricity Generating Authority
of Thailand, the project developer.
Pak Moon is one of seven dams throughout the world
studied by the commission team, which examined the dams' economic
impact, their environmental consequences, social implications, the
decision-making processes and institutional structures underpinning
It was an attempt "to establish common ground in the
fiercely contested battlefield of resource development", according
to James Workman, a spokesman for the commission.
The commission was set up by the World Conservation
Union IUCN and the World Bank. On the question of predicted versus
actual benefits, cost and impact, the cost overrun between the estimated
cost of 3.88 billion baht and the actual cost of 6.507 billion baht
was not considered excessive.
However, compensation and resettlement costs increased
182% from the estimated 231.55 million baht to 1,113.1 million baht.
Compensation for loss in fisheries, unanticipated in the original
estimate, accounted for 395.6 million baht.
The actual electricity generating capacity of Pak
Moon project calculated from daily power output during 1995-98 was
only 20.81 MW compared to the estimated capacity of 150 MW. "The project
is considered not economically justifiable," the report said.
The Pak Moon project was presented as a multi-purpose
development project, but irrigation benefits of a run-of-river project
were doubtful. The fish yield expected from the 60 sq km reservoir
was 100 kg/hectares/year without fish stocking and 220 kg/ha/year
with the fish-stocking programme.
A more realistic estimate would have been around 10
kg/ha/year. The actual number of households displaced by the Pak Moon
dam was 1,700 instead of 241 as predicted as a result of declining
Of the 265 fish species recorded in the Moon-Chi watershed
before 1994, only 96 species were recorded in the upstream region.
Fish catches upstream declined by 60-80%.
The fish pass, or fish ladder, constructed after the
completion of the dam at a cost of two million baht, has been found
to have failed to help upstream fish migration.
The cost of stocking the head pond with fresh water
prawn (Macrobrachium rosenbergi) ranged between US$31,920 and US$44,240
annually (1.213-1.681 million baht at 38 baht to the dollar) between
However, because the species cannot breed in fresh
water, its stocking may not generate any income for the fishermen.
Fishing communities reported a 50-100% decline in catches and the
disappearance of many fish species.
More than 50 natural rapids were permanently submerged.
These rapids served as a habitat for a number of fish species. The
implication of the loss of rapids for fisheries was not assessed in
the project's environmental impact study.
On the question of who gained and who lost, the report
concluded "all stakeholders stand to lose, not only from a disrupted
eco-system but also from increased expenditure at mitigation efforts
that is unlikely to mitigate the losses".
The report blamed the authorities for not consulting
affected villagers in the early stages of the decision-making process,
nor making attempts to include them in decision-making on the project
or mitigation measures.
It said the project did not comply with the existing
World Bank guidelines that required a new environmental impact assessment
and appropriate impact mitigation prior to the implementation of the
Copyright © Asia Intelligence Wire
: Rivers management policy of Poland is threatening its entry into
Rivers management policy of Poland is threatening
its entry into European Union.
WWF is warning of the consequences of non-ecological
river development plans / the adjustment of Poland to European Union
environmental legislation is insufficient.
The entry of Poland into EU could be delay if it doesn't
adapt its policy to European Union environmental legislation, in particular
if it doesn't cancel two controversial river development projects.
That's what the World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF) declared during a
conference in Brussels broadcast on the Internet. The two projects
in question are a dam on the lower Weichsel and the 1.9 billion Euro
river program "Oder 2006".
Further information (in German) can be found at :
Polens Flusspolitik gefaehrdet EU-Beitritt
WWF warnt vor umweltschaedlichen Folgen von Flussbaumassnahmen
/ Anpassung an EU-Umweltgesetzgebung unzureichend Polens baldige Aufnahme
in die EU koennte sich verzoegern, falls das Land an zwei strittigen
Flussausbauprojekten festhaelt. Davor warnte die Umweltstiftung World
Wide Fund For Nature(WWF)auf einer im Internet live uebertragenen
Pressekonferenz in Bruessel.Umstritten sind ein Staudamm an der unteren
Weichsel sowie das 1,9 Mrd. Euro teure Flussprogramm "Oder 2006".
Weitere Informationen finden Sie unter: http://www.wwf.de
: The 4th International Rhine Conference
The 4th International Rhine Conference is organised
by the International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine (ICPR)
in close co-operation with the Rotterdam Municipal Port Management
he following main questions will be addressed:
- which substances in the river Rhine still create
problems for the river, the port or the North Sea environment
- which measures have to be taken to reach the goal
of the New Rhine Convention, to help restore the Rhine and the North
sea and improve sediment quality so that dredged material may be relocated
or beneficially used without adversely affecting the environment
- which will be the resulting challenges for an integrated
coastal zone management
The conference is split in two parts: a politically
oriented part on the first day (23 November 2000) and a scientifically
oriented part on the second day (24 November 2000). On this second
day generic and technical issues will be discussed in parallel theme
sessions. A poster session is planned for both days.
If you want to know more about the programme and
hotel accommodations, please surf to the internet-sites of the ICPR
(www.iksr.org) or the RMPM (www.port.rotterdam.nl).