07.11.00 : Canadian Group
Wants More Dams Dismantled
By Neville Judd
VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Canada, November 7, 2000 (ENS)
After persuading authorities to approve Canada's first
large dam decommissioning, a west coast recreation group is to review
dams around the province in a bid to identify more that could be dismantled.
Mark Angelo has received the National River Conservation Award as
Canada's outstanding river conservationist of the past decade and
was also the recipient of the 1997 Minister's Environment Award. (Photo
courtesy B.C. Ministry of Environment, Land and Parks)
In March, the Outdoor Recreation Council of British Columbia (ORC)
persuaded the provincial government to decommission a dam on the Theodosia
River, north of the coastal town of Powell River. In 1956, the year
the 90 metre (292 foot) dam was built, the river thrived with 100,000
pink salmon, 50,000 chum salmon, and 10,000 coho salmon.
By last year, pinks had disappeared, and only 2,000 to 3,000 chum
returned with three dozen coho. Habitat restoration is at the heart
of today's launch of the Dam Review Project, ORC chairman Mark Angelo
"There is a need to identify those dams in the province that
are no longer useful or provide only marginal benefit," said
Angelo. "And the decommissioning or removal of some of these
structures will create some wonderful habitat restoration opportunities."
There are 2,167 licensed dams in B.C. and several hundred more smaller,
unlicensed dams built several decades ago. Most are owned privately,
or by local governments. Angelo estimated 10 percent have outlived
their usefulness and should be either decommissioned or dismantled.
"Once a dam gets to be 50 years old you have to look at the safety
aspects and whether it still serves its purpose. We need to make good
case that we would be better off environmentally, culturally, socially
and economically, by decommissioning or dismantling a dam.
"Decommissioning is a staged approach to restoring the flow of
the river. It's not always necessary to eliminate the entire structure,"
ORC represents 40 groups with a membership of 120,000 people. It plans
to enlist its members in the review project by collating information
at a local level throughout the province.
"There's no doubt that there is a lot of information at the local
level and this is the first attempt to collate that information,"
By the end of November ORC will have a website online. The site will
provide information about dam decommissioning activities and allow
the public to make submissions and give feedback about dams in their
Despite the size of the project, Angelo expects ORC will issue its
first Dam Review Project report next June, possibly listing the first
candidates for decommissioning. "We will be asking the government
to take a look and hope to get the support of NGOs [non-governmental
ORC's initiative is similar to decommissioning projects in the United
States and elsewhere in the world. Last year, two dozen dams, from
Idaho to North Carolina, were either decommissioned or dismantled.
This year, another 18 were earmarked for action.
The most significant of last year's projects was the Edwards Dam on
the Kennebec River in Maine. When the dam was breached in July 1999,
allowing the river to run free after 162 years, it marked the first
time a dam has been removed solely for environmental protection.
The deal struck on the Theodosia River involved agreement between
the provincial government and Pacifica Papers Inc., which used water
diverted by the dam to generate hydroelectric power for its paper
The company agreed that the cost benefits of diverting water for power
generation had to be weighed against environmental concerns.
The B.C. Heritage Rivers Board listed the Theodosia River as number
two on a top-10 list of the province's most endangered rivers in 1999.
It is widely felt that the dam was the main reason for the collapse
of salmon stocks in the river.
06.11.00 : David Brower,
Environmental Champion, Dies at 88
By Cat Lazaroff
BERKELEY, California, November 6, 2000 (ENS) - David Brower, a man
applauded by conservationists around the world as a true environmental
champion, died Sunday night at his home in Berkeley. Brower, 88, worked
up until his death to support issues near and dear to his heart -
including this year's closely fought presidential race.
For Full Text and Graphics Visit: http://ens-news.com
: IUCN Resolution on Protection of Asia's Major River Systems that
Flow from Tibet
International Committee of Lawyers for Tibet
October 16, 2000
China Agrees to International Resolution to Protect Asia's Rivers
A resolution to protect Asia's major river systems was adopted at
the 2nd World Conservation Congress by the World Conservation Union
(IUCN) held in Amman, Jordan, October 4 - 11th. The resolution was
sponsored by the Berkeley-based International Committee of Lawyers
for Tibet (ICLT) with co-sponsors the Sierra Club, the Wilderness
Society of Australia, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from
India, Nepal, and Vietnam. "The resolution represents an important
first step in getting the Chinese involved in cooperative environmental
efforts," said ICLT delegation chairperson D'Arcy Richardson,
"and in getting them to sit down with Tibetans to negotiate an
The resolution recognizes that overexploitation or misuse of Asia's
major river systems could negatively affect these systems as well
as the livelihoods of a significant proportion of the world's population.
It sets up a process to evaluate and recommend mechanisms for conservation
and sustainable management of these waters for the common interest
of the riparian countries.
"While the language of the resolution was weaker than what we
wanted," Richardson said, "we preserved the ability of the
Tibetans to participate thus lending legitimacy to their ownership
of the resources in Tibet. As it now stands, the environmental relationship
between China and Tibet is one of a colony where resources are extracted
and the benefits accrue to the occupier, not the local people."
The Congress brought together over 2,000 delegates from all over the
world and focused on "EcoSpace" -- the concept that environmental
issues cross national boundaries and need to be dealt with cooperatively
on an international scale.
Full text of the resolution :
The International Committee of Lawyers for Tibet advocates
self-determination for the Tibetan people. Through legal action and
education, ICLT promotes human rights, environmental protection, and
peaceful resolution of the situation in Tibet. A non-profit membership
organization, based in Berkeley, California, ICLT is supported by
attorneys, other concerned individuals, and organization. See our
IUCN Resolution on Protection of Asia's Major River Systems that Flow
SUSTAINABLE MANAGEMENT AND PROTECTION OF ASIA'S MAJOR RIVER SYSTEMS
ACKNOWLEDGING that Asia's major river systems, including their watershed
areas, support the livelihoods of a significant proportion of the
world's human population both within and across countries;
AWARE that these river systems are home to a great diversity of ecosystems
with a wealth of plant and animal life;
FURTHER AWARE that overexploitation or misuse of these river systems
and their surrounding lands may lead to habitat loss, species extinction,
soil erosion, siltation, pollution, flooding, and unstable water flows
that may threaten the integrity of these rivers;
ENCOURAGED by the recent efforts of riparian countries to address
critical issues affecting the protection of these waters, such as:
a) logging bans in the upper watersheds of the Yangtze; b) the commitment
to establish a wetlands reserve to protect the headwaters of the Yangtze,
Yellow, and Lancang (Mekong) Rivers; c) coordination by Cambodia,
Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam on Mekong River conservation; and d) NGO
[non-governmental organizations] initiatives for forest protection
in the Himalayan region;
APPLAUDING the World Conservation Union's proposed Overall Quadrennial
Programme for 2001-2004;
NOTING its orientation towards producing measurable progress in each
of its seven Key Result Areas, including ecosystem protection;
EMPHASIZING that any efforts to protect and manage these river systems
should take into account the needs of local people to maintain their
livelihood, and should involve local communities in this process in
order to be effective and sustainable;
RECALLING Resolution 19.23 (The important of community-based approaches)
adopted by the 19th Session of the General Assembly (Buenos Aires,
1994) and Recommendation 1.42 (Collaborative management for conservation)
adopted by the 1st Session of the World Conservation Congress (Montreal,
The World Conservation Congress at its 2nd Session in Amman, Jordan,
4-11 October 2000:
CALLS ON the riparian countries to utilise fully the existing co-operative
mechanisms and arrangements for conservation and sustainable management
of these important waters; and REQUESTS the Director General to:
a) Conduct a study on the necessity and feasibility of establishing
a new mechanism for conservation and sustainable management of these
waters for the common interest of the riparian countries;
b) On completion of this study to convene, if necessary, a meeting
of governments and organisations of riparian countries to discuss
the findings of the study and determine agreed appropriate follow
c) Assist in obtaining the necessary funding for activities related
to this resolution.
05.11.00 : Details on the
launch programme of the WCD final report.
from: Corli Pretorius, Programme Officer, World Commission
on Dams email@example.com
Dear Forum Members
Kindly find below more details on our launch programme until the end
of the year.
Launch and dissemination of Final Report
The official launch of Dams and Development, the WCD's final report,
will take place on November 16, 2000 at Cabot Hall, Canary Wharf,
London UK.. Thereafter we will interact with stakeholders across the
world through a series of regional events after the launch in London
(see international briefings, below).
London launch - programme: 10:00-11:15 - WCD Press conference 11:15-11:30
- Formal signing of the report by the members of the Commission 11:30-13:00
- Launch Ceremony Guest speakers Nelson Mandela - Former President,
South Africa HRH The Prince of Orange - Chairman, The Second World
Water Forum Kader Asmal - Chair, World Commission on Dams Mary Robinson
- High Commissioner, UN High Commission for Human Rights Maritta von
Bieberstein Koch-Weser - Director General, IUCN - The World Conservation
Union James Wolfensohn - President, The World Bank 13:00-14:30 - Reception/Light
Lunch 14:30-16:00- Briefing session and discussion on major findings
and recommendations of the WCD Report. This afternoon session will
allow for interaction with Commissioners and Secretariat on the major
findings and recommendations of the report. As we are holding briefing
sessions throughout the world the Commission will be unable to cover
expenses for the whole Forum to attend the launch in London. A complimentary
copy of the final report will be mailed to Forum members who are unable
to attend the launch, and we hope to see you at one of our regional
events. We intend to release the full Commission's report on our website
at 14.00 on the 16th of November and it will be available through
Earthscan publications in hard and soft cover. We have agreed with
Earthscan that the report will be available to southern non-governmental
organisations for 35% less than the usual price. We have also been
preparing a summary of the report, which will be available in 9 languages
by the end of the year. We are working to have French, Spanish, Portuguese
and German versions on our website on 16 November. Russian, Chinese,
Japanese and Hindu will follow shortly after.
Following the official launch of the report in London on 16 November,
Commissioners and staff will organise briefing sessions around the
world to bring the report to the attention of governments, private
sector, civil society and donors.
The following events are now confirmed and logistical details will
be released on our website as soon as confirmed:
(The e-mail address of the Secretariat co-ordinator is indicated for
17 November - Berlin, Germany (firstname.lastname@example.org)
17 November - New York (hosted by UNEP and WCD) (email@example.com)
18 November - Islamabad, Pakistan (firstname.lastname@example.org
20 November - Washington, USA (email@example.com
20 November - Ankara, Turkey (firstname.lastname@example.org
21 November - Colombo, Sri Lanka (email@example.com
22 November - Dakar, Senegal (firstname.lastname@example.org
23 November - Buenos Aires, Argentina (email@example.com
23 November - Pretoria, South Africa (firstname.lastname@example.org
23 November - Moscow, Russia (email@example.com
or firstname.lastname@example.org )
24 November - Bangkok, Thailand (email@example.com
24 November - Santiago, Chile (firstname.lastname@example.org
27 November - São Paulo, Brazil (email@example.com
27 November - Tokyo, Japan (firstname.lastname@example.org
30 November - Oslo, Norway (email@example.com
Further events (to be confirmed) in: Canberra, Australia (firstname.lastname@example.org
) Paris, France (email@example.com
For further information about these events, please contact myself
or the relevant Secretariat member at the offices of the WCD Secretariat.
With my best wishes
Corli Pretorius Programme Officer World Commission on Dams
Phone: +27 21 426 4000 Fax: +27 21 426 0036
: British government has not reached a decision on granting state
credits for the Ilisu Dam
by K. Observer
Answering the July 12, 2000 report issued by the International Development
Committee (IDC), the British government said it had not yet reached
a decision on granting state credits for the Ilisu Dam, and added
that it would make that decision when the project had reached the
stage in which the contract was ready to be signed.
The Tony Blair administration has given its response to the report
expressing concerns over the Ilisu Dam that was prepared by the International
Development Committee (IDC). The IDC, which is comprised of deputies
in the British parliament from the Labour Party, the Conservative
Party, and the Liberal Democratic Party, had prepared a 45-page report
dated July 12 of this year that expressed deep concerns about the
Ilisu Dam project. With this project, the Turkish government plans
to build a large dam on the Tigris River, which, among other concerns,
would result in the flooding of the historic city of Hasankeyf and
the displacement of tens of thousands of local residents. Responding
to the report, the Blair administration first commented on the recommendations
made in the report. This "special report" containing the
"thoughts of the government" was released on Monday to the
press and to concerned circles. The report dealt with the evaluations
made by the IDC concerning the government's stance towards the dam
and the method of operation of the Export Credit Guarantee Department
(ECGD), the body which guarantees credits to British investment firms
investing in the international arena.
The report containing the government's reply stated that it was not
possible to know beforehand which conditions for the granting of credits
should be demanded in "large and complex" projects such
as the Ilisu Dam and that it was therefore necessary to wait to make
such a determination until the project had reached the stage at which
the contract was ready to be signed. The report stated that the British
government had not yet reached a decision on whether or not to guarantee
the 200 million British Sterling credit which had been requested by
the Balfour Beatty firm. It repeated, meanwhile, that it was necessary
for the four preconditions to be fulfilled before the credits could
The committee's concerns are understandable
The response to the IDC report was given on behalf of the British
government by Stephen Byers, Minister of Commerce and Industry. Byers
said that they had read the July 12 IDC report "with interest"
and that they had taken the analyses made by the IDC concerning the
project under their consideration. Byers called attention to the committee's
appraisal that, "action to grant the credit was taken too early;
this export credit comprises the worst example of such application.
The Ilisu Dam has violated international standards from the very start
and continues to violate them. Therefore, the credits should not be
granted." In response to this appraisal, Byers said that "the
government understands the concerns of the committee and it agrees
that human rights, environmental, and other concerns should be stipulated
The British minister nevertheless defended the ECGD's decision to
guarantee the credit, and said, "It might not always be clear
at the beginning to the ECGD, at the first stage of appraising the
applications for large and complicated projects, what conditions must
HASANKEYF/ILISU DAM CAMPAIGN :
: Protests against Ilisu held in London
British politicians and human rights and environmental
organizations called on the British government not to support the
The Ilisu Dam was once more protested on the same day that the British
government released its response to the Ilisu Report prepared by the
parliamentary International Development Committee (IDC). A group of
deputies and representatives of environmental and human rights organizations
gathered in parliamentary square and protested the Ilisu Dam, calling
attention to the fact that the dam which is planned to be built on
the Tigris River would be "harmful to regional peace, human rights,
and the environment." A number of politicians and human rights
activists gave speeches at the meeting of about 150 protesters in
which they concentrated on the damage and environmental effects of
Those who spoke at the protest meeting were British comedian Mark
Thomas, European Parliament deputy and member of the House of Lords
Baroness Sarah Ludford, Tony Juniper, Chairman of the Kurdish Human
Rights Project (KHRP) Kerim Yildiz, and Jean Lambert, speaking on
behalf of the Greens party.
The demonstration was organized in the framework of the continuing
nation-wide campaign against the Ilisu Dam. Speaking to a crowd which
was holding up placards saying "No to Ilisu," famous British
comedian Mark Thomas called attention to the success of the nation-wide
campaign and thanked those who had given their support.
The thoughts of those in the region must be considered
Speaking on behalf of Friends of the Earth, Tony Juniper said that
the Ilisu Dam threatened peace in the region and harshly criticized
the Tony Blair government.
Kerim Yildiz, for his part, drew attention to recent behavior of the
Turkish government and, referring to the torture that had allegedly
been carried out against the Mothers for Peace who are currently incarcerated,
said, "The British government must take these into consideration
when it gives its decision." Yildiz also recalled that the number
of people who would be affected by the dam was "not 25,000 but
Speaking on behalf of the Greens party, Jean Lambert called attention
to damage to the environment that would be caused by the Ilisu Dam.
Following the demonstration in parliamentary square, a group proceeded
to the residence of the British government and delivered post cards
that had been collected in the framework of the campaign.
Meeting in Parliament
Meanwhile, a panel discussion was held the same day late in the evening
in the British Parliament. The panel discussed the Export Credit Guarantee
Department (ECGD), which guarantees state credits to British firms
investing abroad. Deputy Jenney Tonge chaired the meeting, which was
also participated in by deputy Alan Simpson and representatives of
the World Development Movement, Friends of the Earth, the Campaign
against Weapons Trade, the Kurdish Human Rights Project, Corner House,
Oxfam, and other nongovernmental organizations. The speakers at the
meeting said that the ECGD must take the factors of human rights and
the environment into consideration when deciding which credits to
27.10.00 : Troubles Ahead
for China Dam Project
The management of China's Three Gorges dam project
has announced a revision of its energy distribution plan that suggests
the scheme is headed for serious financial setbacks.
Three Gorges is expected to be the world's largest source of hydroelectric
power if it begins operations on schedule in 2003. But it's been hampered
for years by substantial budget problems, mismanagement and construction
delays. The project was originally expected to cost about $11 billion,
but recent estimates put the cost at more than $24 billion.
Environmental regulators will soon require each Chinese province to
supply 5.5 percent of its power from renewable resources. This is
most likely a means of subsidizing hydropower stations in the country's
slow-growing inland provinces, where electricity buyers are harder
to find. It's also a way to redistribute coastal wealth to China's
interior and help reduce economic disparities between regions of the
It now seems managers of the Three Gorges project are looking for
this type of support. The dam is projected to generate 18,200 megawatts
of power. About 2,000 megawatts were to be used by the western city
of Chongqing, near the dam itself, with another 12,000 megawatts destined
for provinces in central China.
According to the project's deputy director, authorities in Chongqing
have refused their entire allocation of power from the dam, citing
an existing surplus of generating capacity. Instead, those 2,000 megawatts--and
another 1,000 megawatts turned down by two central provinces--will
be diverted to energy-hungry Guangdong Province, one of China's wealthiest
There's no doubt Guangdong needs more power. The province is China's
export powerhouse, and growth in export demand accounts for part of
the phenomenal 18.6 percent rise in electricity consumption in the
first six months of 2000. Parts of Guangdong suffered shortages in
June, when a heat wave raised air-conditioning demand.
Much of western China, on the other hand, is struggling economically.
Officials in Chongqing - once part of Sichuan province, but recently
given "independent municipality" status - have already reneged
on a pledge to buy large amounts of power from the nearby Ertan dam.
This suggests Chongqing's state-owned industries are still floundering,
and that electricity demand has grown more slowly than expected.
Beijing's leaders must be fuming at the situation's irony. Chongqing's
political profile was raised as a sweetener for local officials, who
opposed the Three Gorges dam on the grounds it would interfere with
the city's port traffic. Now that the project is having trouble finding
buyers for its electricity, the promotion has given Chongqing the
leverage to walk away from an unfavorable marketing arrangement.
Chongqing's successful showdown with the center may reflect the newfound
clout of western officials, but the cost to China may be very high.
Sending Three Gorges power to Guangdong is probably not a sound alternative
to selling it locally. Transmission losses are bound to be enormous:
the distance between Guangzhou and the main dam site, near Yichang
in Hubei province, is some 650 miles.
By contrast, Hong Kong lies just across the border from Guangdong
and already enjoys a surplus of power, thanks to archaic utility regulations
that prohibit competition between the city's two power companies,
Hongkong Electric and CLP Holdings.
Regulators require them to maintain separate "reserve margins"
of generating capacity to meet unexpected demand peaks. Guangdong
is already buying some of Hong Kong's spare power, and a fully liberalized
electricity market would encourage it to buy even more.
But using the Three Gorges as a power source instead will mean more
revenue for the dam's developers - and that could be crucial to making
the dam project acceptable to local residents.
Efforts to relocate farmers from the area are moving very slowly,
and there are reports that much of the money set aside for compensation
payments has been skimmed off by corrupt officials. Hidden subsidies
to the hydropower sector, like last week's "green energy"
policy, perhaps should be seen not as environmental initiatives but
as an attempt by the central government to prevent public anger from