Civil Society Demands Corruption Out of Inga, Local Benefits In

Friday, October 6, 2006


Declaration of the Civil Society to the International Round Table on the Hydroelectric Development of the Inga Dam Site

We, delegates of civil society organizations of the five partner countries of WESTCOR, joined together this day at the time of the International Round Table on the development of the hydroelectric projects of the site of Inga;

Recognising the urgent needs for sustainable development of Africa and bearing in mind strategic characteristics of the Inga Site and its substantial contribution to the integration and the development of the States of Africa;

Considering at the same time that the hydroelectricity is one of the multiple options which are available to the African States and that there is a need to also consider other possible alternatives to satisfy the energy needs for the continent;

Taking account of all the stakes political, economic, social and environmental which are attached to the development of the Inga Site;

Recalling that the hydroelectricity does not always have a positive history with regard to its social and environmental impact in Africa and that, in addition, its economic performances are still not translated into terms of human and social development;

Keeping in mind that the hydroelectric exploitation in Africa is constantly associated with the social and environmental injustices, like Kariba and Cahora Bassa on the Zambezi River, Inga I and II on the Congo River, and Kainji, Jebba and Shiroro, in Nigeria;

Having noted that the civil society organisations and the local communities were not yet the subject of the very detailed attention which they require at the time of the Roundtables like this one;

Pointing out the commitments of our respective governments within the framework of the environmental International Conventions in order to ensure the participation of all the interested stakeholders, and in particular of the nongovernmental organisations and the local communities in any process of decision-making touching with the natural resources;

Conscious of the essential role that civil society organisations play, on the one hand, as partners of the governments in the development and the implementation of the national energy policy and, on the other hand, the organisations of support and accompaniment of the local communities in the management and the exploitation of the natural resources;

Recognizing that the African Development Bank and the World Bank have policies and a framework of reference for the consultation of the civil society organisation and the local communities;

Also recalling that the Conference of the African Ministers on the Hydroelectricity and the Sustainable Development hosted in Johannesburg which recognised the role of all stakeholders and, in particular, the role the civil society organisations and the local communities in the projects of development of the site of Inga;

Recalling that the priorities of the Johannesburg Roundtable highlights more the economic and technical aspects of the development of the Inga projects at the expenses of social development and thus reduction of poverty, which is one of the most obvious objectives of the Millenium;

Anxious to see that the development of the Inga Site should contribute to poverty alleviation and the improvement of the living conditions of the local populations, through infrastructures building in social, cultural, and economic matters;

We demand that:

  • Any planning of further expansion work on the Inga Site considers the traditional land rights of the local communities, and consequently, gives space for reparation of the social injustices of the past as well respect of the local communities rights and the rights of former workers of the SNEL living at Camp Kinshasa in the Inga Site; these people have been summoned to leave the places without any compensation;
  • The communities which will be affected by the later development of the Inga Site receive a fair and corresponding compensation;
  • The social requirements in terms of access to basic services and requirements in energy for the local communities’ needs to be satisfied by the means of the projects and the programs including decent housing, road infrastructures, clinics, and rural electrification which was suggested by the investors and agreed by our respective governments, and the return of a share of the incomes generated by the hydroelectricity to the local communities which have been affected or not by the project, etc;
  • The organisations of the environmental civil society are recognised as one of the key partners in planning and the implementation at all stages of the energy policy of our respective countries including Angola, Botwana, DRC, Namibia, AND South Africa; and at all levels of government;
  • That is set up in a framework of participation of the environmental civil society organisation and local communities affected by the development of the Inga Site;
  • The organisations of the environmental civil society organisation are involved in all further phases of the development of the projects of the Inga Site in order to allow them, in all knowledge of cause, to monitor the projected investments and the lobbying for the national and local communities’ interests;
  • Within the framework of the reinforcement of the capacities of the civil society organisations and the transfer of technologies and competencies, all the studies on environmental and social evaluation implementations should be associated with the local expertise which knows better the local expertise on the questions of national and local interests;
  • The corruption will be eradicated from the management of the incomes generated by the hydroelectric exploitation of the site of Inga, by ensuring the greatest transparency in the system of perception of the receipts, their redistribution and their assignment;
  • The construction of dams in Africa will follow the recommendations of the World Commission on Dams;
  • Research and investments are also directed towards technologies of renewable and sustainable energies to satisfy the requirements in energy for the continent;
  • The large dams will be excluded from the list of subsidies granted to renewable energies.

Lastly, let us remind our respective governments to equitably share the costs of the exploitation of these dams as well as the incomes which will result from them, and to ensure the greatest transparency in the management of these incomes and of information relating to it.

Written in Johannesburg, on October 6, 2006

For the DRC: Avocats Verts, CEPECO, REPEC, Representatives of the Local Communities of the Site of Inga

For Angola: Jubiliee Angola

For South Africa: Earthlife Africa eThekwini