Media Mentions

Mekong River Dam Decision Delayed

Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Originally published in The Financial Times A decision on whether to allow a controversial $3.8bn hydroelectric dam across the Mekong river has been delayed, raising fresh doubts over a project that Laos hopes will establish it as the "battery of south-east Asia". The Mekong River Commission, which is made up of representatives of Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam, had been due to make its decision on Tuesday. But instead it has passed the final judgment on whether to give the green light to the Xayaburi dam in Laos, to regional ministers. The delegates did not set a date for a

Mekong River Dam at Center of High-Stakes Conservation Fight

Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Originally published on Laos defers decision amid controversy that the plan would destroy a lifeline for millions in Southeast Asia Millions of people living along the Mekong River face a crisis that could destroy their lifeline and kill off whole species of fish: construction of a dam - the first of 11 proposed in the waterway's lower basin - in Laos. Conservationists warn that the dam could significantly reduce the critical fish stock in the Mekong, the world's most productive inland fishery. Laos deferred a decision on the hydropower dam Tuesday in the face of strong op

New Laos Dam Test for Hydropower Projects

Thursday, December 9, 2010
NAKAI TAI, Laos – One of Asia's poorest countries officially inaugurated a $1.3 billion hydroelectric dam Thursday that is earning badly needed revenue and could set new global standards for limiting environmental damage and improving the lives of those displaced.The dam in central Laos was the first major hydroelectric project supported by the World Bank after a long hiatus in the face of criticism that dams harm communities and the environment.Activists warned that it's too early to call the project a success, noting questions remain about the dam's impact on water quality and fisheries an

Laos Dam Faces Unresolved Issues

Thursday, December 9, 2010
VIENTIANE, Laos, Dec. 9 (UPI) -- As officials prepared for the inauguration of a new hydropower dam in Laos Thursday, problems remain, environmentalists say.Funded by the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and other public and private investors, the $1.5 billion Nam Theun 2 will generate 1,000 megawatts of electricity, more than 90 percent to be exported to Laos' neighbor, Thailand. It is one of the biggest hydropower stations in Southeast Asia.To make way for the project's 174-square-mile reservoir, more than 6,000 people had to be uprooted from their villages.Citing social and environmental

Defending Rivers and Rights

Thursday, September 9, 2010
Originally published in Pambazuka News Across the globe, from the floodplains of the Amazon to the foothills of the Himalayas, from Burmese forests to Ethiopia's Omo Valley, peasant and indigenous communities are fighting against destructive dams. Dams have deprived hundreds of millions of people of their homes, farmlands, fisheries and forests. Millions more are threatened by projects that are planned or under construction, writes Peter Bosshard. In early September, governments, dam builders, academics and environmental organizations will get together at World Water Week in Stockholm. The

China Takes Another Stab at Resettlement With $62 Billion Water Plan

Sunday, August 29, 2010
Originally published in National Geographic News While the residents of Majestic Mansion, a new high-end real estate development on the outskirts of Beijing, splash in their glittering blue swimming pool, residents of lakeside Danjiangkou City, just 621 miles (1,000 kilometers) away in neighboring Hubei Province, are packing up their belongings. They are leaving because the Chinese government will soon flood their village to expand the local reservoir. It turns out these two communities are tied to each other by lopsided demands for water, and by an ambitious solution to manage the coveted res

Mixed Grade for Water Diversion Relocation

Thursday, August 26, 2010
Originally published in the WSJ Blog China Real Time Report Environmental advocacy group International Rivers gives a mixed grade to China's biggest resettlement project since at least 1.2 million people were moved to make way for the Three Gorges reservoir. Some 330,000 people are being relocated to expand the Danjiangkou Reservoir in central China's Hubei province as part of a massive and controversial project to divert water from southern China along three canals to the north. The South-to-North Water Transfer Project is estimated to cost $62 billion - far more than even the Three

Ecological Destruction? ICBC Loan for an Africa Water Project Draws Controversy

Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Originally published in China Business News (Unofficial translation by International Rivers) "I have a savings card issued by the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC). I certainly do not want that the money in my account be used for the destruction of environment." Dr. Peter Bosshard held up a savings card and was slightly agitated. Mr. Bosshard is the policy director of the environmental group, International Rivers. Recently, it was said that ICBC has agreed to a US$400 million loan for Ethiopia's Gibe 3 Dam project. Some environmental groups believe that this project

Ethiopia Aims to Turn Itself Into a Regional Energy Giant

Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Originally published in Le Monde and Guardian Weekly Ethiopia's government has set itself an ambitious target: in just a few years it aims to take an undeveloped country, with one of the world's lowest levels of per capita access to electricity, and turn it into a regional powerhouse, exporting energy to its neighbours. To achieve this the prime minister, Meles Zenawi, is advocating a spending spree to develop Ethiopia. Various foreign non-governmental organisations have questioned the reliability of official impact studies, but with a de facto one-party state, controlled by the Ethio

Sinohydro’s IPO: An Opportunity for Environmental Reform

Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Originally published in The Asia Water Project When companies list at the stock exchange, they need to define their brand and business strategy, which includes their approach to the environment. In the coming months, Sinohydro, the world's biggest hydropower company, plans to list at the Shanghai stock exchange. Civil society organizations are calling on the company to adopt a world class environmental policy at the time of its Initial Public Offering (IPO). Here is the case for environmental reform. Sinohydro, a state-owned enterprise, is the world's foremost dam builder. The company control


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