Damming for Development: Lessons from Laos

Friday, June 27, 2008
Opinion piece published by Reuters AlertNet A Lao man, his face and hands hardened by the sun and years of fishing, tends his water buffalo by the Theun River and wonders what his life will be like "after the flood". That's how he referred to the water that has now started rising behind the Nam Theun 2 dam, turning an area more than four times the size of Paris - including the land his family has tilled for generations - into a stagnant reservoir. Will he, and the more than 6,000 others who have been displaced, be better off thanks to the Nam Theun 2 hydropower project, as the Lao government,

Review of Resettlement Action Plan for Theun-Hinboun Expansion Project

Wednesday, April 16, 2008
The proposed Theun-Hinboun Expansion Project in central Laos will displace up to 4,800 people and negatively affect another 48,441 people living downstream, on project construction lands and in host villages. This review highlights key concerns about the August 2007 Draft Final Resettlement Action Plan for the Theun-Hinboun Expansion Project prepared by Norplan. It concludes that the resettlement plan is so poorly conceived and developed that it cannot and should not constitute a sound basis for decision-making. The plan obfuscates and downplays project impacts and fails to present a viable pl

International Rivers’ Statement on Nam Theun 2 Reservoir Flooding

Friday, April 11, 2008
The Nam Theun 2 Power Company, the Lao government and the World Bank announced that the Nam Theun 2 reservoir will begin filling this week with the sealing of the diversion tunnel. Dam gate closure to initiate full reservoir impoundment is planned for mid-June 2008. Shannon Lawrence, Lao Program Director for International Rivers, says: "By flooding the reservoir before addressing outstanding problems, Nam Theun 2 is once again prioritizing construction deadlines over social and environmental commitments. This two-track approach to such a risky project has left villagers unequipped to face the

Left High and Dry: African Communities Seek Justice for Harm Caused by Dams

Friday, August 1, 2008
Kariba Dam, on the Zambezi River in what is now Zambia and Zimbabwe, was the engine for the African copper mining industry, generating wealth for colonialists, and then to spur development of the two countries after independence. It was the World Bank’s first dam project. It is also one of Africa's most notorious cases of a people wronged in the name of national development. Today, it symbolizes Africans' quest for reparations for development-induced displacement, thanks to a home-grown alliance that is working to document the past wrongs and suggest ways forward for the affected

Social and Environmental Implications of Resource Development in Vietnam: The Case of the Hoa Binh Reservoir

Sunday, March 1, 1992
Hoa Binh Dam is of national importance as the country's principal source of electrical energy, but it has also resulted in massive social and environmental impacts at a more local level. A field study of one commune indicates the extent of disruption of local livelihoods caused by the dam. Displaced farmers are having to adapt to new agro-ecological conditions and a constrained resource situation, as well as the changes brought about by the restructuring of the rural economy that is part of the country's economic reform program. Unsustainable patterns of resource use result, with implications

Millions More to be Moved for Three Gorges Dam

Saturday, October 13, 2007
Chinese authorities have announced that as many as four million more people may need to be forcibly resettled to address the ever-increasing environmental impacts of the Three Gorges Dam Project. The people would be moved to curb pollution and prevent further erosion of the reservoir banks, which already threatens an environmental catastrophe and the project’s viability. International Rivers Network is extremely concerned about the dam’s human cost, which is spiraling out of control. More than one million people have already been forcibly displaced by the project, which is the biggest

Al Jazeera International on Nam Theun 2

Saturday, October 20, 2007
Al Jazeera International TV news story on Nam Theun 2, featuring an interview with International Rivers' Carl Middleton.

Resettlers Demand Improvements in Resettlement Package

Sunday, June 18, 2000
People due to be resettled by the second dam in the giant Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP) in southern Africa have issued a declaration to project authorities which, among other things, demands compensation before they move from their mountain communities to Lesotho’s lowlands. The demands are in response to advice given them by their former neighbors who were resettled from the area in 1998 for the first round of construction on Mohale Dam.Mohale Dam, which will deliver water to South Africass industrial heartland, will displace more than 2,000 people before its scheduled completion

What’s Wrong with the World Bank’s Approach to Resettlement?

Saturday, January 1, 2005
Lots, Says Longtime Resettlement Expert and Former WCD Commissioner The following is an excerpt from the new book The Future of Large Dams: Dealing with Social, Environmental, Institutional and Political Costs by Ted Scudder (Earthscan, 2005). Scudder is a well–known anthropologist who has worked on resettlement issues on large dams for nearly 50 years, and has been an expert advisor on a number of World Bank dams. He was also one of the 12 commissioners on the World Commission on Dams. Here he reflects on the World Bank’s resettlement record. A range of structural an

World Bank Safeguard Policies Are Not Sufficient for Hydropower Projects

Tuesday, June 14, 2005
Ms. Janet West Export Credits Division Trade Directorate, OECD Dear Ms. West: I would like to contribute to the process whereby the Participants to the OECD Arrangement on Officially Supported Export Credits and the environmental practitioners are currently considering strengthening their environmental policies for large hydro projects. May I ask you to kindly forward this memorandum to the Participants and the environmental practitioners? My expertise is that of an academic researcher and a consultant who has been studying the social and environmental impacts of large dams, especially hydro


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