Affected People

Keeping the Conservation Promise

Dassanach Elder Omo River Delta
What started as an international effort to save Ramesses II’s Abu Simbel temple from the waters of the Aswan High Dam in Egypt – by relocating the temple piece by piece – is now a UN convention that seeks to prevent the destruction of precious cultural and natural heritage sites before it starts. 40 years later, local groups are closely monitoring the World Heritage Convention, and how far its stakeholders are willing to go to address serious threats to these sites like large dam development.

Highlighting Rivers at Rio+20

Monday, June 4, 2012
From June 20-22, 2012, the world’s governments are meeting in Rio de Janeiro for yet another effort to make progress towards the goals of sustainable development and a "Green Economy" during the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, known as Rio+20. International Rivers and our partners believe that only a healthy planet can support a "Green Economy," and one of the most essential elements of a healthy planet is healthy rivers.

Protestors Condemn Ch. Karnchang Over Xayaburi Dam Construction

Thai villagers gather ouside Ch. Karnchang Headquarters to protest construction of the Xayaburi Dam
Coinciding with Ch. Karnchang's Annual Shareholders Meeting, dozens of protestors rallied in front of the company's headquarters in Bangkok, demanding a halt to all construction activities occurring on the Xayaburi Dam. Civil society groups and community representatives from villages along the Mekong River inside Thailand traveled hundreds of miles to make their voices heard.

Goldman Prize for Kenyan River Activist Ikal Angelei

Ikal Angelei, the founder of Friends of Lake Turkana in Kenya, received the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize in 2012. The award honored an activist who is defending the interests of 500,000 poor indigenous people against a destructive hydropower dam, and has successfully taken on many of the world’s biggest dam builders and financiers.

Children of the Salween River

Children by the Salween River in Thailand, International Day of Action for Rivers 2012
Children by the Salween River in Thailand, International Day of Action for Rivers 2012 Hundreds of kilometers downstream from where I was this time last year, on this International Day of Action for Rivers it became clear to me that a major reason why communities in Burma and Thailand are opposed to dam building on the Salween River is because of their children. Half of those gathered on March 14 along the Salween's banks in a small village in Thailand were kids. Dressed in traditional attire, they danced and sang for an audience of over 200 villagers, artists, activists, journalists, and e

Manifesto by the Kayabi, Apiaká and Munduruku Against Hydropower Projects on the Teles Pires River

Thursday, December 1, 2011
In a December 2011 letter from the Kayabi, Apiacás and Mundurucu indigenous tribes to authorities of the Brazilian government, indigenous communities show that the environmental licensing process of the Teles Pires Hydropower Plant has been marred by: i) grave deficiencies in the analysis of impacts on indigenous peoples and their territories, ii)political pressures on federal agencies responsible for indigenous rights and environmental protection (FUNAI and IBAMA, respectively) to illegally approve licenses and iii) lack of free, prior and informed consultations and consent among threatened

How I Learned to Hug a Dam Builder

Nexus Hug
Nexus Hug During the last few days I attended an international conference on the nexus of water, energy and food security in Bonn. The event offered a lot of diplomatic hot air, some promising ideas and engaging discussions. We were even taught a new way of hugging our fellow participants - the "nexus hug" - and practiced working in the embrace of dam builders, UN bureaucrats and government officials. The Bonn meeting had a sobering background. Our wasteful consumption degrades ecosystems at an alarming pace, yet more than one seventh of the world population suffer from hunger and don't hav

Lessons from Myitsone Dam in Burma

Myitsone Protest (courtesy of the BBC)
Myitsone Protest (courtesy of the BBC) The success of Burma's civil society groups in halting the Myitsone Dam may come as a surprise to many, but it is a product of the depth and strength of opposition to the project. It is also an indication that a different type of Burmese government is now in charge. The Burmese government's decision to suspend the controversial project on the headwaters of the Irrawaddy also highlights the serious risks of not engaging with civil society critics. The Myitsone Dam was one of the first projects to really "get under my skin" here at I

Myitsone Dam Suspension a Breakthrough for Burma’s Civil Society

Myitsone Dam site
Friday, September 30, 2011
For immediate release Myitsone Dam site In a stunning move, Burma’s President today announced that the Myitsone Dam on the Irrawaddy River would be halted “to respect the will of the people.” International Rivers welcomes this decision as a fantastic breakthrough for civil society groups in Burma and their partners in China and around the world. Grace Mang, program coordinator at International Rivers, said: “The suspension of the Myitsone Dam is a great success for civil society groups in Burma and throughout the world. The decision shows that dam builders can no longer rely on dict

The Battle for the Xingu in Brazil

Thursday, September 29, 2011
Originally published on Huffington Post This month, I would like to share a piece on the movement to prevent the construction of what would be the world's third-largest hydroelectric dam on Brazil's Xingu River. Our Cultures of Resistance film crew was there for a massive indigenous demonstration in 2008. Today, the Battle for the Xingu continues. In every corner of the world today, we see unfathomably huge hydroelectric dams being built in places that destroy entire ecosystems and indigenous livelihoods. The notorious Three Gorges Dam in China has its rivals on all other continents


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