Zachary Hurwitz

Zachary Hurwitz's picture
Job title:
Former Global Standards Coordinator
Inside the Instream
Date: Sunday, September 21, 2014 - 14:01
It’s not often we get to use the phrase “thousands upon thousands” in the environmental movement, except for, perhaps, a few situations.
Date: Friday, September 19, 2014 - 07:39
Given their slow approach to pledging to the Green Climate Fund, it seems like most governments need a bucket of ice dumped on their heads to wake up to the urgency of cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
Date: Thursday, July 31, 2014 - 07:56
While the Vietnamese energy picture is set to become more diverse, it is to do so only on the coattails of fossil fuels and dams.
Date: Wednesday, July 9, 2014 - 12:02
"You cannot say this is a Sarawak problem – this is our national problem. If you look at the impact of a dam on the environment, this is an international problem, because it will drown one of the most biodiverse parts of the world.”
Date: Wednesday, July 9, 2014 - 09:46
When a group of banks came together in January to launch the Green Bond Principles, our immediate concern was that the group’s reluctance to adopt guidelines to detail what can be considered “green” risked setting a poor precedent that others could easily exploit.
Date: Tuesday, May 20, 2014 - 12:19
The Green Climate Fund risks supporting destructive dams and projects that are just a little bit better than business-as-usual, not transformational.
Date: Tuesday, March 11, 2014 - 10:32
Excessive reservoir levels and historic rainfall have pushed the Madeira River past its limits.
Date: Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - 13:46
In some countries, dams are being built without even the basic protection of human rights. We hope this guide will aid civil society to promote a rights-based approach to dam standards at each phase of discussions with decision-makers. Let's challenge the way that the dam industry operates. Let's hold the dam industry accountable to its ultimate responsibility: the rights of human beings.
Date: Monday, November 11, 2013 - 16:17
Dams and other energy projects are sometimes built without communities having any say in the process - only to realize that the project may not have been needed at all.
Date: Wednesday, October 16, 2013 - 15:25
Early this morning, explosions ripped through the Santo Antônio Dam on Brazil's Madeira River, one of two hydroelectric dams that have recently begun operation in this Amazon frontier region. The disaster serves as a warning: where there is sediment, there are risks.
Date: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 - 10:18
100 Penan indigenous people decided that they had had enough of Sarawak Energy's false promises. The gigantic Murum Dam, developed by the state-owned company, was going to impound the Murum River, physically displacing the Penan from their traditional lands.
Date: Tuesday, September 3, 2013 - 16:08
Police from the state of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil's southeastern region have arrested two leaders of a sex trafficking ring that sent adolescent girls and transvestites, some as young as 16, to prostitute themselves to the workers building the Belo Monte Dam.
Date: Friday, July 12, 2013 - 12:02
We check out the Rusumo Falls Regional Hydropower Project in Tanzania, Burundi, and Rwanda, and the Luhri Dam in India. We'll look in detail at available information about projects' designs and financing, potential impacts, and possible controversies.
Date: Tuesday, June 4, 2013 - 14:23
SNC-Lavalin Inc., a Canadian engineering firm that had been in discussions to participate in the Grand Inga Dam, has been rocked by corruption scandals involving bribery and money laundering.
Date: Monday, May 20, 2013 - 20:06
Sarawak Energy, state developer of the controversial Murum and Baram dams in Sarawak, barred a representative of dam-affected people from participating in a workshop organized by the IFC, World Bank, ADB, and IADB at the start of the International Hydropower Association's bi-annual dam congress.
Date: Friday, March 8, 2013 - 13:30
Thirty-four girls and women – including a 16-year-old teenager – were trafficked from southeastern Brazil to a construction camp outside of the town of Altamira in the Amazon. There, they were forced to prostitute themselves for cash, to become sex slaves to the men building Belo Monte, Brazil's "greenest" dam.
Date: Friday, October 12, 2012 - 20:07
As the Bank returns to investing in hydropower both directly and through public-private partnerships, there is a pressing need to strengthen the Bank's safeguards policies to make sure that investments in “clean energy” don't end up accelerating the disappearance of the Earth's freshwater species and riverine communities.
Date: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 07:46
The World Bank has begun a process of streamlining and consolidating its investment and safeguards policies to meet borrower demands. This may make business sense, as any good company responds to its customers. But from the lens of social and environmental standards and accountability, it may make things worse.
Date: Wednesday, September 26, 2012 - 21:21
Two years ago, we developed a cutting-edge online database called “Dams in Amazônia” together with Fundación Proteger of Argentina and ECOA, Brazil, to track dams planned for the rivers of the Amazon. Today, we've released an exciting new version.
Date: Tuesday, August 14, 2012 - 16:46
The unthinkable just happened – all work on the Belo Monte Dam, and the dam's environmental and installation licenses, have just been suspended by a federal judge in Brazil.
Date: Thursday, July 19, 2012 - 17:30
The Rousseff administration may be preparing to take a humongous step backwards on indigenous peoples' rights.
Date: Monday, July 2, 2012 - 13:47
Word came early this morning that hundreds of indigenous people continue to occupy the Belo Monte Dam construction site.
Date: Thursday, June 21, 2012 - 12:14
Tuesday's G-20 Leaders' Declaration and a progress report on green growth continue to support eleven large infrastructure projects –among them the Grand Inga Complex – without so much as completed feasibility studies.
Date: Tuesday, June 19, 2012 - 15:09
The G-20 is moving in the right direction. However, large hydropower should be taken off the table. If it is not, paradoxically, Nature may lose out in the "Green Economy."
Date: Sunday, June 17, 2012 - 16:06
The recommendations of the B20 – the business sectors of the G20 – endorse a regressive, business-as-usual approach to hydropower that would cause huge impacts on freshwater river ecosystems.
Date: Saturday, June 16, 2012 - 14:34
As the G20 Summit begins, let's recall some of the commitments leaders made last year to invest in large infrastructure. The commitments largely bet public funds on humongous infrastructure schemes to grow private sector returns.
Date: Tuesday, May 1, 2012 - 17:39
The humongous risks and costs in constructing the Belo Monte Dam in the middle of the Amazon are beginning to be felt, not surprisingly, in the stock market.
Date: Saturday, March 17, 2012 - 04:37
More freshwater is available from green sources such as this organic agriculture field than from blue sources such as large dam reservoirs.Yesterday afternoon in Marseille, I was invited to go toe-to-toe in a debate of the World Water Forum with seven public figures from the World Bank, Odebrecht Energy, UNESCO-ICIWaRM, Harvard University, WWF, and the governments of Uganda and India regarding the role of water storage in increasing climate resilience. The debate was moderated by Peggy Hollinger of the Financial Times, and was heavily weighted towards proponents of large dams. But here's why large dams are not the right option for climate resilience.
Date: Monday, March 12, 2012 - 06:31
The World Water Forum is promoting large dams in the "Green Economy"As the 6th World Water Forum opened today 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.
Date: Tuesday, January 31, 2012 - 14:19
The World Bank's social and environmental standards face an uncertain future as Bob Zoellick leaves this year.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."