: Deutsche und Tschechische Umweltorganisationen schliessen sich
im Kampf gegen die Elbe-Staustufenplanung zusammen
BUND ++ DUH
++ FREUNDE DER NATUR ++ KINDER DER ERDE ++ NABU ++ WWF
Deutsche und tschechische Umweltorganisationen schließen
sich im Kampf
gegen die Elbe-Staustufenplanung zusammen :
Stauen um des Bauens willen Ein ökologisches und volkswirtschaftliches
21.02.2006: Deutsche und Tschechische Umweltorganisationen
nehmen den Kampf gegen die weitere Kanalisierung der Elbe und
geplanten Staustufenbau gemeinsam auf.
Bau der geplanten Staustufe in der Elbe bei Decin verstößt
ökologische und volkswirtschaftliche Vernunft, fassen
tschechische Umweltverbände ihre Position anlässlich
Planungsverfahrens zusammen. Die Kosten stehen in keinem
Verhältnis zum wirtschaftlichen Nutzen und den ökologischen
Der Bau von
Staustufen wäre ein Rückfall in die Flusspolitik des
vergangenen Jahrhunderts, als Flüsse vorrangig als Abwasserkanäle
Schifffahrtsstraßen missbraucht wurden. Flüsse sind
die nach geltendem EU-Recht in ihrem Zustand zu erhalten und zu
sind. Der Staustufenbau wäre aber eine gravierende Verschlechterung
Lebensbedingungen für Pflanzen, Tiere und Menschen. Das Betonprojekt
damit geltendes EU-Recht verletzen. Die deutschen und tschechischen
Umweltorganisationen werden alles dafür tun, damit das EU-Recht
Füßen getreten wird.
scharfe Kritik üben die Verbände an den falschen
Planungsgrundlagen für den Staustufenbau. Es wird der Öffentlichkeit
vorgegaukelt, dass die Elbe in Deutschland ganzjährig befahrbar
Elbe in Tschechien dagegen nicht. Das widerspricht der Realität.
dass auch die Elbe in Deutschland wie in Tschechien - oft
über viele Monate Niedrigwasser aufweist und einen regelmäßigen
wirtschaftlichen Güterverkehr nicht zulässt. Die Elbe
in Sachsen hatte in
den Jahren 1997 bis 2003 durchschnittlich nur an 230 Tagen im
Fahrrinnentiefe von mindestens 1,60 m zu bieten und nicht
wie in der
Staustufenplanung zugrundegelegt an 345 Tagen im Jahr. (Anlage:
der Sächsischen Binnenhäfen Dresden). Auch die Elbe
in Sachsen-Anhalt war
in den letzen 15 Jahren lediglich in einem Jahr (1995) ganzjährig
1,60 m Tiefe befahrbar! (Anlage Grafik).
Befahrbarkeit der Elbe durch rentable Güterschiffe ist
nicht gegeben. Auch ein Staustufenbau in Tschechien ändert
kommt hinzu, dass die Tendenz zu Niedrigwasserperioden in den
letzten 15 Jahren auffallend zunimmt. Mit dem Klimawandel steigen
Temperaturen an und die sommerlichen Trockenphasen nehmen zu.
Erkenntnisse der Klimaforscher werden bei der Staustufenplanung
ignoriert. Tschechische Staustufen nützen auf dem Weg nach
überhaupt nichts, wenn auch die deutsche Elbe immer öfter
zum Niedrigwasser werden die Transporte von Tschechien via
Hamburg auch von Hochwasser und Eisgang immer wieder unterbrochen
Es ist leicht nachvollziehbar, wenn die Wirtschaft auf Grund dieser
wiederkehrenden und unplanbaren Störungen in andere Verkehrsträger
investiert und sich weiter vom Binnenschiff abwendet.
Der Gütertransport auf der Elbe ist seit vielen Jahren
rückläufig und inzwischen so gering, dass er auch
durch wenige Güterzüge am Tag zuverlässig übernommen
werden kann. Immer
mehr Häfen nehmen deshalb die Schiene in Anspruch, um von
Wasserstandsschwankungen unabhängig zu werden. Die Schiene
Angaben der Deutschen Bahn AG im Elbekorridor freie Kapazitäten
bis 500%. Unter diesen Voraussetzungen dennoch am Bau einer über
Mio. Euro teuren Staustufe festzuhalten, muss als eine eklatante
politische Fehlentscheidung gewertet werden.
Die Umweltverbände werden die Defizite der Staustufenplanung
und sich massiv dafür einsetzen, dass keine EU-Mittel in
des unsinnigen Betonprojektes fließen werden.
Einspruch kann bis zum 10. März 2006 beim tschechischen Umweltministerium
Dr. Ernst Paul Dörfler BUND-Elbeprojekt, Tel.: 039244 290
Dr. Frank Neuschulz, Deutsche Umwelthilfe e.V., mobil: 0160/8950556
Kinder der Erde Deti Zeme, RNDr. Miroslav Patrik, Tel.: 00420
- 545 210 393
Freunde der Natur Pratele prirody, o. p. s., Marian Palenik, Tel.:
603 284 725
: China and Russia Sign River Monitoring
BEIJING, China, February 21, 2006 (ENS) - China and Russia today
signed a formal agreement to jointly monitor cross-border rivers
to ensure water quality. The pact follows a chemical spill into
the Songhua River last November 13 that polluted the cross-border
Some 100 metric tons of toxic nitrobenzene entered the river after
an explosion at a petrochemical plant. Five people were killed
in the incident, which took place in Jilin province in the northeastern
China. The chemicals entered the Amur River in the Russian Far
East on December 25.
To prevent recurrence of such accidents, experts from the two
countries will regularly exchange information and work together,
Chinese and Russian officials said.
The water bodies under joint surveillance include the Heilong,
Wusuli, Erguna and Suifen rivers and Xingkai Lake, according to
a report by the official state news agency Xinhua. The Songhua
River is the Heilong's largest tributary.
"The agreement marks a substantive step in environmental
protection co-operation between China and Russia," said Zhou
Shengxian, minister of the State Environmental Protection Administration
Signing the agreement Monday in Beijing, Zhou and Yuri Trutnev,
Russian minister of natural resources, also agreed to work out
plans to handle emergencies.
Trutnev praised the Chinese government for its quick response
in handling the pollution in Songhua River and said Beijing should
consider setting up a mechanism to punish enterprises responsible
for environmental crises.
"I hope monitoring cross-border rivers is just a beginning
of the two countries' co-operation on environmental protection,"
Zhou said. "China and Russia need to jointly develop comprehensive
Today's agreement originated in December when Russian President
Vladimir Putin and Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao consented
to jointly tackle the Songhua River chemical spill. Meeting on
the sidelines of the Association of South East Asian Nations forum
in Kuala Lumpur on December 13, the two leaders said they would
work more closely to protect the environment in the future.
This month more toxic spills into China's rivers have threatened
drinking water quality.
On Friday, the general manager of a chemical firm accused of releasing
2,000 tons of alkaline wastewater into a northwest China river
The spill occurred at the Jintai Chlorine and Alkaline Chemical
Company February 4 when three processing tanks collapsed, discharging
the waste into the Wuding River, which flows into China's second
longest river, the Huang He, or Yellow River.
The Yulin City Environmental Protection Bureau said the chemical
firm was ordered to suspend operation and take measures to renovate
the wastewater discharge system within a scheduled time limit.
Several processing tanks had shown signs of leakage 10 days before
to the incident, but the company failed to report it to local
environmental protection officials, the bureau said.
Last week, a chemical spill from a power plant on the upper Yuexi
River in the southwestern province of Sichuan contaminated a 100
kilometer (60 mile) stretch of the river around the city of Yibin.
The power plant discharged fluoride, nitrogen and phenol that
affected drinking water for the 20,000 residents of Guanyin town,
the official China Daily newspaper reported. Water was trucked
to thirsty residents, but supplies fell short of the demand.
Environment News Service, 21/02/2006.
: Washington Governor enacts Columbia River water management Law
February 20, 2006 (ENS) - Governor Chris Gregoire has signed into
law the Columbia River Basin Water Resource Management bill that
makes a new investment in the economic and environmental future
of central and eastern Washington. The bill overwhelmingly passed
both houses of the Legislature.
"The gridlock is broken," Governor Gregoire said on
Thursday at the bill signing ceremony. "For 30 years, people
have been wrangling over the best way to support the water needs
of eastern Washington, and protect and restore our native salmon
runs on the Columbia River. Now we have a road map towards achieving
"We broke through the stalemate because of the respectful
consensus we built among our partners, who include the U.S. Bureau
of Reclamation, our tribal neighbors, farmers, environmental groups
and communities up and down the Columbia River," Gregoire
The Columbia River drains a 259,000 square mile basin that includes
territory in seven states - Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana,
Nevada, Wyoming, and Utah and one Canadian province. The river
flows for more than 1,200 miles from the base of the Canadian
Rockies in southeastern British Columbia to the Pacific Ocean
at Astoria, Oregon, and Ilwaco, Washington.
Work on the bill began a year ago when Governor Gregoire asked
House and Senate leaders from both parties to appoint members
to a Columbia River Task Force to study the long-standing water
management stalemate on the Columbia River.
The bill commits to developing new storage and water conservation
projects on the Columbia River, provides a formula for allocating
newly stored water, and creates mechanisms for jumpstarting conservation
measures and improving current management operations on the Columbia
One-third of all newly stored water will be allocated to support
stream flows for fish. Two-thirds of newly stored water will be
available for new out-of stream water uses, such as farming, industry
and municipal growth.
"We've turned the corner on the water wars in the Columbia
Basin," said Jay Manning, director of the Washington State
Department of Ecology. "With this bill the bar has been raised
and the environment will win as the economy wins. Perhaps just
as important, Ecology is now a vested partner in developing water
supplies for both."
Rob Masonis, director of the Northwest office of American Rivers,
said, "This plan provides for a thoughtful approach to finding
new supplies. It requires a hard look at costs and benefits, and
full consideration of alternatives to new storage, like conservation
and market mechanisms, before any new storage facilities are constructed."
"The plan will help protect against further declines in Columbia
River flows during critical periods for salmon and steelhead,"
Masonis said. "What it does not do, however, is address the
major harm to salmon and steelhead caused by federal dams on the
Columbia and Snake rivers. Those impacts must be addressed through
changes at the dams themselves and other major investments in
Masonis and American Rivers support the removal of four federal
dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers.
A copy of the Columbia River Basin Water Resource Management legislation
is online at: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=2860&year=2006
Environment News Service, 20/02/2006.
: Greens Say Disasters Worsened by Wetland Loss
- The destruction of the world's wetlands is exacerbating global
disasters such as
floods and famines and is a potential source of conflict in volatile
said on Thursday. "By a conservative estimate, about 50 percent
of the wetlands worldwide are
gone. These include rivers, swamps, marshes, small ponds, and
mangrove systems," said Jane
Madgwick, the chief executive officer of conservation group Wetlands
"They are viewed as the most threatened ecosystems in the
world and their degradation can
amplify natural disasters and hurt the poor the most," she
told Reuters by phone from the South
African resort of St. Lucia, which is hosting a global conference
on the issue. Thursday is World Wetlands Day.
The poor suffer
the most because wetland loss often denies them access to safe
or sources to irrigate their small plots, contributing to food
fallen prey to a range of practices, including being drained to
for farmland or urban settlement.
regions such as Africa, the situation has been worsened by overgrazing
excessive burning. In South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal province where
the conference is
being held, this can be a spark for communal violence over scarce
It has also
contributed to floods in neighbouring Mozambique, where thousands
of people were left
homeless last month after heavy rains. Mozambique was the scene
of devastating deluges in 2000 and
2001 which displaced hundreds of thousands.
of wetlands and overgrazing of grasslands on the upper watersheds
of the Limpopo
river in Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa channel raging waters
into its lower watersheds
or catchments in Mozambique and Malawi.
Grasslands that are overgrazed are hardened, enabling water to
flow over the ground and into
rivers instead of seeping into the soil. Adding to the problem
is the shrinkage of wetlands as these absorb excess water.
can be exacerbated by a hardening of surfaces which increases
the runoff as the water
does not soak into the grounds," said South African wetland
ecologist David Lindley.
He said the
problems were global.
impact of the 2004 Asian tsunami in some areas was made worse
by the destruction of
coastal wetlands such as mangrove forests which could have acted
as a shield," he said.
floods and drought, blamed by some scientists on global warming
but also linked to
diminished wetlands, brought a near 20 percent rise in natural
disasters in 2005, researchers said on Monday.
also a crucial habitat for countless species which vanish with
In South Africa,
the government has earmarked over $10 million annually to a project
degraded wetlands which also provides work to the rural unemployed.
Story by Ed
Source REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
:Fuite de cyanure dans l'Elbe
AFP 30.01. 06 | 16h07
La fuite de cyanure dans l'Elbe tchèque qui a entraîné
la mort de quelque 10 tonnes de poissons début janvier
a démontré les lacunes du système de contrôle
au sein de l'usine chimique à l'origine de la pollution,
a déclaré lundi l'Inspection tchèque de l'Environnement
La fuite est intervenue au terme d'une "opération
non standard" provoquée par une négligence
humaine, à l'usine Lucebni Zavody Draslovka, a déclaré
Jan Slanec, directeur de la CIZP au cours d'une conférence
"Un simple contrôle de routine aurait suffi à
prévenir l'accident", a-t-il déploré
en soulignant "la responsabilité concrète des
dirigeants" de l'usine dans ce qui apparaît comme un
des plus gros accidents écologiques de ces dernières
"Il s'agit pour nous d'une leçon qui va devoir bientôt
se traduire dans les mécanismes de contrôle",
Le patron de la CIZP a aussi dénoncé le "laisser-aller"
et la "légèreté" du personnel de
l'usine dans la "manipulation avec des matières dangereuses".
De plus, au lieu d'alerter les autorités, la direction
de l'usine chimique n'a avoué la fuite qu'une semaine plus
tard, "sous le poids des preuves ramassées par nos
inspecteurs", a-t-il dit.
Une enquête policière a déjà été
ouverte, tout comme une procédure administrative de CIZP.
Le cyanure a fui le 9 janvier de l'usine Lucebni Zavody Draslovka
à Kolin (55 km à l'est de Prague) et contaminé
l'Elbe sur 85 km, jusqu'à son confluent avec la Vltava
près de Melnik (30 km au nord de Prague).
Du fait de la dilution de l'eau de l'Elba au confluent avec la
Vltava, les normes pour la présence du cyanure dans l'eau
n'ont finalement été que "très légèrement
dépassées" à la frontière avec
l'Allemagne voisine, à indiqué de son côté
l'adjoint au directeur de CIZP, Hynek Benes. Selon lui, l'incident
"n'aura d'impact ni sur les baignades dans l'Elbe ni sur
les sources d'eau potable dans les environs du fleuve".
Source : AFP, 30.01.2006
leak into the Elbe river : the chemical plant is pointed out
leak in the Czech Elbe, that caused the death of some 10 tons
of fishes at the beginning of January showed the weaknesses of
the controle system within the chemical plant at the origin of
the pollution. This was the declaration on monday that made the
Czech Environment Inspection Authority (CIZP).
The leak occured at
the end of "a non-standard operation" caused by a human
careless, in the Lucebni Zavody Draslovka plant, said Jan Slanec,
director of the CIZP during a press conference. "A simple
usual checking would have been enough to avoid the accident",
he deplored, underlying the "concrete responsability of the
managers" of the plant, in what appears as one of the biggest
ecological accidents these last years. "It is for us a important
lesson, that will have soon to be expressed in the control mechanisms",
The CIZP boss also
denounced the carelessness and the thoughtlessness of the plant's
staff while manipulating dangerous matters. More, instead of warning
the authorities, the chemical plant's managers admitted the leak
only one week later, "in front of the proofs collected by
our inspectors", he said. The police investigation is already
opened, as well as a CIZP administrative proceeding.
The cyanide leak occured
on Monday, January 9th, in the Lucebni Zavody Draslovka in Kolin
(55 km East from Prague) and contaminated the Elbe along 85 km,
up to its confluence with the Vltava river near Melnik (30 km
North from Prague). Because of the dilution of the Elbe water
at the confluence with the Vltava river, the standards for the
presence of cyanide in water were finally "very lightely
exceeded" at the border with Germany, informed the assistant
of the CIZP director, Hynek Benes. According to him, this incident
"won't have any impact nor on bathing in the Elbe neither
on sources of trinkable water in the vicinity of the river".
Source : AFP, 30.01.2006, translation : ERN
: China's rivers to be dammed for evermore
High in the Himalayan foothills, the people the Chinese call Angry
look down on the waters of the river that shares their name and
ponder on the future.
the dam gets built, the water will come right up to there,"
said Asetei, an 84-year-old farmer pointing up the terraced hillside.
"There are testing teams who come to the river and they tell
us this. They say it won't happen for 10 years, though all we
know is rumour."
A leaked Chinese
government report last week cleared it to press ahead with the
main parts of a plan to build a cascade of 13 dams and power stations
down the gorges that line the Nu River, in the mountains where
Burma, Tibet and the Chinese province of Yunnan meet.
join a series of similar projects on the rivers Nu, Lancang and
Jinsha, that flow from the Tibetan plateau to provide livelihoods
to hundreds of millions in China and South-East Asia.
sees the reservoirs and power stations as a "string of pearls"
crossing one of China's poorest regions, and a solution to the
economy's pressing need for electricity and water. At peak seasons,
factories in the country's booming cities are forced to close
in rotation to prevent black-outs.
In the past
five years, the startling growth of China's economy has put pressure
on both its water supplies - 90 per cent of the country's citiesare
fed by contaminated rivers - and its energy resources.
call the Three Rivers project an assault on the last frontier
of China's wild countryside, in a debate that has broken new ground
by being held largely in public.
of the Three Rivers area were recognised, after much government
lobbying, as a World Heritage site by Unesco in 2003. At the time,
it said the region "may be the most biologically diverse
ecosystem in the world". Now Unesco says any dam construction
inside the area would cause it to be put on its "at risk"
is whether this damming has a bottom line," said Ma Jun,
an environmental researcher and author of the book China's Water
Crisis. "We don't want to stop every dam. We want to decide
whether there are places
that are not suitable, that are an absolute treasure for our country."
If there is
such a treasure, it is in Yunnan, biologically the richest province
in China, and until now isolated by its mountainous terrain and
poverty. Half its population consists of minority groups such
as Tibetans and, in the remote north-western corner, the Nu.
The Nu are
not really "Angry". In their own language, their name
is Nong, but the character Nu was the nearest their Chinese rulers
could find to represent the sound. They are, however, largely
ignorant of the changes that
could lie in store. The project will mean the forced relocation
of tens of thousands of people.
But none of
the Nu villages around Bingzhongluo has received any official
information about the debate raging in Beijing. The same is true
of other ethnic groups downstream, but this ignorance has begun
to be challenged by green activists.
by a surprise 2004 government decision to put the scheme on hold
pending an environmental impact report, groups began lobbying
and taking their views directly to the people.
of Green Watersheds, previously researched the consequences of
an early dam on the Lancang, at Manwan, and took a group of villagers
to meet the people displaced 10 years before.
former residents scavenging for garbage on the hillsides. "They
told us that at first when the dam was built they had some [compensation
] money and life was good. But that was before the money ran out,"
said He Lixiu, 31, who lives near Liuku, where the first of the
dams will be built.
began to take sides. They gave space to a petition calling for
a public inquiry, and for the environmental report to be made
public. Others argued strongly for the project.
said the area's ecosystems were already irreparably damaged by
logging and over-farming, and that finding alternative work for
its people was the only way forward.
hydro-power is the only way for ethnic minority groups to overcome
their impoverished conditions and become wealthy," said He
Zuoxiu, a scientist and leading supporter.
allowing some discussion, the government has reverted to type
and begun to crack down.
Mrs He, the
Liuku villager, says she was invited to attend a conference in
Beijing, but the day before she was due to leave, a local official
arrived with 10 plain clothes police.
go there we will arrest you immediately," they said.
Spencer in Bingzhongluo
The Telegraph (UK)
: Greenpeace Activists Block Trucks Carrying Building Supplies
for Pulp Mill Construction on the Uruguay River
URUGUAY: January 20, 2006
activists block trucks carrying building supplies next to an area
where a pulp mill is being built on the Uruguay River in Fray
Bentos, Uruguay, across the river from Gualeguaychu, Argentina
January 19, 2006.
been unusually defiant in a diplomatic spat with Argentina over
a $1.7 billion investment in two European-built pulp mills.
Residents, farmers, ecologists and politicians from Argentina
are demanding the Uruguayan government block the construction
of the paper mills because they say the mills would damage the
air and the wildlife of the Uruguay River, shared by the two countries.
Story by Greenpeace/Handout
Photo by GREENPEACE/HANDOUT
/ REUTERS NEWS PICTURE SERVICE
: MALAYSIA : Dirty Dam Draws Dirty Smelters
Anil Netto, Inter Press Service (IPS) Thu Jan 19, 4:00 PM ET
KUALA LUMPUR , Jan 19 (IPS) - Transnational aluminum smelters,
teaming up with Malaysian partners, are beating a path to eastern
Sarawak state with an eye to surplus power from the problem-ridden
The much-delayed dam in Sarawak, on Borneo island, was originally
scheduled for completion in 2003, but is now only expected to
gradually generate electricity from late 2009.
Faced with soaring electricity tariffs and raw material costs,
many aluminum plants have closed shop in the United States and
Europe. Major smelters are now scouring the globe for places where
electricity is cheap and their sights have narrowed down on Bakun's
excess potential even as environmentalists worry about the impact
that the dam, and now the smelters, would have on the environment.
In particular, smelters from China, the world's largest aluminum
user, have been showing a keen interest in Bakun. Last year, over
40 smelters stopped production in China due to higher costs and
government moves to curb pollution -- resulting in a loss of more
than half a million tons of aluminum.
The 2,400 megawatt Bakun hydroelectric dam project was approved
the administration of former premier Mahathir Mohamad in 1994,
amidst an outcry that the dam would submerge rainforests covering
an area the size of Singapore and displace thousands of indigenous
Planners ambitiously aimed to channel 70 percent of the dam's
generated power across the South China Sea to Peninsular Malaysia
by laying over 600 km of submarine cables. It would have been
longest undersea transmission line in the world and an expensive
Local firm Ekran was awarded the contract to manage the project
while the construction contract went to the Zurich-based
multinational Asea Brown Boveri (ABB). But by 1997, with the onset
of the Asian financial crisis and amidst disputes over cost
over-runs, the government announced that it was delaying the
project and paid compensation to the firms involved.
In 1999, it was announced that the dam would be scaled down. The
submarine cable idea, its technical feasibility always in major
doubt, was scrapped but work on the river diversion tunnels began
and have now been completed.
In 2001, the government, perhaps mindful of the work already done
since 1996, decided to stick to the original 2,400 MW capacity.
without the undersea cables, the economic justification for the
-- to channel electricity to the more industrialised peninsula
''It's utterly unnecessary,'' said one Sarawak-based political
analyst of the dam, declining to be identified for fear of
repercussions. "The only people who need the dam are the
politicians and their cronies.''
Moreover, he added, Sarawak has a wealth of alternative energy
resources such as natural gas. According to the Bintulu Development
Authority, the state has a total known gas reserve of about 50
trillion standard cubic feet.
On Bakun, the government faced a stark choice: cut its losses
some two billion ringgit (0.5 billion US dollars) already spent
prevent any further environmental damage or pour more money --
further 5-6 billion ringgit (1.3-1.6 billion dollars) -- into
ever-deeper hole. It decided to press on.
The government, through an outfit called Sarawak Hidro, took over
the management of the project. A Malaysia-China Hydro Joint Venture
consortium, led by a Malaysian firm, Sime Darby Berhad, is now
constructing the dam. Already, there are reports of cost overruns
But what to do with all that surplus electricity from the dam?
After all, Sarawak state itself and neighbouring Sabah have
comfortable reserve margins. Electricity demand in Sarawak remains
modest (currently under 1,000 MW).
Plans to distribute Bakun's power to the rest of Borneo, which
politically divided among Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia, never
Enter the giant multinationals, teaming up with local firms,
seeking approval to build a smelter in Sarawak. The production
aluminum requires a huge amount of electricity, accounting for
close to 40 percent of production costs, which explains why many
smelters are built near major sources of electricity supply.
One visitor to a popular local current affairs blog summed it
''Bakun Dam is the solution to Sarawak's power shortage. But they
forgot Sarawak has no power shortage. That's no problem to the
dam's promoters: just create a shortage by building an aluminum
plant. That way, they succeeded in finding a problem for the solution.''
Even the business weekly, 'The Edge' seemed to agree: ''In
Sarawak, the main reason the federal government is allowing an
aluminum smelter is to salvage Bakun,'' it said in a candid report.
Among those The Edge reported as bidding for approval to build
smelter is local firm Smelter Asia, teaming up with China Aluminium
International Engineering, which reportedly wants to set up a
500,000 tonne capacity plant that would consume about half of
Another Malaysia-China consortium is seeking approval for a 3.2
billion dollar smelter. The local firms in this consortium are
Cahya Mata Sarawak (CMS) and Press Metal.
Giant multinationals reportedly also in the running are
Australia-based Rio Tinto Group, BHP Billiton teaming up with
Mitsubishi Corp, and the Alcoa Group.
Smelter Asia is owned by tycoon Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary, who has
warm ties with former premier Mahathir Mohamad. CMS, on the other
hand, is a well-connected group with diversified interests in
Sarawak led by Sulaiman Abdul Taib, the son of the powerful Sarawak
chief minister Taib Mahmud.
Critics point out that its unit, CMS Cement, which is capable
producing some 2 million tons a year, has a near monopoly on cement
in Sarawak while another unit, CMS Steel, produces 300,000 tonnes
of steel bars and wire rods.
In 2004, the group announced that CMS Energy had been awarded
percent stake in a contract worth RM 130 million (30 million
dollars) for the "Design and Execution of the Hydraulic Steel
Structure Package" of the dam. The group is thus well placed
benefit from the dam's construction work, which requires huge
amounts of cement and steel.
Apart from the questionable justification for Bakun,
environmentalists are worried about the polluting effects of
smelters. Smelters emit perfluorocarbon (PFC), which is detrimental
to humans, animals and vegetation and has global warming potential.
''Communities in the adjacent areas would be affected by its
polluting emissions, once it is built,'' said Wong Meng Chuo,
college lecturer and social activist who spent many years working
among communities in Sarawak. "It is also of concern that
industry would bring changes to the social structure as well as
the cultural practices of the community.''
From experience, he said, such changes are always more of a
negative nature since the community is often ill prepared for
The smelter's impact on the natural environment "could be
devastating, especially in a developing country like ours where
and enforcement is lax''.
''I think it's a dirty industry,'' agreed the political analyst
who did not want to be identified. "We don't need it in Sarawak
a time when the environment has already been terribly degraded
through logging and the rivers polluted through siltation and
Source IPS Inter Press
: Mexican Peasants Fight Power Dam Project in Court
- Mexican peasants are taking their
fight against a new hydroelectric dam to the
courts, hoping to avoid more bloodshed as
thousands in one of Mexico's poorest corners fear
they will be forced off their land.
Mexico's state-owned CFE electricity utility says
communities around the proposed site of the La
Parota dam in the southwestern state of Guerrero
have signed in favor, but opposition groups have
gone to a local court saying the signatures were obtained unlawfully.
With two people killed and many injured in
clashes over the dam, the groups are also talking
to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and a
Latin American environmental tribunal, worried
that peasants will fight the CFE's bulldozers to the death.
"They are prepared to defend their land with
their lives," lawyer Vidulfo Rosales told a news conference.
"If the people say they will die before they let
this happen then how are they going to get them
out of their houses? We are only at the start of
this battle," said Priscila Rodriguez, a lawyer
and activist at Mexican human rights group CEMDA.
La Parota, a huge project aimed in part at
generating power for the fast-growing resort of
Acapulco, will flood an area of tropical forest
ten times the size of Acapulco's famous bay.
Expected to generate 900 megawatts when it starts
operation in 2012, it will cost about $1 billion.
The CFE hopes to invite bids for its construction
as soon as February, though project coordinator
Umberto Marengo said it will await the outcome of
the local court cases before proceeding.
Opponents of La Parota, who say they number
several thousand against a few hundred in favor,
have been fighting the project since 2003. Dozens
man roadblocks day and night, machetes slung over
their shoulders, to stop CFE engineers getting through.
Their lawyers say local political bosses bribed
locals with cash to sign in favor of the dam and
police used riot shields and tear gas to bar
opponents from vote-collecting meetings.
Some signatures were repeated or forged, they say.
"The assemblies were illegal. They bought
support. The whole thing is a farce, a lie," said
local activist Felipe Flores. "There have been
deaths, injuries, arrests and threats."
While those set to be displaced by the dam basin
are mostly against it, some of those living
nearby have been swayed by promises of new paved roads, schools
The CFE says La Parota will displace 3,000
people, who will be moved to new housing
elsewhere, but opponents put the figure at 25,000
with another 70,000 set to be hurt by changes in
the level of the river they rely on to irrigate their crops.
NEWS SERVICE 19.01.06
: Elbe / Labe River : Cyanide spill nets Czech chemical company
It all sounds
so familiar - an accident at a chemical plant, a huge toxic slick
drifting downstream, through cities and approaching the border
of a second country. But this time, rather than something that
happened in far-off China, the spill is closer to home in the
heart of Europe.
Czech news service, The Prague Daily Monitor, quotes a representative
of the Czech Environment Inspection Authority (CZIP) as saying the
concentration is gradually decreasing as the slick travels downstream
from the town of Kolin.
On Tuesday, January 17th an undisclosed, though obviously large,
quantity of cyanide escaped from a riverside chemical plant in
the Czech region of Bohemia and into the River Elbe (known locally
as the Labe) pushing reading up beyond 30 times national safety
limits. The owners of the factory, Draslovka, have put the cause
down to the malfunction of equipment that monitored toxicity in
stored waste water at the plant.
It has, however, already killed several tonnes of fish and had an
as-yet-unaccessed impact on the wider ecosystem.
"According to our information and examinations it is possible
to expect a large decrease in concentrations at the confluence of
the Elbe and Vltava rivers at Melnik in Central Bohemia and further
downstream," CZIP spokesman Petr Makovsky told the Monitor.
Though regulators are optimistic that the spill will have been diluted
sufficiently to no longer have any impact by the time it crosses
the German border, officials in Dresden and other relevant authorities
have been warned about the spill.
Close to the Czech border and in the path of the spill, Dresden
uses treated water from the Elbe to supply residents with drinking
The Draslovka chemical company could be fined as much as 10 million
Czech crowns (almost £240,000) for failure to keep its equipment
up and running.
By Sam Bond
: Communication from the commission on the promotion of inland
waterway transport "Naiades"
(An Integrated European Action Programme for Inland Waterway Transport)
of the European Commission in charge of transport, Jacques Barrot,
presented on 17 January a new action programme aimed at promoting
inland waterway transport. The action programme, called NAIADES
(Navigation And Inland Waterway Action and Development in Europe),
will run from 2006 to 2013.
seek to "re-balance the freight transport system", which
the Commission believes is currently too focused on the road sector.
"With a fleet of 11,000 vessels and a capacity equivalent
to 10,000 trains or 440,000 trucks, inland waterways can make
transport in Europe more efficient, reliable and environmentally
friendly," said Barrot.
focuses on five areas: (1) increasing market share, (2) modernising
the fleet, (3) attracting skilled labour, (4) improving the sector's
image and (5) building new infrastructure. New state aid guidelines
will be issued to "facilitate investment [
] and support
programmes for fleet modernisation and innovation".
says inland waterways are especially at risk in Central and Eastern
European countries, where road captures most of the market share
for freight. "At present only 7 to 10% of the Danube's maximum
capacity is actually used," the Commission points out. By
comparison, the sector has "conquered a significant modal
share" in the Benelux countries and France thanks to pro-active
policies over the past 10 to 15 years. Market share for inland
waterways is now at 40% in the Netherlands, the Commission indicated.
française - deutsche
: EU Commission adopts new directive to fight floods
The European Commission today proposed a directive
to help Member States prevent and limit floods, and their damaging
effects on human health, the environment, infrastructure and property.
Since 1998 floods in Europe have caused some 700 deaths, the displacement
of about half a million people and at least €25 billion in
insured economic losses. The new directive will require Member
States to carry out preliminary assessments to identify the river
basins and associated coastal areas at risk of flooding. Such
zones then will be subject to flood risk maps and flood risk management
plans. These plans will focus on prevention, protection and preparedness.
for the Environment Stavros Dimas said: Catastrophic floods
endanger lives and are likely to cause human tragedy as well as
heavy economic losses. This new directive will help Member States
chose the right tools with which to reduce the likelihood of floods
and limit their impacts. In particular, it aims to ensure that
Member States cooperate in shared river basins and coastal areas
to improve flood protection all over Europe.
and 2004, Europe suffered over 100 major damaging floods, including
the catastrophic floods along the Danube and Elbe rivers in the
summer 2002. Severe floods in 2005 further reinforced the need
for concerted action.
also have severe environmental consequences, when, for example,
installations holding large quantities of toxic chemicals are
- Flood risks
and costs likely to increase
The coming decades are likely to see a higher flood risk in Europe
and greater economic damage. Firstly, the scale and frequency
of floods are likely to increase due to climate change - which
will bring higher intensity of rainfall and rising sea levels.
In addition, failure to manage river systems properly can be compounded
by constructions in flood plains with the result of reducing the
areas capacity to absorb flood waters. Finally, an increasing
number of people live in areas at risk of flooding, and the number
of business and industry located in flood risk zones continues
- Why a Floods
In response to the 2002 floods, the Commission adopted a Communication
on flood risk management in 2004 to improve protection against
flooding, in which the need for Community legislation on flood
risk management was identified.
of Europes river basins are shared by more than one country,
concerted action at European level will result in better management
of flood risks. A binding legal instrument will ensure flood risks
are properly assessed, coordinated protection measures taken and
the public properly informed. This basic set of legal obligations
will create a firm basis for cooperation, while the Commission
will also continue to work with Member States on a voluntary basis
to exchange information and best practice.
- What does
the directive require?
The proposal creates an EU framework for flood risk management
that builds on and is closely coordinated with the 2000 Water
Framework Directive, the cornerstone of EU water protection
process is proposed. First, Member states will undertake a preliminary
flood risk assessment of their river basins and associated coastal
zones. Where real risks of flood damage exist, member states shall
then develop flood risk maps. Finally, flood risk management plans
must be drawn up for these zones. The management plans are to
include measures to reduce the probability of flooding and its
potential consequences. They will address all phases of the flood
risk management cycle but focus particularly on prevention (such
as preventing damage caused by floods by avoiding construction
of houses and industries in present and future flood-prone areas
or by adapting future developments to the risk of flooding) protection
(by taking measures to reduce the likelihood of floods and/or
the impact of floods in a specific location such as restoring
flood plains and wetlands) and preparedness (for instance through
providing instructions to the public on what to do in the event
In the case
of international river basins, these steps must be coordinated
between the member states concerned to prevent problems being
passed from one area to another. Active participation by all interested
parties in the development and updating of the flood risk management
plans will have to be ensured and the plans, risk assessments
and maps made public.
The proposal and accompanying documents, as well as other information
on EU water policy, can be found at:
complet text and more
information in english, german, and french : http://europa.eu.int/comm/environment/water/flood_risk/index.htm
source : EU via EEB 18.10.06
First international Water and Film Event (World Water Formum Mexico):
Registrations up to Registration is open as of the date of publication
of this call and up to January 31, 2006.
of water in cinema and audiovisual productions of all types, deserves
to be considered due to its great cultural wealth.
The 4th World
Water Forum, to be held in Mexico, will bring together thousands
of participants from countries throughout the world involved in
the water sector. It will be an occasion to demonstrate the importance
of cinema and culture in the search for solutions in relation
to the problems of water and in the development of a culture of
water in the general population.
reasons, we have decided to organize the First International Water
and Film Event, to be held from March 17 to 21, 2006, in the framework
of the 4th World Water Forum. During these five days, water will
be brought to the big screen through movies and audiovisual materials
in which it plays a central role.
and Film Event will focus on the deep and complex ties between
water and cinema. Its objective is to contribute to an appreciation
of water in its artistic, cultural, spiritual, and educational
dimensions. It will consider the way in which fictional films,
documentaries, news footage, educational movies, and awareness-raising
spots from all over the world, contribute to mobilizing all sectors
of society, educating and informing in relation to the major water-related
At the same
time, this Event will be an opportunity for dialogue and exchange
among the public, NGOs, and professionals from the world cinema
and the water sector.
information: in english http://www.worldwaterforum4.org.mx/home/fest_cine.asp?lan=
informationinspanish : http://www.worldwaterforum4.org.mx/home/fest_cine.asp?lan=spa
source : World Water Forum 4 / SIE Sécretariat international
1ère Rencontre internationale «Eau et cinéma»
(World Water Forum Mexique) : période de dépôt
des candidatures étendue jusqu'au 31 janvier 2006
Hydrologique International (PHI) co-organise cette rencontre,
qui sera l'un des moments forts du 4ème Forum Mondial de
l'eau, qui se tiendra à Mexico du 17 - 21 mars 2006 et
qui réunira plusieurs milliers de parties prenantes de
l'eau venues du monde entier. La synergie entre les deux événements
sera l'occasion de souligner le rôle du cinéma et
de la culture dans la recherche de solutions aux problèmes
de l'eau et dans l'ancrage de nos perceptions vis-à-vis
de cette ressource commune.
mettra l'accent sur la façon dont, à travers monde
entier, fictions, reportages, documentaires et films éducatifs
contribuent à la mobilisation de tous pour la résolution
des problèmes majeurs de l'eau dans le monde en reflétant
une diversité culturelle exceptionnelle. Cette Rencontre
Internationale sera également un lieu d'échanges
entre le grand public, les élus, les ONG ainsi que les
professionnels de l'eau et de l'audiovisuel.
plus en anglais :
en espagnol :http://www.worldwaterforum4.org.mx/home/fest_cine.asp?lan=spa
Journey diary on the scene of the site of the planned Ilisu Dam
Discover the place where the future Ilisu Dam, in Turkey, is
planned. A German traveller (by
Thomas Schmidinger) went to meet people in Hasankeyf, a remote
place of the Turkish Kurdistan, where the Turkish Government
plans to build an important dam on the Ilisu river. His diary
and photos are available on our web pages : http://www.rivernet.org/turquie/prs2006.htm#101205
(text in German only)
Get information on Ilisu Dam project : http://www.rivernet.org/turquie/welcome.htm
source : Stefan Michel / Thomas Schmidinger / www.jungle-world.com
Happy birthday, IRN !
International Rivers Network is 20 ! Since 1985, International
Rivers NEtwork is finghting to protect the rivers all over the
world and to amplify the voices of dam-affected communities, too
often forgotten by the stakeholders and the governments. Indeed,
IRN has led during all these years a global movement to oppose
environmentally and socially destructive dams. Another part of
its job is to advocate for better ways of meeting needs for energy
and for water.
European Rivers Network is quite happy to congratulate IRN for
this birthday and for all the impressive job done since 20 years
! We wish the IRN's team all the best for the next 20 years !
We also want here to thank again IRN and its Founder President
Phil Williams, which helped us a lot when ERN was created !
Learn more about IRN on its website : http://www.irn.org
: China Proposes Fewer Dams in Power Project to Aid Environment
(New York Times)
BEIJING, Thursday, Jan. 12 - A government environmental review
recommended reducing the number of dams included in a controversial
hydropower proposal on the Nu River in southwestern China in order
limit environmental damage and decrease the number of people who
be resettled, a Hong Kong newspaper has reported.
The newspaper, Wen Wei Po, which has ties to the Communist Party,
reported on Wednesday that the recommendation called for 4 dams
instead the 13 in the original Nu proposal. The article, citing
unnamed source close to the governmental review, said fewer dams
still meet "the needs for economic development and environmental
The project has been delayed for nearly two years, and it will
presented to the National Development and Reform Commission, a
powerful government ministry, and later to the State Council,
But the article also suggested that the full 13 dams had not
completely ruled out. The source described the four dams as "a
proposal" and said more study would be needed to assess the
The original Nu River proposal, which would generate more electricity
than the huge Three Gorges Dam, has become an international
controversy. Environmental groups inside and outside China have
for more openness and public input in deciding whether to go forward
on the project.
The environmental assessment report cited by the Hong Kong newspaper
has itself become a point of contention. A coalition of
environmentalists, lawyers, journalists and nongovernmental groups
called for the release of the report as well as public hearings
project. They cited a 2003 environmental law that required public
participation, including hearings, in deciding such major projects.
But the central government has refused to release the report
not yet called any hearings.
The Hong Kong newspaper said the Ministry of Water Resources
State Secrets Bureau had classified the report as a state secret.
The New York Times, By JIM YARDLEY
: California : Delta's health in rapid decline
By Mike Taugher/Knight
Ridder and Paul Rogers/Mercury News
of decline, the vital signs of California's delta --
the vast network of sloughs, marshes and farmland between Stockton
and Antioch that empties into San Francisco Bay and provides half
Silicon Valley's drinking water -- have suddenly plunged to new
Fish populations are falling. Aging levees are at risk of collapse.
Drinking water quality is uneven. And while California's population
continues to grow, so do questions about whether there is enough
water in the delta to serve the needs of burgeoning cities, farms
businesses without destroying its environment.
A political solution known as CalFed, set up a decade ago by the
state and federal government to address all the concerns, is itself
in peril, according to a broad range of officials and outside
is not an area that most Californians really resonate
with, the way they do with the coast or the Sierra,'' said Mary
Nichols, former California Resources Agency secretary who now
the Institute of the Environment at the University of California-Los
Angeles. ``We have a history of not paying attention until it's
late and then trying to restore things that have vanished.''
of sight for many, the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta
is vital to California's economy and ecology.
acres, the delta is nearly the size of Yosemite National
Park. Formed where the state's two largest rivers -- the Sacramento
and the San Joaquin -- meet before emptying into San Francisco
it was once thick with millions of birds and teeming with salmon.
the delta began to decline in the late 1800s when farmers and
builders diked, drained and filled its wetlands.
delta still provides a home to more than 50 types of fish,
225 bird species and 50 mammal species. Yet huge diversions of
-- sucked by pumps near Tracy and sent south in state and federal
aqueducts -- have driven fish such as the winter-run chinook salmon
and delta smelt to the endangered list.
remains California's most important water source, providing
drinking water for 23 million and irrigation for the Central Valley,
which produces 45 percent of U.S. fruits and vegetables.
Clara Valley Water District, which serves 1.9 million
people in Silicon Valley, draws nearly 50 percent of its water
the delta. The other half comes from pumping groundwater.
In 1994, after
decades of lawsuits, Gov. Pete Wilson and the Clinton
administration formed a team of federal and state agencies known
CalFed to try to restore the delta's environment while providing
water for population growth.
which includes more than 20 government agencies, has held
hundreds of public meetings and conducted countless studies under
mountains of paperwork, punctuated with bureaucratic jargon
impenetrable to all but the most hardy water lawyers and experts.
By the end
of this fiscal year, more than $3 billion will have been
spent on a program that was expected to bring across-the-board
of the four pillars of the plan is falling short.
Drinking water quality has worsened by some key measures. The
levees that hold the delta together remain largely neglected even
they have grown more vulnerable.
more water is being delivered out of the delta,
longstanding plans to increase delta pumping remain on hold while
water agencies express frustration over the lack of new reservoirs.
the delta ecosystem is on the brink of collapse. A
fish called the delta smelt, the key indicator of the delta's
health, is sliding toward extinction with alarming rapidity.
that CalFed has failed, and died, but that no one
directly involved is willing to admit it,'' Peter Gleick, president
of the Oakland-based environmental group Pacific Institute, said
letter to a state watchdog commission examining how the CalFed
program is run.
02.01.06 : "Future Dams -
Final Report of the Swedish Multistakeholder Process on WCD
Swedish Multistakeholder Dialogue on the WCD Recommendations
Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, P O Box 4625, SE-116
91 Stockholm, Sweden
In response to the growing controversy on large dams, the World
Commission on Dams (WCD) was established by the World Bank and
IUCN in 1998. The Commission's mandate was to:
" review the development effectiveness of large dams and
assess alternatives for water resources and energy development;
" develop internationally acceptable criteria, guidelines
and standards for the planning, design, appraisal, construction,
operation, monitoring and decommissioning of dams.
The 12 Commissioners came from a variety of backgrounds, representing
a broad spectrum of interests in large dams - including governments
and non-governmental organisations, dam operators and grassroots
people's movements, corporations and academics, industry associations
and consultants. The WCD relied on extensive public consultation
and many background studies and submissions.
The Commission's final report, Dams and Development: A New Framework
for Decision-Making, was released in November 2000, and can be
downloaded in English or Spanish att www.dams.org (an overview
of the report is available in nine languages).
During 2004 and 2005 a dialogue process among a broad group of
stakeholders - industry, government, academics and NGOs - is taking
place in Sweden . The purpose is to develop a common policy on
large-scale water infrastructure development and is a national
level follow-up initiative to discuss the recommendations from
the World Commission on Dams.
2. WHY A NATIONAL LEVEL FOLLOW-UP INITIATIVE?
Sweden played a significant role in the success of the World
Commission on Dams initiative
providing important financial support (third largest donor) and
various Swedish stakeholders monitored and participated in the
proceedings of the Commission. After the launch of the WCD report
only four of the Swedish stakeholders declared their support for
the WCD recommendations; Sida, the national ODA agency, construction
company Skanska and NGOs Swedish Society for Nature Conservation
(SSNC) and WWF-Sweden. The remaining interested parties; other
parts of industry, the national Export Credit Agency ("EKN"),
ministries, bank etc either took a "non-position" or
held contradictory views to the four stakeholders that welcomed
This meant that a difficult situation arose because of the lack
of coherence among crucial stakeholders on the momentous issue
on what regulatory frameworks should guide Swedish
involvement in and support for dam building and other large-scale
infrastructure in the developing world
(Since a moratorium on domestic large dam building in was declared
by the Swedish parliament in 1987 no new dams have been launched
in Sweden. However, engineering companies and consultants frequently
are awarded contracts for dam building in the developing world
and Sida and EKN still provides financing for water infrastructure
For example was EKN ready to provide guarantees to the Ugandan
government in 2002 in support of the controversial Bujagali dam.
While Sida rejected a proposal to give bilateral aid to the very
same project. Other examples of this lack of common standards
abounded and fears of a "Race to the bottom" -situation
arose when future recipients of Swedish support for dam building
could "shop around" among different agencies and companies
to find out who had the "lowest" WCD standards and were
ready to accept a project proposal that those with a higher level
of WCD compliance would not have accepted.
3. THE CREATION OF THE SWEDISH MULTISTAKEHOLDER DIALOGUE
The lack of coherence among Swedish stakeholders and disagreement
in government as to what ministry should be responsible for implementation
meant that a "window of opportunity" opened for NGOs
get a dialogue to create a common Swedish position on the WCD
Several seminars were organized by SSNC and WWF Sweden on the
WCD report and a recurring theme at these where presentations
of successful national dialogues from other countries. On the
very final in seminar in March 2004 the Swedish minister for environment
H.E Ms Lena Sommestad expressed her support for the creation of
a Swedish multistakeholder dialogue on the WCD recommendations
according to a proposal put forward by SSNC and WWF. Swedish Water
House (SWH, http://www.swedishwaterhouse.se/) - funded by the
Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Sustainable Development
was elected as a neutral facilitator. In May 2004 the first meeting
of the multistakeholder dialogue was organized.
4. THE PURPOSE OF THE SWEDISH MULTISTAKEHOLDER DIALOGUE
The overarching purpose with this specific process was to establish
criteria that can assist actors to identify what could be considered
to be ecologically, socially or economically unsustainable dams
or other large-scale water infrastructure projects and thus also
form the basis to determine if future Swedish involvement in such
projects is appropriate or not. The output is expected to be a
jointly accepted policy document with recommendations targeting
Swedish actors. The dialogue has never intended to copy or correct
the WCD's immense efforts but to "fine-tune" and adapt
the already existing recommendations to the context Swedish stakeholders
work within and hence make the guidelines more relevant and useful..
During the process the following was also discussed:
" What positions the main Swedish stakeholders have taken
on the WCD report and in which way the WCD recommendations influence
their strategies and policies
" Identify "gaps" - both among the stakeholders'
positions and in relation to the Swedish policy for global development
The stakeholder dialogue process consisted of both restricted
working group meetings, but also open seminars and hearings. The
process is expected to last over a period of 15 months and will
therefore end in December 2005 when the final report - including
the criteria agreed upon - will be officially handed over to the
Ministries of Environment and Foreign Affairs.
5. WORK PLAN AND OUTCOME OF THE DIALOGUE
15 different stakeholders representing industry, government, academia
and NGOs were identified and invited to participate in the dialogue
by an independent consultant - hired by the Swedish Water House
- that serves as facilitator.
After the facilitator had solicited the participants' expectations
of the dialogue a work plan was presented to and accepted by the
group. The first of a series of monthly meetings was then called
where procedures for the dialogue was agreed upon. It was agreed
that the world-famous Chatham House Rule should be adhered to
in order to encourage openness and the sharing of information.
The rule reads "when a meeting, or part thereof, is held
under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the
information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation
of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed".
This enabled the discussions to be conducted in an open and friendly
atmosphere and that differing opinions could eventually amalgamate
into consensus. Consensus was an over-arching goal of the entire
dialogue. Should we present different opinions on the validity
of the WCD recommendations nothing would be gained from this process
and we would be back at "square one"
The eventual outcome of the dialogue is a 16 -page document -
"Future Dams" - where all stakeholders declare their
commitment to the WCD findings. For each of the seven strategic
priorities suggested by WCD the Swedish multistakeholder dialogue
has agreed on a set of recommendations - 25 altogether - as how
to implement the aims and goals by Swedish stakeholders. This
means that we substitute the 26 WCD guidelines - but not the "spirit"
in these - with recommendations in order to make the WCD's findings
more relevant to Swedish involvement in construction and financing
of large-scale water infrastructure.
After processing the document by an editorial committee elected
by the stakeholders the document was formerly accepted by all
participants of the Dialogue in September 2005 and signed by all.
The finalized document was published with an attractive layout
and presented to the Minister of Environment Ms Lena Sommestad
on November 28th 2005.
As already mentioned, the document is based on a common understanding
between Swedish stakeholders on how to assure that their involvement
in future construction of large-scale infrastructure is done in
a sustainable way and also will help poverty alleviation. It is
therefore hoped that the recommendations included will form an
important work of reference for industry and financial institutions
wishing to upgrade their sustainability policies as well as provide
ideas on how to improve the legal systems guiding Sweden's development
aid in this crucial sector.
download the complet
pdf file from RiverNet 1MB