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    "Newer" News


  • 30.04.00 : Dam building in Lesotho : Multinationals judged for corruption
  • 27.04.00 : USA : Odgen corp. barraged with calls urging company to withdraw from notorious dam
  • 27.04.00 : International River-Film Festival in Spain (June 30 to July 6, 2000)
  • 27.04.00 : New dams report criticises the track record of European firms
  • 26.04.00 : New currents in the Narmada river dam situation
  • 26.04.00 : Design, weather caused Romanian cyanide spill - UN
  • 25.04.00 : Goldman Prize Winners: Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things
  • 25.04.00 : Thailand / Pak Moon Dam: Let river run free, village leaders say "Open the gates and the fish will return"
  • 21.04.00 : International Waterways Conference
  • 19.04.00 : WWF-Studie zeigt Erfolge und Konflikte bei Flussrenaturierungen in Deutschland und Europa
  • 20.04.00 : Ankündiging: 3. Internationales Rhein-Symposium

    older news

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30.04.00 : Dam building in Lesotho : Multinationals judged for corruption

It takes two to tango when it comes to corruption

Sunday Times Editorial

A LANDMARK case against international corruption begins in the Maseru High Court this week, with a number of huge companies in the dock on charges of bribery.

These multinational companies have all been involved in building or tendering for aspects of the massive hydroelectric dam project in the mountains of Lesotho. They are charged with improperly paying millions of rands in foreign currency to intermediaries who, after taking a cut, deposited the balance into a secret Swiss bank account held in the name of the top executive of the dam project.

The consortiums have not yet been asked to plead, and we carefully avoid prejudging the question of whether they are guilty of the crimes with which they are to be charged.

But the trial raises several important legal issues likely to be significant for any subsequent case of this kind.

One is the difficulty of proving bribery if it means showing exactly what favours were exchanged for what payments.

Suppose the prosecution has evidence of money paid secretly by big business into the pockets of someone in a position to influence decisions in their favour; suppose the executive concerned takes the money without declaring it to the authorities; that all this takes place at the very time that tenders and contracts are being considered and awarded; and that no one involved offers any satisfactory explanation. Would this be sufficient for a conviction?

Another problem is the question of jurisdiction. Would the court of any country be entitled to charge and sentence companies whose head offices and chief executives are based on the other side of the world?

But the case also illustrates that there is another side to the popular view of the Third World as almost inherently corrupt and corruptible. It takes two to tango. If influential government officials in a developing country are offered enormous bribes and succumb to the temptation, the fault must be shared equally by those who offer the funds to secure some considerable unfair advantage for themselves.

Often those with the cash to spend on tempting officials come from the wealthier parts of the world, and from those very countries whose governments and business communities complain about the corrupt practices of the Third World.

African delegates to the AfricaEurope summit in Cairo earlier this month made this point strongly: when donors and investors complain about corruption in Africa, they neglect to consider the inevitable partners in crime - those First World conglomerates which offer huge and illegal financial incentives to secure business for themselves.

They corrupt officials and whole societies with offers of unimaginable wealth, and then, when their contract is complete, they pull out and return to Europe or the US, leaving widespread moral and financial contamination in their wake.

It is a serious problem which must be urgently addressed to ensure that blame is properly apportioned, that corruption is stamped out and that development funds are properly spent so that the poorest nations of the world can finally experience some improvements in their lives. Many governments have complained about international corruption and its impact on their societies; many say they have committed themselves to taking tough action against it.

But so far, only Lesotho has actually done anything to charge those it suspects of such cross-border crimes. Last year, the Maseru government passed the Prevention of Corruption and Economic Offences Act, making it easier to deal with future corruption of this kind. Now it is fighting a determined battle to expose the truth behind allegations of large-scale bribery associated with its hydroelectric dam project.

It is a nice irony that this small, isolated country should be setting an example to the rest of the world.

27.04.00 : New dams report criticises the track record of European firms

European firms are violating people's rights, ruining local environments and enriching themselves by building dams overseas, despite a litany of failures and abuses examined in a report published this month.

The report 'Dams Incorporated: The Record of Twelve European Dam Building Companies', by Dorset-based group The Corner House, calls for laws to curtail the industry's "power to oppress", including holding them to the same environmental, social and economic standards when working overseas to which they are at home.

The report is to be submitted for consideration to the World Commission on Dams. The twelve firms - ABB (UK-based, Swiss), Balfour Beatty (UK), Coyne et Bellier (Fra), Electrowatt (Swiss), Impregilo (Ita), Knight Piesold (UK), Kvaerner (Swed), Lahmeyer (Ger), Siemens (Ger), Skanska (Swed), Sogreah (Fra) and VA Tech (Austria) - have built, or are building, some of the most destructive dams in the world.

These dams include* Ilisu - a Turkish dam project that opponents say is being used to eradicate the Kurds as an ethnic group;* Lesotho Highlands - where a $2m case of dam bribery involving 20 or more foreign firms is now being prosecuted in a local court; * Itaipu and Yacyreta - the most infamous examples of hydro-corruption, on the border of Paraguay and Argentina. The combined cost of the two dams was more than $30 billion - it should have been a little over $7 billion; * Chixoy - where Guatemalan armed forces massacred more than 400 Maya Achi indigenous people; * Pangue and Ralco - in Chile, where local people were not consulted before the projects were started; * Three Gorges - where 1.3 million Chinese people will be forced from their homes.

Europe's dam builders are exporting technology that has been discredited at home. They are increasingly looking to private sector funding, often underwritten by export credit guarantees. "Not only have the companies continued to remain involved in projects where human rights abuses have been demonstrated or where resettlement plans have been inadequate," the report says, "they have in many cases actively promoted such projects against local opposition and often in contravention of their own corporate >>environmental guidelines."

"It is hoped that the report will provide local communities, host governments and potential investors with information to help assess the probity, reliability and ethical standards of the companies involved."

"Many dam-affected communities are now calling for reparations. It is time to hold Europe's dam building companies accountable for their past. Documenting their record is key to that process," the report says. "It is also hoped that a knowledge of the record of European dam builders could help European citizens who are demanding that the companies which operate from their countries, often with the backing of their tax-payers' money, and certainly with their governments' blessing, are held accountable for >>their actions abroad."

The introduction to the report calls for a range of policy changes that should be made if the European dam building industry's power to oppress is to be curtailed.

For further media inquiries, please contact: Nick Hildyard +44 (0)1258-473795, email or Matthew Grainger +44 (0)1865-249392, email

26.04.00 : Design, weather caused Romanian cyanide spill - UN

ROMANIA: April 26, 2000

GENEVA - A U.N. report has blamed technical problems and bad weather for a spill of slurry containing cyanide from a Romanian gold mine in January. The spill from a mine in northwest Romania on January 30 killed large numbers of fish in the Tisza and Danube rivers in Hungary and Yugoslavia.

The U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) report cited "a combination of inherent design deficiencies in the industrial processes involved, inadequate operating conditions and bad weather" as probable causes for the accident at the mine near Baia Mare. The mine's proprietor, Aurul SA, is half-owned by Australia's Esmeralda Exploration Ltd. Romanian environment officials suspended Aurul's operating licence and launched a criminal investigation after a tailings dam at the mine broke, releasing the toxic slurry. The governments of Romania, Hungary and Yugoslavia had asked for an independent report on the spill. The report warned of possible "chronic health impacts" from the spill, given that it had occurred in an area "already contaminated with heavy metals due to a long history of mining and metal processing". "The region's large number of poorly maintained and operated plants and flotation ponds containing dangerous substances - many of which continue to leak - are the source of a chronic pollution problem," it said. UNEP experts recommended that Romania weigh the benefits of mining operations inherited from the communist era against environmental risks. They also called on countries in the region to draft a joint strategy on mining and related industries, as well as tourism and fishing, which suffered losses after the spill.

Source : ENS :

For furher information as well as the complete UNEP report :

27.04.00 : International River-Film Festival in Spain (June 30 to July 6, 2000)

The River Film-Festival aims to be a meeting and reference point from which to consider many rivers as a source of richness, and as a cultural tie between people who know of their strengths and as a point of attraction to all kinds of activities related to their environment and riverbed. The rivers, and their changing valleys, are the veins that water the Earth. The Festival hopes to gather, every year, the worldwide concern for the vitality and pertinence of this water (riverwater?) and for all rivers’s health that must nourish us for many centuries. For these reasons, the Festival intends to be a showcase of audiovisual productions divided into three different categories:

A. River is life River’s human and geological history. Population and traditions. Traditional fluvial activities. Fluvial industries and transports. Pollution and cleaning.

B. River’s strength Taking benefit from a river’s water. Channels and straits. Water mills. Hydroelectrical industries. Conservation of the fluvial industry patrimony. Natural disasters: overflows and floods.

C. Rivers and adventures Trips and descents. Expeditions. The heroes of the river. River sports: fishing, kayaking, rafting, canyoning, ... Paths, tracks and roads by the riverbed.

Festival showings: place: Sort (Pallars Sobirŕ) - Lleida - Spain dates: from June 30 to July 6, 2000

27.04.00 : Odgen corp. barraged with calls urging company to withdraw from notorious dam

NY-based Ogden Corporation is today being barraged with calls, faxes and emails urging the company to withdraw from the controversial Maheshwar Dam on India's Narmada River. The 400 megawatt Maheshwar hydropower project is fiercely opposed by the Narmada Bachao Andolan (Save the Narmada Movement), which represents tens of thousands of >local people, as well as by other Indian and international human rights and environment groups because of its social, environmental and economic impacts.

International Rivers Network (IRN) and Friends of the Narmada, an international coalition of activists fighting dams on the NarmadaRiver, have organized "Barrage Ogden Day" as part of a long-term campaign against foreign involvement in destructive dams on the Narmada River.

"By supporting the Maheshwar Dam, Ogden is contributing to human rights abuses and the destruction of the livelihoods of tens of thousands of people. Both local people and their international supporters are determined that this dam will not be built. Ogden should cut its losses and get out now," says Patrick McCully,Campaigns Director of IRN.

The Maheshwar Dam would affect more than 35,000 farmers, wage laborers, fishers and crafts people in 61 villages and submerge about 1,100 hectares of rich agricultural land. Independent investigations have found that resettlement planning for the project is totally inadequate and that no land is available for resettlement as required by law. Project opponents claim that power from the dam will be prohibitively expensive and that Indians will have to subsidize foreign involvement in the uneconomic project.

People affected by the dam are determined that they will never let it be built. Over the last two years, thousands of farming families have occupied the dam site nine times, barricaded all roads leading to the dam for three months, and held mass demonstrations and hunger strikes opposing the dam.

On March 23, Ogden signed a Memorandum of Intent to develop the project, as part of U.S. President Bill Clinton's state visit to India. Chicago firm Harza Engineering Company of Chicago has been contracted as a consultant to Ogden. The dam's serious financial risks and the intense opposition to it caused U.S. power utility PacifiCorp to back out of the project in 1998, and German utilities Bayernwerk and VEW Energie to pull out in April 1999.

Ogden Corporation is a conglomerate with interests in the airline services, entertainment, environmental and energy sectors. The company has no experience with large dam projects. Its current portfolio contains only six small hydroelectric dams (four in the US and two in Costa Rica) with an average generating capacity of about 20 megawatts each.

Some of the company's ventures include the Wet 'n Wild Waterpark in Las Vegas, the Iguazu Grand Hotel Resort & Casino in Brazil, and the expansion of Bogota's Eldorado International Airport. Ogden has been embroiled in controversy because of its promotion of waste incinerators and its blocking of efforts by some of its food service employees to unionize. Fortune magazine recently voted Ogden's board of directors as one of America's worst.

When Ogden's interest in the Maheshwar Dam was first reported in late1999, local people wrote to the company insisting that Ogden representatives should visit the affected villages before deciding on their investment. In February 2000, nearly 300 elected representatives of the affected area sent Ogden a resolution opposing the project. The only encounter between Ogden and affected people occurred two days after the Memorandum of Intent was signed. Ogden Vice President >Kent Burton was helicoptered into the damsite where he encountered four villagers who had forced their way past security officials to speak to him. Burton later tried to visit one of the affected villages and was unable to get out of his car because it was surrounded by angry villagers.

Despite this hostile reaction, Ogden has said that the project "offers significant benefits to the people of the region" who are "voicing their support in increasing numbers and are encouraging us to move toward completion as rapidly as possible."

For more information, go to or or contact

Patrick McCully, International Rivers Network, California, US, +1 510-848-1155 (w) +1 510-528-2930 (h) or

Venu Govindu, Friends of the Narmada, New Jersey, US, +1 609-799-5907 (h) +1 609-951-2823 (w) or

Chittaroopa Palit, Narmada Bachao Andolan, Badwani, Madhya Pradesh, +91-272 9022464 or

Himanshu Thakkar, South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People, India, +91 11 748 4654 or

International Rivers Network (IRN) is a US-based nongovernmental organization which supports local communities working to protect their rivers and watersheds. IRN works to halt destructive river development projects, and to encourage equitable and sustainable methods of meeting needs for water, energy and flood management.


26.04.00 : New currents in the Narmada river dam situation

IN 1979, the government of India cleared plans for the building of 30 large, 135 medium and 3,000 small dams on the Narmada river. The Narmada project will rob hundreds of thousands of people living along the river's banks of their homes and cultivable lands and forests. For the last fifteen years, the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), or the Save the Narmada Movement, an organization of the dam-affected people, has struggled against the powerful entities that have backed the construction of these dams.

The Maheshwar dam will dam the Namada river in the state ofMadhya Pradesh and submerge the homes, villages and means of livelihood of over 35,000 people. On the 23rd of March, 2000,the Ogden Energy Group, a power utility from the U.S., signed a Memorandum of Intent to invest 49% of the equity of Maheshwar dam. Primarily because the government of Madhya Pradesh appears completely unable to provide the dam-displaced people with equivalent land, the NBA is opposing Ogden's decision to start generating electricity at Maheshwar dam.

We will be discussing these issues with U.S. based environmentalists and South Asian community activists whosupport the NBA's stand, as well as a spokesperson from Ogden Corporation.

Our guests will include:Sheila Ghose Narmada: Solidarity Coalition of New York Venu Govindu: Friends of the Narmada Patrick McCully: International Rivers Network Kent Burton: Senior Vice President, Policy and Communications, the Ogden Corporation

The program is co-hosted by Chandana Mathur and Aniruddha Das of APF (Asia Pacific Forum) and the SAMAR collectiveAsia Pacific Forum is New York's pan-Asian radio program, broadcast each Wednesday night at 9-10 pm on WBAI-FM, 99.5, New York City, and live on the Web at For more information on APF and to get more information about this evening's program, or other programs, please contact us viaemail:; phone: (212) 209-2991; fax (WBAI): (212) 747-1698; or mail: Asian Pacific Forum, WBAI 99.5 FM, 120 Wall St., 10th Floor, NY, NY 10005.

25.04.00 : Thailand / Pak Moon Dam: Let river run free, village leaders say "Open the gates and the fish will return"

(Sanitsuda Ekachai in Ubon Ratchathani, Bangkoko Post, April 21, 2000)

People who lost their land and livelihood to the Pak Moon dam will petitionthe Electricity Generating Authority next month to halt operations and open the gates to let the river run free. Thongjaroen Sihadham, leader of the villagers, said it would become clear in just a year if fish would return to a free-flowing Moon from the Mekong.

Villagers say the dam, at the confluence of the rivers, obstructs fish migration and has decimated stocks and diversity in the Moon, which had fed many provinces in the Northeast.

They say the dam, with a capacity to generate 136 megawatts, produces an average of 40 and nothing during the rainy season. Nor does it provide the irrigation benefits that had been promised.

Calls for the demolition of the dam were made at the site yesterday as reformers gathered to discuss development projects that work against the interests of ordinary people.

Sulak Sivaraksa, the social critic, strongly supported the call to demolish the dam given its failure to meet its initial goals in generation and irrigation.

"The villagers want their livelihood back," he said.

Anand Panyarachun, former prime minister, and Prawase Wasi, reform activist, called for dialogue between villagers and the authorities.

Mr Anand said the government should put the villagers on an equal footing to consider if the dam had its goals. And if not, it should admit mistakes.

Villagers should set aside old grudges and enter into negotiations on the understanding that neither side will emerge fully satisfied.

They agreed, however, that the misery of the dam victims testified to the country's development failure. Pak Moon villagers were among countless rural people made poor by an unequal power structure and mainstream development policies which destroy nature and rural communities to support industrial growth and urban affluence.

Discussing the solutions for the poor, Prof Saneh Chamarik urged people's movements to join forces to push for land reform. Rather than follow state thinking that bases reform on private ownership and chemical farming, he said the goal should be to revive communal ownership, bonding and the ecology.

By doing so, villagers can preserve the country's biodiversity and local knowledge that are essential to survival at the community and national levels, he said.

Mr Anand and Prof Prawase urged the governments to switch development strategies from creating wealth to tackling poverty directly. Thetrickle-down theory had never worked and wealth ended up in the hands of the few. Prof Prawase also urged the media to be more sympathetic to the poor.

Contacts :

Southeast Asia Rivers Network (SEARIN) 25/5 Moo 2 Soi Sukhapiban 27 Changkhien-Jed yod Rd. Chang Phuek Muang Chiang Mai 50300 Thailand Tel&Fax (66) 53-221157 Email:


25.04.00 : Goldman Prize Winners: Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things

SAN FRANCISCO, California, April 17, 2000 (ENS) - Winners of the Year 2000 Goldman Environmental Prize - the world's richest prize for grassroots environmental activists - were announced today in San Francisco. One from each of the six continents, each was awarded a grant of $125,000. They had been nominated by a network of internationally known environmental organizations and a confidential panel of environmental experts. The awards will be presented at a ceremony this evening at the San Francisco War Memorial Opera House.

more information :

25.04.00 : Les laureats du Prix Goldman : des gens ordinaires qui accomplissent des choses extraordinaire.

SAN FRANSISCO, Californie, 17 avril 2000, ENS :

Les lauréats de l'année 2000 du Prix Goldman pour l'Environnement ont été désignés aujourd'hui ŕ San Fransisco. Ce prix récompense par une somme trčs importante des activistes oeuvrant pour la protection de l'environnement. Les six gagnants (un par continent) ont reçu 125 000 dollars. Ils ont été nommés par un réseau d'organisations environnementales de renommée internationale et par un groupe d'expert en matičre d'environnement. Les récompenses seront delivrées ce soir au cours d'une cérémonie au War Memorial Opera House de San Fransisco.

plus d'information :

21.04.00 : International Waterways Conference

June 13-15 in Koenigswinter, Germany

The background of the conference is the worldwide transformation of rivers in favor of economic advantage. The consequences of river regulations are often very serious. When a project is planned, normally there are discussions about higher productivity of transportation. The effects concerning other social groups, who live on and with the rivers are kept underexposed. If such a plan becomes known, a long process follows in which other users and affected people have to fight for their consideration and interests. Alternatives to these projects are not considered enough.

An example for such a process is the planned Waterway Paraná-Paraguay (Hidrovía) in South America. Here the population should be faced with completed facts. Only after intervention of indigenous population and different Ecological and Human Rights Organizations against the project, economical and ecological studies were ordered. The result was, that the Interamerican Development Bank drew back the credits. Representatives of indigenous and other NGOs from Brazil and Argentina will participate at the conference and report on their experience which they could collect during their efforts preventing the negative effects of the Hidrovía.

Representatives of governments and NGOs from the United States will have speeches about the effects of the enormous regulations taken on the Mississippi in past times. Today they have to rebuilt these measures.

In Europe there are plans for infrastructure projects. For example the Trans-European Network which will be created with support of the European Commission and which will link East-European waterways (especially in Poland) with Germany (Elbe, Oder, Rhine-Main-Danube) and Austria (Danube). Representatives of Poland will report on the conference on the ongoing developments and we will hear perspectives about the Rhine.

The aims at this conference are, to address all considered interest groups to discuss the concrete ecological, economical, social and political problems together and to develop key concepts in four different workshops for a sustainable utilization of rivers. The planned panel discussion intends to show an example of how discussions between different interest groups could be led and which in a similar way would be desirable for projects in the future.

On the second day of conference we invite you to an excursion on a boat on the Rhine to Cologne. There we will meet Mr. Vogt from the city of Cologne, where he works for the flood protection. The third day of conference is intended for the NGOs. The aims at this day are to develop a common position and to create a network between NGOs in Germany and Europe, as also with NGOs in North and South America. It will be necessary, to find common answers to new projects. The answers of the >workshops on the first day of the conference will serve to develop a paper, which could be useful in co-operations with decision makers who sit in positions of economy and politics.We would be pleased to welcome you on our conference.

The German Hidrovía-Co-ordination information :

Conference co-ordinator Dr. Edith Wenger, WWF-Auen-Institut, Josefstr.1, D-76437 Rastatt, Germany, Phone +49-7222-3807-20, Fax +49-7222-3807-99, e-mail

Conference secretaries Ms. Melanie Klimmer, Hauptstr.41, D-37083 Göttingen, Germany, Phone +49-551-376431, e-mail or Mr. Jörg Handrack, Schillstr.9, D-34125 Kassel, Germany, e-mail

20.04.00: Ankündigung des 3. Internationales Rhein-Symposium 15. - 17. Juni 2000

more information in english
plus d'info en français
Mittwoch ab 9:30 Uhr Kongress Zentrum West Köln Messe. IKSR und Stadt Köln laden zur Tagung. Ökologie und Hochwasservorsorge. Mehr Raum für den Rhein mehr Wasserrückhalt in der Fläche. 150,- EUR inkl Mittag. Fax: (0221) 258 10 84 e-mail:
für mehr Infos in deutsch

19.04.00 : WWF-Studie zeigt Erfolge und Konflikte bei Flussrenaturierungen in Deutschland und Europa

Bremen, 19. April 2000. An praktisch allen Fluessen in Europa hat der Mensch zerstoerend eingegriffen. Um sie wenigstens teilweise wieder zu funktionsfaehigen natuerlichen Lebensraeumen zu entwickeln, engagiert sich die Umweltstiftung World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) zur Zeit in 71 Renaturierungs-Projekten in Europa. Eine heute in Bremen vorgestellte Studie fasst die Erfahrungen aus zehn dieser Projekte zusammen, darunter die Wuemmewiesen bei Bremen, Gebiete am Rhein, aber auch im rumaenischen Donaudelta. So findet man an der Wuemme wieder vermehrt Tiere wie den seltenen Otter; Konflikte mit Nutzergruppen wie Sportfischern konnten entschaerft werden.

Fuer Christoph Zoeckler, der im Auftrag des WWF International die Studie erstellte, zeigte sich, dass Renaturierungen erst dann sinnvoll sind, wenn sie mehr als nur einzelne Flussabschnitte umfassen. "Tiere wie der Biber und der Otter brauchen grossraeumige, verzweigte Gewaesserlaeufe, um wieder heimisch zu werden", erlaeuterte der Biologe Zoeckler. Auch wandernde Fische wie der Lachs seien darauf angewiesen, dass ein Gewaesser durchgaengig und nicht durch unueberwindliche Hindernisse wie Wehre und Staustufen versperrt sei. "Diese Probleme loest man nur, indem man demFluss mehr Raum laesst, um sich auszubreiten", resuemierte Zoeckler. Dies gelang dem WWF im rumaenischen Donaudelta, wo seit den 60er Jahren fast 40.000 Hektar trockengelegt worden waren. Der WWF und seine Projektpartner oeffneten seit 1990 an einigen Stellen die Deiche und schlossen die Gebiete wieder an das natuerliche Ueberflutungsgeschehen an. Heute tummeln sich ueber zwanzig Fischarten an Stellen, an denen es vor der Renaturierung nur noch eine Fischart gab. Gerade im dichtbesiedelten Mitteleuropa ist es jedoch nicht ueberall moeglich, den Fluss und seine Auen sich selbst zu ueberlassen. Verhindert werden muesse aber, dass immer wieder wertvolle Feuchtgebiete verloren gehen: Eine weitere Bebauung an Fluessen oder intensive Formen der Nutzung lehnt der WWF ab. Jeder ueberbaute Hektar in der Flussaue verschaerfe zudem die Hochwassergefahr.

Der WWF fordert auch, Geld bewusster einzusetzen: "Oft finden parallel Schaedigungen und Wiedergutmachungen am gleichen Fluss statt - dies ist reine Geldverschwendung", betonte Zoeckler. Denn: "Die schaedlichen Eingriffe von heute sind die Renaturierungskosten von morgen!" Dass eine Flussrenaturierung sogar wirtschaftliche Vorteile bringt, zeigt ein Beispiel im Donaudelta. Seit die Fische in den ehemaligen Polder Babina zurueckgekehrt sind, koennen sich 15 Fischer wieder - ganz wie frueher - vom Fischfang ernaehren. In Deutschland zieht unter anderem der Tourismus Nutzen aus naturnahen Flusslandschaften.

Die Wuemme bei Bremen schaetzen nicht nur Ausfluegler, sondern auch Sportfischer und Kanuten nutzen den Fluss. "Als Anfang der 80er Jahre bekannt wurde, dass die Borgfelder Wuemmewiesen unter Naturschutz gestellt werden sollen, gab es zunaechst viel Widerstand von Nutzern wie den Anglern", erinnert sich Gunnar Oertel, Leiter des WWF-Projektbueros Wuemmewiesen. Er ist stolz darauf, dass die Sportfischer heute eng mit dem Naturschutz zusammenarbeiten. "Als eine Folge der Renaturierung nahm der Fischreichtum in der Wuemme wieder zu. Die Angler erkannten, dass dies auch in ihrem Interesse liegt." Das habe sie darueber hinweggetroestet, dass das Angeln heute an weniger Stellen moeglich ist. Als Schluessel zum Erfolg sieht Oertel den Ankauf von mehr als 300 Hektar landwirtschaftlichen Flaechen in den Borgfelder Wuemmewiesen. Man koenne keinem Landwirt zumuten, dass die Weiden, wo bisher Kuehe grasten, kuenftig haeufig ueberschwemmt sind. "Wenn der Naturschutz jedoch selbst Eigentuemer ist, lassen sich viele Konflikte vermeiden", sagte er. Verblueffend schnell hat sich an der Wuemme nun wieder eine naturnahe Pflanzenwelt eingestellt. Der Fischotter hat sich ausgebreitet und die Gruene Keiljungfer, eine gefaehrdete Libellenart, ist heimisch geworden. Zur Finanzierung der Flaechen beigetragen haben neben dem Bundesumweltministerium und dem Land Bremen seit 1990 auch der WWF-Foerderkreis Wuemmewiesen.

Weitere Informationen erhalten Sie bei:

Gunnar Oertel, WWF-Projektbuero Wuemmewiesen, Tel.: 0 421/71006, Fax: 79 >49 393 Anja Rech, Pressereferentin im WWF-Auen-Institut, Tel.: 0 171 / 589 72 26 >E-Mail:, Internet:

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These pages and their content are © Copyright of European Rivers Network.
For more information, remarks or propositions, send us a message !.