Peter Bosshard

International Rivers
Job title:
Policy Director
Tagline:
Wet, Wild and Wonky
Personal bio:
As International Rivers' Policy Director and before, the coordinator of a Swiss NGO, I have advocated for human rights and the environment for more than 20 years. When I'm not at work, I spend time with my family, hike, and visit the opera. My favorite river is the Albula in the Swiss Alps. “If you are interested in environmental public policy on a global scale, Peter Bosshard’s blog is the way to go,” the Policy Police recommends. Happy reading! You can also follow me on Twitter @PeterBosshard.
Date: Monday, December 15, 2014 - 09:29
Sinohydro, the world's largest hydropower contractor, has engaged in dialogue with International Rivers for the past five years. The company is now considering a series of dam projects that will test its commitment to social and environmental responsibility.
Date: Wednesday, December 10, 2014 - 17:42
In its budget bill for 2015, the US Congress passed strict conditions on what kind of dams the World Bank and international financiers can build. Will they transform the way dams are planned and developed?
Date: Monday, December 8, 2014 - 14:33
Healthy wetlands and other ecosystems are our best insurance against the vagaries of climate change, a new report by Wetlands International argues. The organization works with village groups around the world to restore the Inner Niger Delta and other critical ecosystems. Will a new project by the World Bank now undermine these efforts?
Date: Tuesday, November 11, 2014 - 09:32
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species is a much-needed health check up for our environment. It tells us what is happening to the Chinese river dolphin and other building blocks of life on Earth. We can't survive without the rich biodiversity on our planet, and are well-advised to heed the warning signs of the environmental health check-up.
Date: Thursday, July 3, 2014 - 14:39
Norway is one of the last countries which still fund hydropower dams with development aid. In an in-depth evaluation, the country’s Auditor General has concluded that this aid doesn’t benefit the poor. Given Norway’s role in the sector, the finding is of global importance.
Date: Thursday, May 22, 2014 - 17:12
Deltas belong to the world's most fertile regions. Many of them are suffering a slow death due to the downstream impacts of dam building. This blog summarizes the findings of a new report.
Date: Wednesday, March 5, 2014 - 12:43
The typical cost overruns of large dams are so big that these projects don't make economic sense. This is the conclusion of a major new study by a team of Oxford researchers. Will energy planners take note?
Date: Monday, February 10, 2014 - 10:14
The World Bank plans to turn the Inga 3 Dam on the Congo River into a private sector project. This is bad news for the DRC population and the environment.
Date: Wednesday, February 5, 2014 - 17:53
Under mounting pressure from local and international NGOs, the World Bank has just postponed a decision on the Inga 3 project. The time-out offers the chance for a new start that better addresses the country’s needs.
Date: Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 21:40
In a landmark decision Congress has instructed the US government to oppose any new large dams in international financial institutions, and called for justice for the victims of human rights abuses in their projects. What does this amazing breakthrough mean?
Date: Tuesday, December 17, 2013 - 17:03
At a meeting with donor governments in Moscow, the World Bank raised a whopping $52 billion in contributions today. The governments ignored critique about the Bank’s role in degrading ecosystems and impoverishing local communities, but civil society groups will have a chance to hold the Bank to account and reverse the decision next year.
Date: Thursday, December 12, 2013 - 09:35
Next week, donor governments will meet in Moscow to negotiate their contributions to the World Bank's IDA fund. Time for a change of course! NGOs are calling on governments to shift their contributions for energy projects from the World Bank to mechanisms that support clean local energy solutions for the poor.
Date: Thursday, December 5, 2013 - 15:46
Nelson Mandela passed away today, on December 5. Through the World Commission on Dams report, his life-long commitment to human rights dignity briefly shone a light on our own modest work on rivers and dams.
Date: Wednesday, November 20, 2013 - 10:43
Guest Blog by Eugene Simonov. The Mongolian Law to prohibit mineral exploration and mining operations at headwaters of rivers, water protection zones and forested areas was drafted and promoted by communities affected by gold mining. This unique legislation is now threatened by amendments proposed by the Ministry of Mining and many defenders of the law have been jailed.
Date: Monday, November 4, 2013 - 17:07
Climate change is bringing more extreme floods and droughts. Floodplains, marshes, dunes, reefs and mangrove forests - often referred to as green infrastructure or bioshields - are vital to making our societies more climate resilient in the face of extreme weather events. Large dams built today not only weaken the climate resilience of riverine ecosystems, but are themselves highly vulnerable to a changing climate.
Date: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 - 12:05
The World Bank plans to build "dams, dams, dams and more dams" in Africa. The Power 4 People coalition took its campaign to the Bank's doorsteps. Here is an update from an inspiring protest.
Date: Tuesday, October 8, 2013 - 09:52
In spite of numerous reforms, the World Bank continues to support environmental destruction through its projects. A new book explores why the world's most powerful development financier does not seem to be able to learn from its mistakes.
Date: Thursday, August 8, 2013 - 14:44
Energy conservation, efficiency improvements and renewable energy projects are the most effective ways to address the global energy and climate crisis. In spite of this, the World Bank's self-interests prioritize big dams and other centralized power plants. This article sheds light on the Bank's institutional constraints and perverse incentives.
Date: Tuesday, June 25, 2013 - 22:56
The staggering growth in renewable energy has the potential to fundamentally change the way we generate and use power. Previously dismissed as marginal technologies, renewables have become “increasingly mainstream and competitive with conventional energy sources.” This is the conclusion of a new report on the global status of renewable energies by the REN21 Network.
Date: Tuesday, May 21, 2013 - 12:20
Governments and donors have announced their plans to move forward with the Grand Inga Dam on the Congo River, the world's largest hydropower project. Mega-dams have often been presented as silver bullets for the region's power crisis, but have left Africa's poor high and dry.
Date: Tuesday, April 23, 2013 - 09:10
The Chinese government has issued environmental guidelines for Chinese overseas investors. They are not binding, but they express expectations for which NGOs that are faced with Chinese overseas projects can hold companies to account.
Date: Tuesday, April 16, 2013 - 11:15
The international hydropower industry is meeting in Ethiopia for their big Africa 2013 conference this week. When Rudo Sanyanga, the director of International Rivers’ Africa program and a noted freshwater biologist, signed up for the event, she was rejected because of her critical views. This illustrates an approach to dam building that increasingly silences dissenting voices.
Date: Thursday, April 11, 2013 - 09:26
China Development Bank has prepared the blueprint and business plan for China's rapid economic transformation. As the bank becomes the lender to the world, it needs to address the dark sides of its development model.
Date: Monday, March 18, 2013 - 15:08
The World Bank proposes to increase funding for mega-dams as part of the upcoming negotiations about the IDA fund for the poorest countries. Such an approach would undermine the Bank's purported goals of inclusive growth, gender equality, and climate resilience.
Date: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 - 12:27
California counts some of the nation's most beautiful rivers and dreadful reservoirs within her borders. Can you imagine a river trip from the Yosemite Valley to the Central Valley dams through the eyes of a tiny water molecule? Will Yanopah, our little river traveler, ever reach the San Francisco Bay?
Date: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 - 11:17
In this guest blog, Eugene Simonov from Rivers without Boundaries explains the benefits of a new transboundary water convention and encourages NGOs around the world to get involved in it.
Date: Monday, January 14, 2013 - 07:23
China has made great efforts to support poverty reduction in Africa, and likes to present itself as a friend of the African people. A new report warns that its loans for the Gibe III Dam and irrigation projects on the Omo River now threaten to pull China into an explosive regional conflict between well-armed groups in Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan.
Date: Thursday, November 8, 2012 - 14:53
A new report by the International Energy Agency reads like a propaganda piece by the dam industry. It calls for a massive expansion of hydropower dams, while consistently downplaying the impacts and risks of these projects.
Date: Tuesday, June 5, 2012 - 14:50
Renewable energy solutions are not only good for the environment. If done well, they can pay for themselves and reduce poverty around the world. This is the message of the 2012 Ashden Awards, which just recognized inspiring renewable energy programs from Afghanistan, Cambodia, East Africa, India and Indonesia.
Date: Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - 17:42
Some projects are so destructive that no reputable actors want to get involved with them. Think of the oil wells in Sudan’s conflict zones, China’s Three Gorges Dam, and the gas pipelines in Burma. If the price is right, however, some will still be tempted to do business on such projects through the back door. The World Bank is currently taking such an approach with a big credit for Ethiopia’s power sector.

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