Social and Environmental Standards

Civil Society Declaration at 6th World Water Forum, Marseille, 2012

Friday, March 23, 2012
Global water justice movement call to action for governments on the implementation of the human right to waterMarseille, March 2012As members of the water justice movement gathered in Marseille, France to mobilize against the 6th World Water Forum, we issue this statement which also carries the voices of many from around the world who have not come to Marseille. We are in Marseille to give voice to the positive agenda of global water justice movements. We are here to oppose the corporate driven World Water Forum, which poses as a multi-stakeholder platform on water policy. 
 The context of

Activists Protest Greenwashing of Dams at World Water Forum

Activists erect inflatable dam at WWF
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Call for Compliance with the World's Highest StandardsActivists erect inflatable dam at WWF Marseille, France – Activists created a living river and inflated a large dam in central Marseille today against the corporate greenwashing of dams at this week's 6th World Water Forum in Marseille, France. The colourful manifestation of over 100 protestors from China, Turkey, Brazil, Vietnam, France, and others called attention to how dams are destroying the world's freshwater biodiversity and causing irreversible losses to the world's cultures. Ronack Monabay of Friends of the Earth – France, st

World Bank's Program-For-Results Loan Instrument: Good Intentions?

The World Bank's social and environmental standards face an uncertain future as Bob Zoellick leaves this year.
The World Bank's social and environmental standards face an uncertain future as Bob Zoellick leaves this year. The World Bank's Board of Directors has approved a new lending instrument called Program-For-Results (P4R). The instrument is supposed to fund programs, not provide project finance, and is meant to work within a borrower's existing regulatory framework – what the Bank calls a country systems approach. However, not all country systems are made equal. Some of today's largest dam financiers operate within a highly unaccountable national policy framework, where human righ

Hydroelectric Power: Spate of Dam Building Meets Resistance

Monday, November 28, 2011
Originally printed in the Financial Times. Peru’s Asháninka people have torn down the signs erected by Odebrecht, a Brazilian construction company, but the spectre of the Pakitzapango dam remains. The Asháninka, an Amazonian nation decimated in a brutal civil war in the 1980s and 1990s, say they are once again facing a threat to their survival in the form of the 2,000 megawatt hydropower project. “This concession was granted without informing or consulting us,” their leaders said in a protest letter. Their opposition is the latest sign of regional unease about the scale of Brazil’

Belo Monte Dam Does Not Meet Equator Principles, Say Rights Groups

Monday, November 7, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Brasilia, Brazil – The controversial Belo Monte Dam, slated for construction in Brazil's Amazon region, does not meet the standards of an international framework used by the world's largest private banks to evaluate sustainability, say human rights groups in Brazil. In a letter sent to Itaú, Banco do Brasil, Bradesco, Santander, and Caixa Econômica Federal, 150 Brazilian social and environmental organizations warned that Belo Monte developer Norte Energia, S.A. (NESA) has not complied with the Equator Principles, a set of voluntary standards created in 2003 that aid

Chinese Hydropower Scorecard Doesn't Fill the Accountability Gap

Great Bend of the Jinsha (upper Yangtze) River, China
Great Bend of the Jinsha (upper Yangtze) River, China The International Hydropower Association launched its non-binding sustainability guidelines scorecard in Beijing today, hoping to attract Chinese dam builders to what is turning out to be the world's latest industry-led greenwash.Yet the scorecard, called the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol (HSAP), may do little to fill the accountability gap that exists between country regulatory systems. The HSAP makes no requirement of developers to comply with national and international legislation.What's more, the HSAP has no real buy

Civil Society Statement on the Launch of the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol (HSAP)

Thursday, June 16, 2011
Congress of the International Hydropower Association Foz do Iguaçú, Brasil

 Make no mistake: the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol (HSAP) is a purely voluntary assessment tool.  It has little basis in multilateral international agreements, and exerts no binding force.  This proposed Protocol risks weakening existing social and environmental standards and concentrating control over assessments in the hands of the hydropower industry, ignoring the democratic processes of national legislation and international accords.  

The HSAP seeks only to measure, not enforce, the

Tribes Dispute Greenwashing by Dam Builders

Sheyla Juruna at the IHA Congress
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Conflict of Interest at Heart of Sustainability Guidelines, Says Environmental GroupFoz do Iguaçú, Brazil― Indigenous people from Brazil's vast but shrinking Amazon region yesterday interrupted the Congress of the International Hydropower Association, claiming that the Belo Monte Dam was approved illegally by the Brazilian government, vowing to fight as long as it takes to stop the dam. At the same event, environmental activists dismissed a new voluntary environmental tool as an effort by the dam industry to greenwash its practices. Sheyla Juruna of the Juruna tribe, which would be direct

Indigenous People Protest Hydropower Greenwash

Sheyla Juruna tells Valter Cardeal of Eletrobras that indigenous people did not give consent to Belo Monte Dam
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Sheyla Juruna tells Valter Cardeal of Eletrobras that indigenous people did not give consent to Belo Monte Dam International Rivers During the same day that the Peruvian government canceled Eletrobras' Inambari dam in the Peruvian Amazon as a result of non-compliance with the international Labor Organization's Convention 169 on the rights of indigenous peoples to Free, Prior, and Informed Consent, tribes from Brazil's Xingu River basin lambasted the Brazilian government at an International Congress for having failed to achieve consent from indigenous peoples who would be affected

World Bank to Back African Dams in New Energy Strategy

Takeze Dam in Ethiopia
Takeze Dam in Ethiopia The World Bank's new draft Energy Strategy makes some positive advancements in creating our energy future.  For example, the Bank has tentatively made a commitment to cut lending for coal projects in all countries that do not receive funding from the International Development Agency (IDA).  Yet what the Bank promises as a trade-off for coal spells trouble for the future of rivers in Africa.

 I've just come back from a meeting with Bank officials to address some of the problem language around dams in the draft strategy.  As the meeting came to a close,


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