: Maroc: construction de barrages (Jdle)
colloque à Rabat cette semaine, le secrétaire d'Etat
marocain chargé de l'eau,
Abdelkbir Zahoud, a affirmé que le Maroc doit construire
50 barrages supplémentaires d'ici 20
ans et un millier de petites retenues avant 2050 afin de pallier
le manque de stockage d'eau. Le
potentiel des ressources en eau diminue, il est de 1.000 mètres
cubes (m3) par an et par habitant
contre 2.500 m3 en 1980 et ce malgré les 113 barrages déjà
existants. Le secrétaire d'Etat a
expliqué cette situation par le développement économique
et social et un plus grand accès à
l'eau potable pour 16,5 millions d'habitants. Il a estimé
que les moyens alternatifs comme le
dessalement de l'eau n'étaient pas avantageux, notamment
en termes de coûts.
: Chine : Poisoned River Shows Dark Side of China's Boom
As dead fish floated down Harbin's poisoned river and queues of
residents waited for safe water in the northern Chinese city,
top leaders met in Beijing to discuss tackling the country's "grim"
Years of promoting
economic growth at almost any price, both to tackle poverty and
ensure the stability the Communist Party believes will help it
stay in power, have sent environmental conditions plunging even
as living standards rose.
were caused by an explosion at a petrochemical plant up-river,
which spilt cancer-causing toxins into the water, but is symptomatic
of wider problems.
is dirty or vanishing -- 70 percent of its rivers are contaminated,
over a third of the country is plagued by acid rain, and in the
past 50 years it has lost more than 1,000 lakes, the official
Xinhua agency says.
are choked too. Home to seven of the world's 10 most-polluted
cities, its urban smog causes over 400,000 early deaths a year,
the International Energy Agency says.
power stations often ignore environmental rules in the hunt for
profits or market share, pumping effluent into rivers or skies,
while even those who fit equipment to process waste sometimes
leave it unused to cut costs.
equipment for too long, risking accidents from human error or
This may be
particularly tempting in the petrochemical sector, which supplies
the building blocks of everything from fertilizer to drugs, and
is racing to keep up with demand.
high and multinational firms like Germany's BASF are pouring billions
of dollars into Chinese plants.
Chinese system has its standards to follow and they argue that
these are comparable to international levels," said analyst
Victor Shum at Purvin & Gertz in Singapore.
this is true, but the question is how closely on a day-to-day
basis you follow those rules. Where you're under a lot of pressure
there may be a temptation to cut corners."
the risk of damaging spills, the petrochemical industry is one
of several energy-intensive sectors which are consuming vast amounts
of dirty-burning coal.
spread, people once content with earning more money are
now worrying about quality of life. In some cases that has led
social unrest and economic troubles Beijing is so keen to stave
hundreds of angry farmers rioted in eastern Zhejiang
province about effluent from a pharmaceutical plant they said
A top environment
official has said pollution costs China 8-15
percent of its gross domestic product.
to keep the population fed after decades of shortage
last century -- exacerbated by a lingering Maoist desire for
self-sufficiency -- are chased in an unsustainable way. "China's
of fertilisers per hectare is almost three-fold higher than the
global average ...(which) creates a large number of environmental
problems," the OECD said in a recent report.
Council, or cabinet, this week set the ambitious target
that by 2020, the country's environmental quality should have
improved significantly, and said the current situation was "grim",
also aims to quadruple GDP from 2000 levels by 2020, and
unless it can enforce sharp changes to current consumption,
construction and manufacturing habits, the economic and environmental
targets may be hard to reconcile.
Story by Emma Graham-Harrison
: Polluted River Water Heads towards Chinese City
CHINA: November 24, 2005, Reuters
- A stretch of potentially lethal polluted river water headed
towards one of China's biggest cities, Harbin, on Thursday after
an explosion at a petrochemical plant.
on Wednesday the blast had caused "major pollution"
in the Songhua River from which Harbin, capital of the northeastern
province of Heilongjiang and home to nine million people, draws
its drinking water.
Harbin city officials temporarily restored water supplies to allow
residents to stock up.
rushed to shops to stock up on food and water in a city where
winter temperatures regularly drop below minus 20 Celsius. People
crowded the airport and railway stations to leave the area, a
government said the 80 km (50 mile) stretch of polluted river
water would reach Harbin's water supply inlet later on Thursday
and flow past the city itself on Saturday.
citizens can take time to hoard as much water as possible,"
an executive from the Harbin water company was quoted as saying
by China's Xinhua news agency.
government has told Harbin residents to stay away from the river
to avoid possible exposure to airborne contaminants coming off
the water, Xinhua said.
Environmental Protection Administration said the polluted water
contained nearly 30 times more than normal levels of chemicals
with benzene, an industrial solvent and component of petrol.
"GRIM ENVIRONMENTAL SITUATION"
Premier Wen Jiabao chaired a government meeting on pollution problems
in the country.
country's environmental situation remains grim," the State
Council was quoted as saying by Xinhua.
the economy has expanded, waste of resources and energy has continued
growing, and the pressures on environmental protection are increasingly
By late on
Wednesday, feelings among Harbin residents seemed to be shifting
from panic to anxious resignation and anger. Most shops and restaurants
remained open, although business was generally slow.
Qiang, a rural migrant who works in a Harbin bathhouse, said his
employer had put him on unpaid holiday.
have to pay for drinking water ourselves. It's not cheap, but
I can afford it. But I hope this won't go on for too long,"
governor Zhang Zuoji promised to be the first person to drink
tap water when supplies were restored. "After
four days, I'll have the first drop," he said.
people usually boil tap water before drinking it, even when pollution
is not an issue.
governor of neighbouring Jilin province, site of the petrochemical
plant, visited Harbin to apologise for the pollution spill, the
Harbin Daily newspaper said.
lot of people here blame Jilin for not acting sooner after the
explosion," said Harbin resident Zhou Qicai. "There
were at least several days between the explosion and when they
issued any warnings for downstream."
environmental protection agency said on Wednesday it was worried
the pollution could affect drinking water supplies in its Khabarovsk
region, which the Songhua enters several hundred kilometres downstream
Resources Minister Yuri Trutnev said all steps would be taken
to ensure there was no health risk, the RIA Novosti news agency
so as to make sure these measures are effective, we need more
information from the Chinese. We need to more accurately know
the make-up of the pollutants," he said.
reporting by Niu Shuping, Vivi Lin and Joel Kirkhart in Beijing)
by Chris Buckley REUTERS
: Damming the World Bank
Leslie, AlterNet. Posted November 23, 2005.
Bank recognizes the countless social
and environmental problems caused by dams, but
won't let them get in the way of building more and more dams.
As the fifth
anniversary of the unveiling of the
World Commission on Dams' final report passes
this month, it's worthwhile to consider how the
Commission's progenitor, the World Bank, has abused it.
Dams and their
reservoirs are the largest
structures built by humans, and they are at the
heart of the Bank's gigantean approach to
development. The Bank exists to make large loans;
small loans are demonstrably more effective, but
the Bank has too much money and too little staff
to make those. Instead, it whets the pot for
private investment with a loan of, say, a few
hundred million dollars, on the way to
construction of a multi-billion-dollar dam. The
dam's electricity is fed to mines and factories,
and its stored water supplies cities and affluent farmers.
that the dam overwhelms its
surroundings, causing massive social and
environmental degradation. In the modern era, the
Bank acknowledges the problems, writes voluminous
reports about them, even grapples with them to a
degree, but doesn't let them get in the way of building dams.
liabilities have nevertheless become
obstacles is in part attributable to their
severity: the world's 45,000-plus large dams --
structures at least five stories -- have
displaced 40 to 80 million people, and they have
wrought environmental damage from reservoirs'
upstream lip all the way downstream to
sediment-depleted estuaries, beaches, and oceans.
Dams became the Bank's most problem-ridden
projects; as Bank senior water adviser John
Briscoe has explained, a major dam project "will
often account for a small proportion of a country
director's portfolio but a major proportion of his headaches."
Commission on Dams arose out of the
Bank's dam-building frustrations. Dam opponents
learned to tie up projects in long delays, until
investors gave up. By the mid-1990s, so many of
the Bank's projects were mired in controversy
that the Bank funded only four dams a year, down
from 26 dams a year a decade earlier. In
desperation, the Bank reluctantly embraced a
proposal by dam opponents to create an
independent commission that would assess Bank
dams' performance and set down rules for future
construction. The Bank hoped that if anti-dam
groups were represented on the Commission, they
would have no grounds for protest after agreeing
to reasonable rules for building dams.
The Bank made
one proviso -- that the commission
assess not just the Bank's dams, but all large
dams -- in an apparent attempt to divert
attention from the Bank's many problem-ridden
dams. The Bank then joined forced with the World
Conservation Union (IUCN), a Geneva-based
quasi-official nonprofit, to create the
Commission. Its twelve commissioners were drawn
equally from three categories -- "pro-dam,"
"mixed," and "anti-dam." Among them were Göran
Lindahl, president of ABB Ltd., then the world's
largest supplier of hydropower generators, and
Medha Patkar, an anti-dam firebrand whose
protests against a huge dam project on India's
Narmada River repeatedly involved courting her own death.
It was not
auspicious that the Bank once before
had turned to independent experts to resolve a
dam crisis, then tried to ignore the experts'
advice. That was in 1992, when protests led by
Patkar -- including, most dramatically, a 22-day
hunger strike -- forced the Bank to suspend
support for its centerpiece Narmada dam and
commission an independent project review.
led by former Republican
Congressman Bradford Morse, turned out to be more
independent than the Bank counted on, for after
an exhaustive nine-month study, they recommended
abandoning the project altogether. The Bank took
a futile stab at publicly misrepresenting the
report, then begrudgingly acceded -- for the
first time in its nearly five decades of
existence, the Bank left a project unfinished. In
the end, it skipped the last $170 million dollars
of its $450 million dollar dam loan, but soon
afterwards announced $2.3 billion in new loans for other Indian
the World Commission on Dams four
years later, the Bank was again gambling on an
independent review, but now the stakes involved
not one large dam, but all of them. "Truce called
in battle of the dams," said a 1997 Financial
Times headline over a story about the
commission's creation. Dam stakeholders were
skeptical that such a diverse group could reach
consensus, but as time the went on, the
Commissioners developed rapport, and found a way
to work towards a common objective. Even the
Bank was optimistic. As late as September 1999,
14 months before the Commission issued its final
report, Briscoe lauded its "absolutely
extraordinary process" and declared, "We have
every confidence" that it will deliver "very good
advice." Bank officials even spoke confidently of
using the World Commission on Dams approach to
launch yet another commission on oil, gas, and mining.
As it turned
out, the advice was notably
sharp-edged. After presiding over the most
thorough review of dam performance ever
conducted, the Commissioners produced a 400-page
report that offered proponents little comfort. It
said large dams showed a "marked tendency" toward
schedule delays and cost overruns; that
irrigation dams typically neither produced the
expected volume of water nor recovered their
costs; that environmental impacts were "more
negative than positive," and in many cases "led
to irreversible loss of species and ecosystems";
and that their construction had "led to the
impoverishment and suffering of millions."
even challenged the conventional
assumption that dams provide "clean" energy; on
the contrary, it said, dam reservoirs,
particularly shallow tropical ones, emit
greenhouse gases released by vegetation rotting
in reservoirs and carbon inflows from watersheds.
In hopes of heading off future tragedies before
they occurred, the Commission listed 26
recommendations to guide future dam construction.
Some, such as examining cheaper and less
destructive options before deciding on a dam,
were commonsensical, while others, such as
obtaining the consent of affected indigenous
people, were matters of social justice.
Just as it
tried to do in 1993, the Bank turned
its back on its own creation. The Bank took 13
months to issue a response, which touted its own
policies, not the Commission's. Briscoe now
charged that anti-dam activists "hijacked" the
Commission process, and the Bank announced a new
"high reward/high-risk" policy of renewed support
for large dams -- its first fruit was approval in
March of a loan for Laos' Nam Theun 2 Dam. The
Bank launched its oil, gas, and mining
commission, but this time, presumably having
learned its lesson, tried to exert tight control
over commission proceedings. Even so, the new
commission produced recommendations that the Bank
rejected, and once more the Bank abandoned its progeny.
this, the WCD report has not suffered
the fate of most commission reports, to fade
quickly into oblivion. Now, five years since its
unveiling, few institutions have embraced all the
report's recommendations, but it has become a
standard, a compilation of best practices,
against which less rigorous approaches are
measured. Unheeded but not forgotten, it hovers
over dam projects as an admonition to dam
builders in the name of human decency and environmental sanity.
is the author of Deep Water: The
Epic Struggle Over Dams, Displaced People, and
the Environment, which won the J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress
via IRN (Lori
Pottinger, Director, Africa
Program, and Editor, World Rivers Review)
: Environmental reviews Export Credits for Hydro Power projects
At their meeting
on 16 November, the Participants to the Export Credit Arrangement
(1) decided that the extended repayment terms and financial conditions
for renewable energies and water projects (which allow for up
to 15 years repayment terms for renewable energies and water projects
(2) and which came into effect on 1 July 2005 for a two-year trial
period (3) ) could be implemented from 1 December 2005 for hydro
power projects. In making their decision, the Participants took
note of the statement of 15 November made at the OECD in Paris
by a number of Member countries and the European Commission, and
agreed the application of this statement to the granting of officially
supported export credits for hydro power projects.
to their statement, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech
Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary,
Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland,
Portugal, Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United
Kingdom, the United States and the European Commission, in confirming
the application of the OECD Recommendation on environmental common
approaches for officially supported export credits to hydro-power
projects, acknowledged that the standard practice is that such
projects should in all material respects meet the requirements
of the relevant aspects of all the World Bank Group Safeguard
countries and the European Commission also recognised the value
of the relevant aspects of other international sources of guidance,
such as the draft Sustainability Guidelines produced by the International
Hydropower Association and the Core Values and Strategic Priorities
of the World Commission on Dams Report.
STATEMENT ON EXPORT CREDITS AND HYDRO-POWER PROJECTS
Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France,
Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, the
Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Spain,
Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States and
the European Commission confirm the application of the Common
Approaches to hydro-power projects while acknowledging in their
decision that the standard practice is that such projects should
in all material respects meet the requirements of the relevant
aspects of all the World Bank Group Safeguard Policies.
2. These countries
and the European Commission also recognise the value of the relevant
aspects of other international sources of guidance, such as the
draft Sustainability Guidelines produced by the International
Hydropower Association and the Core Values and Strategic Priorities
of the World Commission on Dams Report.
3. These countries
and the European Commission undertake to consider at the time
of the review of the OECD Recommendation on Common Approaches
on Environment and Officially Supported Export Credits, due to
take place in 2006, the extent to which it may need to be complemented
with reference to other international sources of guidance.
4. The above
statement does not preempt the conclusions of the ECG review of
the OECD Recommendations on Common Approaches on Export Credits
and Environment that will take place in 2006.
: WCD+5 : Dams destroy environment, group warns
Dams are continuing
to cause excessive environmental damage despite recommendations
from the World Commission on Dams to ensure environmental consideration.
from WWF looks at six dams under construction in the last five
years, all of which fail to meet the recommendations of the World
It shows that
dams can damage, drown or even dry out wetlands, an important
source of water, as well as destroying fisheries and threatening
habitats of endangered species.
despite claiming that they can provide cheaper power and water
for better irrigation systems, dams can actually result in economic
disruption, with electricity prices rising and many people displaced,
the report says.
Commission on Dams was established in 1998 to undertake a review
of the development effectiveness of dams and assess alternatives
for water resources and energy where possible, and to "develop
internationally acceptable criteria, guidelines and standards,
where appropriate, for the planning, design, appraisal, construction,
operation, monitoring and decommissioning of dams".
that any construction plans are given public approval, comprehensive
assessments of other options are made and that the economic benefits
of any dam are shared with local communities.
along with the World Bank must insist that the WCD's recommendations
are applied to all dam projects now," said Jamie Pittock,
head of WWF's Global Freshwater Programme. "This is not the
engineering heyday of the 1950s when dams were seen as the hallmark
of development. We know dams can cause damage and we must put
this knowledge to work."
that the WWF report highlights are:
Dam in Belize which was meant to reduce electricity imports and
lower electricity prices, yet local people have seen an average
increase of 12% in electricity prices while 1,000hectares of rainforest
has been flooded;
million Ermenek Dam in Turkey which, together with five other
hydropower projects, could result in insufficient water flow to
maintain the variety of wildlife that lives in the Goksu River
the Nam Theun
2 hydropower project, which is approved by the World bank and
which will affect the livelihoods of 50,000 people in Laos when
the water is diverted from the Nam Theun river.
it shows that the problem is not confined to the developing world.
In Iceland the OECD found that the Karahnjukar Dam - a flagship
project - could cause upward pressure on the country's inflation
and interest rates. In Spain, WWF claim that the Melonares Dam
has failed to take account of other viable and cheaper alternatives
to supply drinking water to the city of Seville.
And, in Australia
the Burnett Dam is struggling to be economically viable and threatens
the endangered Queensland lungfish, the report says.
there are 400 large dams under construction and hundreds more
planned. According to the WWF report 60% of major rivers have
already been fragmented and up to 80 million people displaced.
dams and bad economics are apparently still alive and kicking
five years after the WCD," said Ute Collier the report's
author. "As the energy and water crisis tightens we need
to ensure that we choose the solutions with the least environmental
damage and the greatest social benefits."
via EdieNews David Hopkins
: WCD+5: Five Years after Landmark Report,
Experts Call for Stronger Dams Standards
in adopting new approach to dams, but World Bank turns its back
and controversies remain
years after the independent World Commission on Dams (WCD) published
its landmark report on dams and development, international experts
called for stronger social and environmental standards for water
and power projects. At a conference organized by International
Rivers Network (IRN) in Berlin, the experts discussed the progress
that has been achieved in the large dams debate in the last five
years, and identified perspectives for future improvements.
on November 16, 2000, the WCD report called for a new approach
to decision-making in the water and power sectors. According to
the report, all needs and options should be assessed in a balanced
way before projects are identified; dam-affected people must become
the first beneficiaries of projects and have their rights guaranteed;
environmental concerns must be integrated into all project decisions;
and urgent efforts are needed to address the still-unresolved
social and environmental legacies of existing dams. In the past
five years, the WCD recommendations have become the most important
benchmark against which all new dam projects are being measured.
a former Commissioner of the WCD, said at the conference in Berlin:
WCD framework has become the de facto international standard for
dams, whether or not it has been formally adopted by all dam-building
institutions. Communities and grassroots organizations around
the world are using the WCD report as a tool to change their own
situations. On the other hand, the lack of on-the-ground implementation
of new non-dam approaches recommended by the WCD in specific projects
A new report
published by IRN documents that in recent months, important public
and private financial institutions have committed to the principles
and recommendations of the WCD. Multi-stakeholder processes in
several countries, including Germany, Nepal, South Africa and
Sweden, have adapted the recommendations to their national contexts.
In contrast, the World Bank - one of the original sponsors of
the Commission - walked away from the WCD report once it was published,
and adopted a new dam-building strategy that contradicts the WCD's
Schneider, a Policy Analyst at International Rivers Network, said:
"We call on the World Bank to revisit its dam-happy new strategy
and implement the standards of the WCD. The World Bank's new strategy
completely disregards the WCD's findings and the need to respect
the risks and rights of affected people. It is at odds with a
global consensus on water and energy that promotes decentralized,
Civil society groups stressed at the Berlin conference that they
look forward to collaborating with institutions from all sectors
in implementing the WCD recommendations and finding sustainable
solutions for meeting people's water and power needs. Frank Muramuzi,
the Executive Director of the National Association of Professional
Environmentalists in Uganda, described how the WCD approach helped
bring together the different interest groups in a debate about
his country's future power sector development.
Frank Muramuzi said: "We will continue to fight for the interests
of project-affected communities and the environment. At the same
time, we will cooperate with all parties that commit to the WCD
framework to improve the access of Uganda's poor to electricity
information on the 5th anniversary of the WCD, including the new
IRN report, is available at www.irn.org/wcd/5/background.html
Schneider, Policy Analyst, IRN (Berlin), email@example.com tel.
+49 30 214 0088 and +49 163 475 1284
McCully, Executive Director, IRN (Berkeley), firstname.lastname@example.org tel.
+1 510 848 1155
information on the WCD:
World Commission on Dams was initiated by the World Bank and the
World Conservation Union in 1997. Its mandate was to carry out
the first independent, comprehensive evaluation of the development
impacts of large dams, and to put forward recommendations for
future water and power sector projects. The WCD consisted of twelve
members from governments, industry, academia, and civil society.
Its approach of bringing together leading representatives of the
various interest groups was hailed as a new model of global governance.
report, Dams and Development, was published on November 16, 2000.
It found that dams have made an important contribution to human
development, but that in too many cases, an unacceptable and often
unnecessary price has been paid to secure their benefits. The
WCD put forward a new framework for decision-making on water and
power projects. This framework consists of seven strategic priorities
and 26 concrete recommendations.
more infromation on WCD and download of the report :
: China: Dam opposition swells
By Antoaneta Bezlova
BEIJING - By boycotting a dam conference organized by the government,
Chinese environmentalists have protested the lack of transparency
in a river project to build the world's largest hydroelectric
cascade on the Nu River in southwestern China that flows into
Myanmar and Thailand.
feared that the conference, held in late October, was being used
to get around public disclosure of secretive state plans to harness
the Nu River - a pristine waterway. A cascade of 13 hydropower
stations, known as the Nu River Hydropower Development Project,
is being planned on the Nu, in an area that is rich in biodiversity
and has been designated a World Heritage site by the United Nations.
Grouped as the China Rivers Network, members of a coalition of
non-governmental organizations (NGOs) were invited to attend the
weekend dam conference - backed by the National Reform and Development
Commission (NRDC), China's main economic planning body - to discuss
the Nu River project.
organizers said they would share with us parts of the environment
impact assessment [EIA]. But we don't want private access to the
documents. Why not make them accessible to everyone?" said
Zheng Yisheng, researcher with the Center for Environment and
Development, a part of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
After a public
outcry and opposition from downstream countries, Beijing suspended
the plans last year, and in a victory for China's nascent green
movement, Premier Wen Jiabao ordered a full study of the environmental
impact of the proposed dams in southern Yunnan province.
But in violation
of China's much touted new green laws, the EIA of the project
was completed by the developers in secrecy and sent for approval
to the State Council, China's cabinet, without any prior public
hearings and disclosure of its content.
the project is tacitly moving up the government chain, conservationists
had circulated an open letter in August, urging the government
to make the EIA public and allow discussion of the project. The
petition, signed by 61 organizations and 99 individuals, was sent
simultaneously to Wen Jiabao, the State Environmental Protection
Agency and the NRDC.
later, no reply had come, but representatives of the China Rivers
Network were invited to attend the weekend dam conference, possibly
because the EIA law passed by the state in 2003 stipulates that
environmental effects of large projects should be assessed and
included in their feasibility studies. The EIA law also required
public hearings to be held to take into account the opinions of
the people most affected by construction, but Network activists
suspected that this was being avoided by calling them in.
"We don't want to have another clash of philosophies, we
don't need another argument about the pros and cons of large dams,"
said Ma Jun, an environmental consultant who supports public disclosure
of the Nu River environmental study. "We need to talk about
the details of the project and these can't be addressed without
publicizing the EIA."
on the dam conference, attended by senior government officials,
power industry executives and Yunnan Communist Party leaders,
reveal a renewed zeal to push the project through. He Zuoxiu,
an elderly scientist and prominent public figure with well-known
pro-development and pro-scientific views, told the forum the primary
goal of the Nu River Hydropower Development plan was to alleviate
hydropower is the only viable way to eradicate entrenched local
poverty, and this is the primary goal of the Nu River project.
Generating power comes second," he was quoted as saying by
the Beijing Times.
the project insist the dams would also supply power to a nation
that is increasingly struggling to meet its energy needs. But
provincial leaders in Yunnan have made no secret of their intention
to export power to neighboring countries. Projected capacity from
the dam cascade is 20,000 megawatts - greater than the power supplied
by the Three Gorges Dam, now the world's largest hydroelectric
By law, a
project on such scale should be approved by the National People's
Congress, the Chinese parliament. But the central government suffered
embarrassment when the vote on the Three Gorges Dam was held in
1992: one-third of the parliament's delegates abstained from voting
or rejected the measure. Perhaps fearful of a similar campaign,
the developers of the Nu River dams are pressing for a decision
directly from the top levels of the Chinese government. But this
has also increased the stakes of the project in the eyes of the
Nu River project is not only about environmental preservation.
It is also about observing the rule of law in China and ensuring
public participation in the decision-making process," argues
Xue Ye, secretary of the China Rivers Network. If the project
goes ahead, at least 50,000 people, mainly members of Yunnan's
many ethnic minorities, would have to be relocated.
Xue says, have very little say and shouldn't be locked out of
the debate. The plan has already drawn angry protests from the
ethnic communities downstream, in Thailand and Myanmar. The Nu
River is the last free-flowing international river in the region,
and also Southeast Asia's second longest. It begins in the Tibetan
mountains, crosses Yunnan province and flows into Myanmar and
Thailand, where it is known as the Salween River.
groups say the propaganda department of the Communist Party has
imposed a ban on negative media reports about hydropower development
plans. Nevertheless, news has filtered through that the Yunnan
government is seeking approval from Beijing for four dams for
the first phase of the Nu River project.
controversy over the project comes amid pledges by Beijing to
strive for a more environmentally sensitive model of economic
growth. The dam conference was held just a week after Beijing
unveiled the draft of its new five-year economic blueprint, which
promised to pay heed to the depletion of natural resources.
the government said that 10 regions, including Beijing, would
carry out a pilot project in green GDP assessment. The proposed
green index for growth would measure the success of provinces
not only in terms of short-term economic figures, but the longer-term
costs of pollution, health and resource depletion.
however, was not among the regions selected to take part in the
pilot project. Local leaders anticipate tax returns from the completed
full-scale cascade to reach 2.7 billion yuan (US$333 million)
a year. "The Nu River [project] has become a test of the
central government's resolve to give up [its] growth-at-all-costs
policy and pursue more balanced and environment-friendly development,"
said Xue Ye.
(Inter Press Service) China Business
: Danube Basin: Enhancing access to information and public participation
countries - Bosnia/Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania and
Serbia/Montenegro are working on a project to improve their
performance as providers of water quality information to the public.
Water data are vital as Danube Basin governments strive to make
the best possible decisions for a speedy clean up of their shared
water resource. Public participation supported by good data and
information can play a significant role in assuring successful
results and provide the ''ammunition'' that the public uses to
keep governments moving toward meeting their water quality goals.
The project will assist the countries in the processing of and
responding to information requests, and how to actively make information
available even before it is requested. See REC website for further
source : EMWIS
Flash October 05 / REC
24.10.05: Norway's mighty Vefsna river
"The last great unprotected river in Scandinavia has finally
received the protection it deserves. This is one step in bringing
Norwegian nature protection up to EU-standards"
Rasmus Reinvang, Terrestrial Program Coordinator, WWF-Norway
2005, WWF launched a public campaign pushing for protection of
the Vefsna River, Norway's last great, untouched and unprotected
Statkraft, Norway's largest electricity company, had planned to
dam the Vefsna River and drill giant tunnels to drain it for hydropower
in Northern Norway is a paradise for anglers with its large populations
of sea trout and inland trout, and has the second largest spawning
area in Norway for the threatened wild Atlantic salmon. Statkraft's
large-scale development plans would have taken place near the
only healthy population of Arctic fox on mainland Norway, and
have a detrimental effect on traditional Sami areas and reindeer
15th, the Norwegian parliament was set to decide on whether to
include the Vefsna in the revised list of protected rivers in
Norway, so we appealed to Passport holders to urge Statkraft's
CEO, Mr Bard Mikkelsen, to drop the hydropower plans and appealed
to Mr Oeyvind Halleraker, key Member of the Norwegian Parliament,
to give Vefsna the protected status it deserves. The outcome was
a uncertain promise to protect Vefsna later.
The new Norwegian government under the leadership of coming prime
minister Jens Stoltenberg, social democratic party, on 13 october
2005 announced that Vefsna will now be duly protected against
hydropower development. This is a complete victory for the environment!
The efforts of WWF and Panda Passport activists to raise international
attention have been significant in achieving this. It became clear
to Statkraft and Norwegian politicians that concessions to the
hydropower industry in a Natura 2000 quality area will not go
unnoticed. About 15,000 e-mails were sent to the CEO of Statkraft
and to the Norwegian Parliament! All the Norwegian papers have
written about the international focus on the Vefsna and highlighted
that Norway in many areas is lagging behind the EU when it comes
to nature protection. This has been embarrassing for the Norwegian
parliament and government and created a push to deliver on the
promise of protection. Well done!
source / contact:
Rasmus Reinvang, Terrestrial Program Coordinator
Traasdahl, Communications Advisor
Tel: +47 22 03 6513
: Greece Learning river conservation skills from other
Union's NetWet 2 consortium
(Networking Perspectives of Transnational
Cooperation and Participatory Planning for
Integrated Water Resources Management) deals with
water-management issues by promoting better land
use. It's jointly financed by local communities
(75%) and national governments (25%). Several EU
countries are especially interested in drought
and flooding issues and the cultivation of
tourism in river basins, among them France,
Italy, Belgium, and Germany. The Greek prefecture
of Thesprotia is now trying to learn from their
example to control industrial pollution in the Kalamas River.
News Watch via EWMN News
: EU: Agreement on new bathing water directive
the Council and the European Parliament succeeded in reaching
agreement on a joint text for a draft directive on bathing water
quality. The agreement will allow for rapid adoption of the directive.
The directive will apply to surface water where a large number
of people are expected to bathe, establishing a method for monitoring
bathing water quality during the bathing season. The old bathing
water directive from 1976 will be repealed and replaced, to reflect
scientific knowledge gained since 1976. The new directive will
complement the WFD as well as the directives on urban wastewater
treatment and on nitrates pollution from agricultural sources.
via EWMN News
information (EU Website)
: Journée internationale de la prévention des catastrophes
chaque deuxième mercredi doctobre, la Journée
internationale de la prévention des catastrophes naturelles
est un moyen de promouvoir une culture globale de réduction
des catastrophes naturelles, notamment par le biais de la prévention,
la préparation et latténuation des effets
le thème de la Journée internationale est : «Réduire
les risques grâce aux outils de micro-financement et aux
réseaux de sécurité». Lobjectif
est double : sensibiliser les communautés et les institutions
sociales et financières à leur rôle potentiel
en matière de réduction des risques liés
aux catastrophes naturelles et favoriser la sensibilisation des
parties prenantes en matière de gestion du risque à
lefficacité des outils financiers et des réseaux
de sécurité visant à réduire la vulnérabilité
des populations exposées aux dangers.
la réduction des risques liés aux catastrophes atténue
la vulnérabilité des populations exposées
et contribue à détruire le cercle vicieux de la
pauvreté. Organisatrice des manifestations de la Journée,
la Stratégie internationale de prévention des catastrophes
(SIPC), engagera un dialogue avec des responsables du micro-financement
afin que lutilisation des outils financiers et des réseaux
de sécurité existants permette de réduire
les risques liés aux catastrophes et fasse augmenter la
capacité des communautés à résister
au site officiel de la Journée (en anglais) : http://www.unisdr.org/eng/public_aware/world_camp/2005/2005-iddr.htm
Lire des faits
et chiffres sur la gestion des risques : http://www.unesco.org/water/wwap/facts_figures/gerer_risques.shtml
: Eau en Irak: LIrak face à son désastre
irakiens de l'environnement et des ressources en eau viennent
de dresser un tableau sans complaisance, et plutôt sombre,
de leur pays écologiquement ravagé pour
reprendre leurs termes exacts. Il semblerait en effet que Saddam
Hussein nait pas fait grand cas de lenvironnement
durant sa dictature.
le problème le plus urgent en Irak, le régime de
Hussein n'ayant visiblement pas fait une priorité de ce
domaine. Ainsi, le pays compte environ 600 usines de traitement
d'eau mais la plus récente date déjà de 1982.
Si les stations d'épuration sont à peu près
en état, elles sont souvent arrêtées par des
pannes ou des coupures d'électricité. Au final,
la qualité de l'eau laisse à désirer, d'autant
que les eaux polluées et les déchets solides sont
rejetés presque intégralement, sans épuration
préalable, dans les eaux du Tigre et de lEuphrate,
les deux fleuves du pays. Cette situation n'est pas sans causer
des problèmes de santé publique, notamment chez
les plus jeunes.
selon les autorités, seulement 67 % de la population est
alimentée en eau, le tiers restant étant approvisionné
par des citernes, acheminées dans les bourgs et villages.
En outre, si la quantité d'eau disponible pour les populations
est suffisante, elle ne répond pas aux besoins des autres
usages, notamment agricoles. Ceci est dû à la position
géographique de lIrak, puisquen aval du Tigre
et de l'Euphrate se trouvent la Turquie, la Syrie et lIran,
qui captent une grande partie des eaux. Ainsi, en bout de
chaîne, l'Irak ne reçoit que 10 milliards de
mètres cubes selon Latif Rachid, le ministre des ressources
en eau. Si des pourparlers avec la Turquie et la Syrie, sur la
question du partage de l'eau, sont actuellement à lordre
du jour, aucun accord n'est pour le moment en vue.
la qualité de l'air, elle est également très
mauvaise : les usines ne disposent en effet pas de filtres, les
voitures d'occasion roulent sans pot catalytique et l'essence
importée ne subit aucun contrôle de qualité.