US Congress Supports Environmental Justice in IFIs

Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Factsheet published by International Rivers and AIDA In its budget bill for 2014, the US Congress has taken bold steps to promote environmental justice within international financial institutions (IFIs). Among other measures, the bill instructs the US representatives in these institutions to oppose large dams and logging projects that affect primary tropical forests, and to seek justice for the victims of human rights violations in IFI projects such as the Chixoy Dam in Guatemala. The strong language in the budget bill came about in response to the concerns expressed by civil society groups o

Broken Promises: Ghana's Bui Dam Resettlement

This chapel was one of Akanyakrom's community buildings that has not been replaced by the Bui Dam authorities.
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
From March 2014 World Rivers ReviewWhen the Bui Dam was commissioned in December 2013, it became Ghana’s second largest hydropower project, after the gigantic Akosombo Dam. The $794 million dam was built by China’s SinoHydro, with funding from the government of Ghana and Exim Bank of China. This chapel was one of Akanyakrom's community buildings that has not been replaced by the Bui Dam authorities. Photo courtesy of Clement Otu-Tei The dam’s reservoir flooded farmland, riverine forests, and about 20% of Bui National Park. About 1,216 people from eight communities were resettled for th

India’s Run-of-River Hydro: Ill-Defined, Under-Studied – and Growing at a Fast Clip

Pinder River
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
From March 2014 World Rivers ReviewRun-of-river projects are often portrayed as relatively benign alternatives to large-reservoir dam projects, as projects that don’t submerge large areas of land, displace high numbers of communities, or greatly reduce downstream flows. This friendly image has given a new lease on life to many dam builders around the globe. A significant number of the world's proposed dams are being billed as "run of river," including many large dams that are known to have significant social and environmental impacts (see box). India especially has been inundated by such pr

Colombia’s Highest Court Takes the High Ground

Megdalena River
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
From March 2014 World Rivers ReviewThere was enough fish and plantains to feed the more than 500 fisherfolks gathered by the banks of the Magdalena River on a quiet Sunday in early March. Whole families who would be affected by El Quimbo Dam arrived in dozens of canoes to attend an urgent meeting called by ASOQUIMBO, a local NGO. There was big news to share: Colombia’s highest judicial authority had ordered dam builder Emgesa to use much higher standards in building the dam and addressing its social and environmental impacts. Colombia’s Constitutional Court has put dam builders on notice

A Blow to HidroAysén: Patagonia Dams on Hold

The Baker River in Patagonia breathes a sigh of relief.
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
The Baker River in Patagonia breathes a sigh of relief. Photo: Peter Hartmann From March 2014 World Rivers ReviewI stood in awe next to the Baker River in Chilean Patagonia on a warm, sunny day in early February. Guanacos (a local wild llama) grazed peacefully across the river, and a family of red foxes looked intensively at me, almost catching every breath I took. As I stood transfixed by this amazing place, I thought back across the long journey taken by hundreds of dedicated Chileans and their international supporters to protect the immensely beautiful glacial blue-green Baker and Pascua

U.S. Pushes for Outside Oversight of World Bank, Opposes Push Toward ‘Big Hydro’

Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank Group, gestures during a session at the World Economic Forum on Jan. 24
Friday, January 24, 2014
The Washington Post – The United States is demanding stricter oversight of World Bank projects amid concern that the bank has slipped in how closely it guards against violence, forced resettlement and other conflict associated with the works that it funds.

Kayapo Courage

BEPRÔ wears the beads and cotton-wrapped earrings that boys receive as part of their naming ceremony.
Friday, December 20, 2013
The Amazon tribe has beaten back ranchers and gold miners and famously stopped a dam. Now its leaders must fight again or risk losing a way of life.

The Art of Change

Nile Project musicians make music on the Nile near Aswan.
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
From December 2013 World Rivers ReviewSinging for The Nile Project Photo: Matjaz Kacicnik At International Rivers, much of our work focuses on in-depth policy and scientific analysis, and advocacy campaigns to stop destructive river projects and press for better options for meeting water and energy needs. We know these efforts play an important role in countering the powerful forces that threaten our rivers. We are also proud to be part of a global river protection movement working to change hearts as well as minds by promoting a vision of water and energy for everyone, and a respect for rive

Indigenous Communities Take Charge with Dam Blockades in Borneo

Tuesday, December 3, 2013
From December 2013 World Rivers ReviewAnti-dam protests in the Malaysian state of Sarawak in Borneo continue to heat up over the proposed 12 megadams that will devastate the local ecology and destroy indigenous livelihoods. In mid-November, 13 indigenous people from Malaysia's eastern state of Sarawak travelled thousands of kilometers from their home in central Borneo to the capital Kuala Lumpur to protest being thrown off their land for the Murum Dam. The affected communities say they will take the state to court if their demands are not met. Since September, more than 200 Penan leaders have

Latin America River Defenders Gather in Solidarity

Tuesday, December 3, 2013
From December 2013 World Rivers ReviewMore than 530 men and women from 14 different countries from Patagonia to Mexico met from in October for the 5th Meeting of the “Latin American Network Against Dams and for Rivers, Their Communities and Water” (REDLAR). Dozens of people, part of the Petén Front Against Dams, worked day and night to give us shelter, prepare our meals and guard our proceedings to ensure a peaceful gathering. We came together near the Usumacinta River in Retalteco, a forest community that is part of the Maya Biosphere Reserve, in northern Petén, Guatemala, to share st


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