Archive : Pressreleases / Communiqués / Pressemitteilungen 
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29.10.12 : Europe : Turkey : Hydropower capacity to hit 310GW by 2050

ENDS Europ

Hydropower capacity in the European region plus Turkey will reach 310 gigawatts by 2050, with an electricity production of about 915 terawatt hours, the International Energy Agency (IEA) predicted in a report on Monday.

This is more than in North America and Russia, whose capacity is expected to increase to 215GW and 145GW respectively, according to the agency's latest roadmap on the development and deployment of low-carbon technologies.

An Eurelectric report from last year, which is cited by the IEA, has estimated that a further 660TWh of electricity a year could be generated from hydropower in the EU-27 plus Croatia, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey.

But the IEA points out that legislative requirements in the EU such as obligations under the river basin management plans will limit hydropower development.

In France for example, the agency notes that "the overall [technically achievable] potential... has been assessed at 95TWh/y, but taking the strongest environmental protection in full account brings the total to 80TWh".

In some cases, the Water Framework Directive (WFD) will cut hydropower generation in the EU as installations will have to let more water to bypass them.

In contrast, global hydropower capacity is foreseen as doubling from the current 1,000GW by 2050. This would save up to three billion tonnes of CO2 per year, excluding methane emissions from reservoirs. The impact of decomposing vegetation is hard to generalise and is still being investigated.

To meet the predictions, countries should assess their hydropower potential at river basin level, including options to upgrade existing units, and collaborate on technologies. Development plans with targets are also needed.

The report notes that hydropower can be used to balance the output of variable renewables such as wind and solar, offering an alternative to coal or gas.

Hydropower-dominated Norway already does this through its connection to the wind-reliant Danish grid. The system has offset the need for Norway to build thermal plants for use in drier years. Plans for further undersea connections will provide a greater market for Norwegian hydropower. Ireland has similar intentions.


IEA press release, hydropower roadmap and list of previous roadmaps

© Copyright ENDS 2012. Please respect our terms and conditions and do not redistribute by email or post on the web. Email to buy additional rights.

22.08.12 :Mexico : la Parota Dam project cancelled after years of campaigning (IR)

On August 16, 2012, after nearly 10 years of campaigning, La Parota Dam was officially cancelled. This is an amazing victory for the communities in Mexico – especially the Council of Communal Land Owners and Communities Against Construction of La Parota Dam (CECOP) – who have been fighting the project from the beginning, and the larger movement in Latin America fighting to protect their rivers and human rights.

La Parota would have consisted of a 900 MW dam on the Papagayo River 28 km from the city of Acapulco in the state of Guerrero. It would have flooded close to 17,000 hectares of land, displaced more than 25,000 people, and affected another 75,000 people downstream of the dam.

more informations (International Rivers)

16.08.12 : Belo Monte Dam Suspended by Brazilian Appeals Court.
Project was illegally authorized by Congress without prior consultations with indigenous tribes, judges say

Altamira, Brazil: A high-level court yesterday suspended construction of the controversial Belo Monte dam project on the Amazon’s Xingu River, citing overwhelming evidence that indigenous people had not been properly consulted prior to government approval of the project.

A group of judges from Brazil's Regional Federal Tribunal (TRF1) upheld an earlier decision that declared the Brazilian Congress’s authorization of the project in 2005 to be illegal. The decision concludes that the Brazilian Constitution and ILO Convention 169, to which Brazil is party, require that Congress can only authorize the use of water resources for hydroelectric projects after an independent assessment of environmental impacts and subsequent consultations with affected indigenous peoples. 

The ruling means that Brazilian Congress will have to correct its previous error by organizing consultations on the project’s impacts with affected indigenous peoples of the Xingu River, especially the Juruna, Arara and Xikrin tribes. Their opinions should be considered in a Congressional decision on whether to authorize Belo Monte, and in the meantime the project consortium has been ordered to suspend construction. Project consortium Norte Energia, S.A, led by the parastatal energy company Eletrobras, faces a daily fine of R$500,000, or about US$250,000, if it does not comply with the suspension. The dam consortium is expected to appeal the decision in the Brazilian Supreme Court.

- The courts decision highlights the urgent need for the Brazilian government and Congress to respect the federal constitution and international agreements on prior consultations with indigenous peoples regarding projects that put their livelihoods and territories at risk. Human rights and environmental protection cannot be subordinated to narrow business interests” stated Federal Judge Souza Prudente, who authored the ruling.

- This latest court ruling vindicates what indigenous people, human rights activists and the Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office have been demanding all along. We hope that President Dilma’s Attorney General and the head judge of the federal court (TRF1) will not try to subvert this important decision, as they have done in similar situations in the past,” said Brent Millikan of International Rivers, based in Brasilia.

- This decision reinforces the request made by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in April 2011 to suspend the project due to lack of consultations with indigenous communities. We hope that Norte Energia and the government comply with this decision and respect the rights of indigenous communities said Joelson Cavalcante of the Interamerican Association for Environmental Defense (AIDA), an organization giving legal support to affected communities.

The Brazilian Congress authorized construction of Belo Monte seven years ago without an environmental impact assessment (EIA). A subsequent study - produced by state-owned energy company Eletrobras and three of Brazil’s largest construction companies (Camargo Correa, Andrade Gutierrez, and Odebrecht) - was widely criticized for underestimating socio-environmental impacts, especially on indigenous peoples and other traditional communities living downstream from the huge dam that would divert 80% of the Xingu’s natural flow. The EIA was approved by Brazil’s federal environmental agency (IBAMA) in February 2010 under intense political pressure and over the objections of the agency's own technical staff.

With dam construction racing ahead since June 2011, many of Belo Monte’s forewarned social and environmental consequences are proving real.  As a result, indigenous people have become more vocal in their opposition to Belo Monte.

During the United Nations' Rio+20 conference in June, indigenous leaders launched a 21- day occupation of the dam site, protesting against the growing impacts of the project and broken promises by dam-builders. Two weeks later, indigenous communities detained three Norte Energia engineers on tribal lands. Both protests demanded suspension of the project due to non-compliance of mitigation requirementes. Last month, the Federal Public Office filed a lawsuit calling for suspension of the Belo Monte’s installation license, given widespread non-compliance with conditions of the project’s environmental licenses. Given this contentious and convoluted history, the long overdue process of consultations with indigenous peoples on Belo Monte is not likely to produce a positive verdict on Belo Monte, from the point of view of indigenous peoples.

Similar conflicts over violations of indigenous rights by dam projects are emerging elsewhere in the Brazilian Amazon. Last week, in another landmark decision led by judge Souza Prudente, a group of judges from the TRF1 , the same court ordered the immediate suspension of one of five large dams planned for the Teles Pires river, a major tributary of the Tapajos river, noting a lack of prior and informed consultations with the Kayabi, Apiakás and Munduruku indigenous peoples affected by the project.

According to Souza Prudente, "the aggression against indigenous peoples in the case of the Teles Pires dam has been even more violent than in Belo Monte. A political decision to proceed with the construction of five large dams along the Teles Pires river was made by the Ministry of Mines and Energy with no effective analysis of impacts on the livelihoods and territories of indigenous peoples. The Sete Quedas rapids on the Teles Pires river are considered sacred by indigenous peoples and are vital for the reproduction of fish that are a staple of their diets. Yet none of this was taken into account in the basin inventory and environmental impact studies.  Moreover, the government and Congress simply ignored their obligations to ensure prior and informed consultations with indigenous peoples, as determined by the Federal Constitution and ILO Convention 169".  

Late yesterday, the President of the TRF1 announced his intention to overturn the decision of Souza Prudente and other federal judges regarding the Teles Pires hydroproject, marking a growing crisis within Brazil’s judiciary system over the Dilma Rousseff administration’s ambitious dam-building plans in the Amazon.

via IR International Rivers

More information:
Office of the Ministerio Público Federal do Pará
Movimento Xingu Vivo para Sempre


20.07.12 : Portugal to build a new dam in a UNESCO World Heritage site: sign and Stop the Tua River Dam

In May 2012, the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO, asked the Portuguese government to stop the construction of the hidroelectric dam at the mouth of the Portuguese River Tua. Its construction threatens the classified area of the Alto Douro Wine Region ... but the Portuguese government is still defending the impossible - that the dam can be made compatible with the World heritage landscape.

The Tua Dam will be visited by delegation of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in the week of 30th July 2012Let's say to Portuguese Parliament and the UNESCO World Heritage Committee that we are against the construction of this dam, which in addition to adversely affecting the our world cultural and natural heritage, will cause the cost per kWh of electrical energy production to be more than twice the current average cost of production, five times greater than just reinforcement of existing dams and twelve times greater than the implementation of measures for energy efficiency. Several new dams such as this one could imply a 10% increase in electricity bills of Portuguese families! The only ones benefiting from this are EDP (the biggest Portuguese energy corporation) and its managers.

We have no time to lose, please help us to spread and sign the petition BEFORE the 29th july to stop the dam and save the river Tua, its natural environment and our common heritage (yes its yours too - its world heritage after all! ). Its vital to spread the word outside Portugal as international attention can make a huge difference! We will deliver the petition to the UNESCO committee when they are here.
sign the petition posted by a coalition of portugese NGOs (latest at 29 july 2012)

Some more facts on the Tua Dam.
In addition to putting at risk the Douro valley world heritage status the building of the Tua Dam would:
- destroy some of the last free flowing river systems in Portugal and submersing valuable cork oak and aquatic ecosystems;
- agravate the pressures on the already highly impacted river system, that has already more than 60 large dams (7 of 9 new dams planned under the National Dam Plan are to be built in the Douro river basin) ;
- imply spending millions of euros attempting to protect and recover the coastline due to the retention of the sediments by the dams;
- be completely unecessary as concerns reneweables energy policy. Foz Tua will contribute only 0,1% of the country´s energy needs (0,6% of its electricity needs), avoiding 0,1% GHG emissions and imported energy dependancy, and is unecessary to store (future) wind energy as Portugal already has, or will shortly have, excess hydro storage capacity (1);
- cause loss of productive land and water resources that are privatized, of unique landscapes with high touristic value, and wild-water sports as well as functional local public transport systems;
- cause loss of productive land and water resources that are privatized, of unique landscapes with high touristic value, and wild-water sports as well as functional local public transport systems;
- undermine the far larger benefits of investing in energy efficiency (estimated at savings of up to 20%) for the economy, empolyment and sustainability (2) .
(1) see:, and ...
(2) see memorandum:

02.04.12 : One dam thing after another ! Iceland Government suspends plans for three big dams following a successful salmon protection campaign

The Icelandic Government has accepted NASF‘s objections to a new hydro-electric generating scheme on Iceland‘s biggest river and suspended the plans to build three dams to power generation plants. NASF had urged the government to adopt a precautionary approach to proposals by Landsvirkjun, Iceland‘s biggest power company, to harness power from the river Thjorsá. A proposal to this effect will now be presented to the Icelandic Parliament.

The Thjórsá, the country‘s biggest river system, originates in the mighty Hofsjökull glacier in the middle of Iceland. It hosts Iceland´s biggest sustainable wild salmon stock and also holds brown trout, sea trout and some char. Nearly 90% of the natural fish habitat in the river lies above the Urridafoss waterfall and revolutionary changes were proposed to the flow of the river. NASF warned the government that this would create huge losses of habitat and nursery areas for juvenile salmon.

Using taxpayers cash the power company, has invested heavily in the projects but had failed to fully assess the colossal damage to the natural environment that could be caused. It had also failed to consult with the river owners and merely cited the “Columbia and Snake rivers in the Northwest United States as evidence of their good intentions. Twenty years ago the river owners around Thjórsá negotiated a deal that provided them with a fish ladder at the Buda waterfall. It appears to be reasonably successful but many of the river owners say it is just a start to huge salmon enhancement activities envisoned for the whole river system.

Over the last decade or so Iceland river catches have doubled and trebled following the strict protection and enhancement schemes that progressive angling operators and river owners in Iceland have introduced. These include conservation deals in the marine environment, coastal nets buyouts, catch-&-release, carefully focused stocking projects and a variety of other innovative enhancment work.

Orri Vigfusson, chairman of the North Atlantic Salmon Fund (NASF) says that schemes like the now-suspended Thjórsá plan should be an international issue and be related to climate changes. „ As glaciers shrink the snow melt from which many rivers spring will reduce. As sea levels rise, salination of the lower reaches will increase,„ he said.

Far from building new dams we need to accelerate their removal. In the last ten years only 410 American dams were removed and there are 84,000 more. Demolishing big obstructions like hydro dams will improve natural river flows and the production of feed and oxygen for the fish, mammals and invertebrates that live in or around a river. Hopefully marine life will also stand to benefit.

In Maine, the 160-year-old Edward Dam was removed from the Kennebec River in 1999 and today the river boasts a thriving and diverse fishery. Undamming the Elwha river in Washington is expected to boost its salmon population from 3,000 to 400,000 and this will attract bears, eagles and other wildlife that thrived before the river dams were built in 1914.

NASF is currently supporting plans to remove dams obstructing wild salmon runs in the Sélune river in the Mont-Saint-Michel area of Normandy in France. It is also supporting an Atlantic Salmon Federation project to remove the dams on the Penobscot river in Maine that would open up a thousand miles of new salmon habitat.

In submitting its biological and environmental assessment, NASF sought the advice of Dr Margaret Filardo, Fishery Biologist and Michele DeHart, Manager of the Fish Passage Center in Oregon. A host of Icelandic experts including the Thórsá river board have advised and participated in the NASF assessment of this project.

„We now need a few years to explore the real opportunities the Thórsá river system can offer,“ Orri Vigfusson said. „Our focus will be on the salmon stocks and we shall use the vast expertise our worldwide teams have amassed over the last 20 years. We hope to develop a master plan for a massive salmon enhancement programme throughout this uniquely productive water system. Simultaneously we shall need to develop angling programmes and encourage eco-tourism and a host of other projects that will create new jobs and new income revenues for the local population that live beside this huge river.“

The North Atlantic Salmon Fund, NASF, is an international coalition of voluntary private sector conservation groups who have come together to restore stocks of wild Atlantic salmon to their historic abundance.


30.03.12 : India : A supreme court order in India asking the government to link more than 30 rivers and divert waters to parched areas has sparked concerns in neighbouring countries.
Bangladesh says it would be hardest hit because it is a downstream country to two major rivers that flow from India.

New Delhi is yet to respond to the neighbouring countries' reactions.
The multi-billion-dollar project was announced by the Indian government in 2002 but had since remained on paper.
Experts in Nepal say the country's unstable political situation could open the door for India to build dams and reservoirs in Nepalese territory for the inter-linking project - known as the ILR.
Hydrologists say as an upstream country, Nepal has ideal locations for the infrastructure required to make the mammoth Indian project happen.
Bhutan too has similar locations and some of its rivers are tributaries to the Bramhaputra, a major river system in the region included in India's river-linking project.

Long-running disputes
The project's basic idea is to take water from areas where authorities believe it is abundant and divert it to areas where there is less available for irrigation, power and human consumption.
Official Indian documents have stated that the country - with its population of 1.2 billion - is increasingly water-stressed.
But when the government tried to present the ILR as a possible solution, it became quite controversial as critics argued it would have huge environmental consequences.
They also said it was unfeasible on technical grounds and that not all the states through which the rivers flow might allow waters to be diverted.
 Official documents suggest parts of India are increasingly water-stressed
Some Indian states already have long-running water sharing disputes.
Delivering the court's order earlier this month, the judges said the project had long been delayed, resulting in an increase in cost.
Some 10 years ago, the super-ambitious scheme was billed at $120bn and was estimated that it would take 16 years to complete.
The court has also appointed a committee to plan and implement the project in a "time-bound manner".
Even before any of that began, Bangladesh was already quite critical of the idea.
"We can never agree to it," Ramesh Chandra Sen, Bangladeshi water resources minister told the BBC.
"Our agriculture, economy and our lives depend on these rivers, and we cannot imagine their waters being diverted."

Downstream impacts
The Ganges and the Bramhaputra, Asia's major river systems that flow down to Bangladesh, are among the rivers India has planned to divert to its western and southern parts.
Ainun Nishat, a Bangladeshi water resource expert, was even more critical.
"India assumes that these rivers stop at its borders and that there will be no downstream impacts to Bangladesh if it did anything to those resources," he said.
"They (India) have always thought that the Bramhaputra has a surplus water but they don't seem to remember that there is a sovereign country called Bangladesh downstream which has a need for water."
Minister Sen said there had been no official communication with his government on the project from the Indian side.
Nepal's Energy Minister Posta Bahadur Bogati too said he had not received any official information.
Senior Nepali water expert Santa Bahadur Pun said there were concerns that politicians might not be able to secure a good deal for allowing India to build dams and reservoirs in Nepalese territory.
"That is because we hear our leaders talking only about the stereotype hydropower development whereas they should be focusing on making India pay for the downstream benefits it would be getting from its river-linking infrastructures in Nepal."
Such concerns also stem from the fact that some think Nepalese politicians are too preoccupied with the prolonged peace process that India mediated after a 10-year Maoist insurgency.
Bhutan says it has not been apprised of the project idea.
"While we recognise rivers as a trans-boundary issue, there has been no direct dialogue as far as building structures in Bhutan for the project (of India) is concerned," Bhutanese Minister for Agriculture and Forests Pema Gyamtsho told the BBC.

'Conceptual stage'
Media reports and academic papers apart, little has come out officially about the inter-river linking project.

In 2006, the Indian water resources minister at the time gave a brief response in the parliament when asked if there would be a white paper on the project.
"The ILR project is still at a conceptual stage only and all the far-reaching effects of the link projects can be analysed at the stage of preparation of detailed projects.
"As such, there is no need to release a white paper on the ILR at this stage."
Indian water resources ministry officials made no comment to the BBC's query how India took its neighbours' reactions to the recent supreme court's order to implement the river linking project.
Many of India's past water treaties and agreements with neighbouring countries Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan have been mired in disputes.
And now Delhi has had to worry about China's plans to divert its southern rivers to the north, analysts say.
The main concern has been proposed Chinese hydro-electric plants on Tibet's Yarlung-Tsampo river that becomes the Bramhaputra in India, although Beijing has said it does not intend to divert its waters.

A number of studies have shown South Asia as one of the flashpoints over water resources in the future, particularly in the wake of climate change and a burgeoning population.

A recent assessment by the US intelligence agencies has said beyond 2022, South Asia will be one of the regions in the world where "water would be used as a weapon of war or a tool of terrorism".

source : 
via International Rivers    

14.03.12 : A final dam wave in the Danube River Basin (DEF pressrelease)
Please read the pressrelease in german by the Danube Environment Forum

14.03.12 : Heritage before Hydropower: Petition to UNESCO on Ilisu Dam launched

Pressrelease Berne Declaration – CounterCurrent – ECA Watch Austria

(Zurich, Berlin, Vienna – 14.3.2012) On the occasion of today’s International Day of Action for Rivers an international coalition of environmental and human rights organisations launches a petition to UNESCO to become active in protecting potential World Heritage Sites which are under threat due to the construction of the Ilisu Dam in Turkey. For the first time initiatives from Turkey, Iraq and Iran engage jointly in the protection of their natural and cultural heritage.

The transnational alliance speaks out against the destruction of the 10,000 year old town Hasankeyf, which would be flooded in the Ilisu Dam’s reservoir, and against the severe impacts on the Mesopotamian Marshes and its inhabitants at the mouth of the Tigris river. They are supported by numerous organisations throughout the world, including Swiss Berne Declaration, CounterCurrent from Germany and ECA Watch Austria which have campaigned on the Ilisu project for over a decade.

Hasankeyf and the Tigris valley are a unique natural and cultural landscape. They form the livelihood for thousands of inhabitants. Even though Hasankeyf is under monumental protection by Turkish law, the Turkish government intends its inundation.

The Mesopotamian Marshes were included in the Tentative List of potential World Heritage Sites by the Iraqi government in 2003. The actual nomination process to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site has not been initiated however. Ulrich Eichelmann from ECA Watch Austria has recently visited the marshes. He confirms: “The impacts of the Ilisu Dam for the Mesopotamian Marshes would be devastating. If Ilisu is actually built, the garden of Eden will dry up and hundreds of thousands Iraqi people will suffer.”

„Dams violate human rights, destroy nature and cultural goods and are not even climate friendly in many cases“, Heike Drillisch, coordinator of CounterCurrent, states. These points of criticism are currently being addressed at the Alternative World Water Forum in Marseille. This event is organized to demonstrate against privatisation schemes and the destructive impacts of dams which are promoted at the World Water Forum taking place at the same time in Marseille. The petition to UNESCO is presented at the Alternative World Water Forum.

The petition and the list of supporters can be found at

Contacts: Heike Drillisch, CounterCurrent and Berne Declaration: +49 177 345 26 11, Ulrich Eichelmann, ECA-Watch: Tel. +43 676 662 15 12, Further Information:
Press Release by the initiating organisations:
- Information on the Alternative Water Forum:

Information on the International Day of Action against Dams and for Rivers:
- Background
: The petition is initiated by Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive (Turkey), ICSSI - Iraq Civil Society Solidarity Initiative,
- CDO – Civil Development Organisation (Iraq-Kurdistan Regional Governorate, KRG), CENESTA - The Centre for Sustainable Development (Iran).

The governments of Germany, Austria and Switzerland withdrew export credit guarantees for the Ilisu project in 2009. The Austrian company Andritz as well as the Swiss consultants Colenco, Stucky and Maggia nonetheless remained in the project and enabled the Turkish government to continue with the construction of the dam. ``

more information on the Ilisu dam project Web page by RiverNet


14.03.12 : Civil Society Rejects Greenwashing of Dams at World Water Forum (International Rivers and others)

As the 6th World Water Forum opened in Marseille, France, International Rivers and our partners were there to shed light on their greenwashing of large dams. Displaying t-shirts that read "Large Dams Are Not Green," we attempted to enter the Forum's opening ceremony to send a message that civil society rejects the Forum's support for large dams, and its market-based approach to water. However, security stopped us from entering the ceremony, despite the fact that we were accredited to do so.

We decried the Forum's embrace of the industry-led Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol (HSAP), a toothless scorecard that has no binding power to prevent environmental and human rights violations during the construction and implementation of dams. The Forum is promoting a return to large dams in the "Green Economy," though it is a business-as-usual path that will do little to sustain freshwater biodiversity, protect the world's river systems, or mitigate climate change.

Call for a Rights-Based Approach
In contrast, civil society organizations and dam-affected peoples from across Europe and the world will release a statement this week calling on "governments and financiers to prioritize the water and energy needs of the poor over the demands of the global market. We ask that all needs and options are assessed in a balanced, participatory process before new water and energy projects are approved. We call on all actors to strictly follow the recommendations of the World Commission on Dams in case such a process identifies a dam as the most appropriate option."

The statement calls on governments and financiers "not to endorse the voluntary approach of the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol."

read the compet article by International Rivers


11.03.12 : CALL TO ACTION : March 14th: International Day of Action for Rivers and Against Dams.
Create a Living River in Central Marseille! Protest Against the Greenwashing of Dams !

11.03.12 : APPEL A ACTION : 14 mars: Journée Internationale pour les fleuves et contre les barrages. Nous allons créer un fleuve vivant en plein centre de Marseille! Protestons contre le maquillage vert des grands barrages ! 

Wednesday, March 14th 10am
Front Steps of the Gare Saint Charles train station, central Marseille

Large Dams Are Not Green! 
This is a symbolic protest for the media against the greenwashing of large dams, against the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol (HSAP), against the massive funding from international financial institutions such as the World Bank and European Investment Bank in large dams, and in favor of rivers that are alive and healthy. Help us create a living river in the middle of Marseille. We will then have a large, inflated dam block the river. We will even paint the dam green. 

A few ideas to participate:
1) Wear traditional dress from your culture and bring anything that represents how you depend on your river for life. You'll help keep the river alive.
2) Wear the clothes of a dam builder or financier (work suit, ties, etc) and, if you can, bring a sign with the name/logo of your favorite worst dam builder. You'll work to defend the dam.
3) Come dressed in painting clothes. You'll help paint the dam green. We will use water color paint (it will wash off easily).
4) Bring Protest Banners!

Please email me to let me know if you will participate and in what way. Zachary Hurwitz <>

Organizers: CounterBalanceCampagna per la Riforma della Banca MondialeAmis de la Terre, and International Rivers

31.01.12 : World Bank's Program-For-Results Loan Instrument: Good Intentions ?

The World Bank's Board of Directors has approved a new lending instrument called Program-For-Results (P4R). The instrument is supposed to fund programs, not provide project finance, and is meant to work within a borrower's existing regulatory framework – what the Bank calls a country systems approach. However, not all country systems are made equal. Some of today's largest dam financiers operate within a highly unaccountable national policy framework, where human rights, transparency, and civil society participation may take a back seat to the "national interest."

Often, today's dam builders are not held to the highest social and environmental standards, either because developers do not implement them in practice, or because dam financiers do not have strong safeguards policies in the first place. Will P4R help these dam financiers adopt stronger standards? Or will it simply move money to highly unaccountable governments and institutions, without achieving real results? In case P4R finances hydropower, who will be held accountable for project impacts: the World Bank, the borrower, or both ? complet article : International Rivers Website

26.01.12 : Villagers' protest at Istanbul's Topkapi Palace draws attention to impending loss of World Heritage in their home town. Planned Ilisu dam will inundate 12,000-year history including the ancient town of Hasankeyf
Press Release by the Turkish Nature Association Doga Dernegi

26th January 2012, Istanbul, Turkey - Tourists today experienced the deprivation of enjoying one of Istanbul’s most iconic cultural and historical monuments as villagers from the historical town of Hasankeyf in the southeast of Turkey blocked the entrance of Topkapi Palace (1) to draw attention to the impending loss of their ancient town threatened by a major dam.

The protestors placed signs reading ‘No Entry’ and cordoned off the entrance to the palace holding images of historical sites from the Tigris Valley and Hasankeyf that date back   thousands of years. The villagers opened a banner reading ‘UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITES TOPKAPI-HASANKEYF, CANNOT BE RELOCATED’.

“Our town Hasankeyf, together with the Tigris valley, will be inundated if the planned Ilisu dam goes ahead. The government closed down parts of the historical town in 2010 and the Minister in charge of the dam project, Veysel Eroglu, is claiming that they will move Hasankeyf to another location. Just as Topkapi Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, cannot be moved, Hasankeyf - which deserves the same title - cannot be moved to another location either,” said Ismail Kocyigit, a retired Imam from Hasankeyf.

Hasankeyf, with the surrounding Tigris Valley, is the only place in the world that meets nine out of 10 criteria for a UNESCO Wold Heritage Site according to a report published by Istanbul University Prof Zeynep Ahunbay, who is also president of ICOMOS Turkey (International Council on Monuments and Sites) (2). Yet the Turkish government refuses to include the region in the UNESCO list.

Engin Yilmaz, Executive Director of Doga Dernegi (Nature Association), joined the protest with volunteers from the conservation organisation. He said: “If the planned Ilisu Dam is built, it would be the second biggest dam in Turkey and cause the displacement of tens of thousands people (3), the extinction of many species in the Tigris Valley and it would destroy naturally important habitats and hundreds of historical sites that date back 12,000 years including the ancient town of year-old Hasankeyf.”

Since Hasankeyf was declared a “protected area” in 1981 the locals have been denied permission to carry out any needed restoration of their houses. At the same time the government has not invested in Hasankeyf since, leading to the area’s dilapidation.

In addition to drawing attention to the impending loss of an invaluable historical and cultural legacy, the protestors highlighted the tourism potential in the area and the economic benefits that could be gained if investment were made into preserving and promoting this heritage.

Hamdiye Öztekin who attended the protest with her husband and daughter from Hasankeyf drew a comparison with Cappadocia, which enjoys a number of similarities with the villagers’ hometown: “The world-renowned tourist destination of Cappadocia was declared a World Heritage Site in the 80s, and since then it generates over 600 million dollars a year (4) following investment made in the area. Yet, we are being denied the right to live in our hometown and enjoy the economic benefits possible through the tourism potential that Hasankeyf and Tigris Valley’s unique nature and history offers.”

Human settlements in Hasankeyf date back to prehistoric times. The notable artefacts include: The Castle that dates back to the 4th century, the bridge built in the 12th century which is the biggest stone bridge of the Middle Ages, and the Eyyubi Sultan Suleiman’s grave  located in the town.
The residents of Hasankeyf together with Doga Dernegi, called on Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to revise its Ilisu Dam plans and include Hasankeyf and the Tigris Valley in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list.


For more information please contact,
Tuba Kilic
Do?a Derne?i Hasankeyf campaign Coordinator
Mobile : +90 549 8010082
e-mail: and

(1)    Topkapi Palace became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985.
(2)    Prof Ahunbay’s report can be found at:
(3)    A report by World Bank expert Ayse Kudat puts the figure of people actually affected at 19,000-34,000, and the number of people potentially affected at 55,000-78,000.
(4)    Kayseri Cappadocia Tourism Cluster Final Report, ABIGEM, November 2009.

Images 1,2 and 3: Hasankeyf villagers calling for the protection of their ancient town in south east Turkey which is threatened by the Il?su dam, stand at Istanbul’s Topkapi Palace saying that just as such a Unesco World Heritage Site cannot be moved so their hometown which deserves the same title cannot be relocated. (Photos by IF Atolye)
Image 4: A retired Imam and a family from historical Hasankeyf demands the cancellation of Il?su dam which threatens their hometown during a protest at Istanbul’s Topkap? Palace. (Photo by IF Atolye)

more information on the fight against the Ilisu dam on Rivernets Website


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