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 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
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 threatene
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 ha
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
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 dic
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 continent
Joint StatementNational Consultation Workshop on Lower Sesan 2 Hydropower Dam- 400MW We, 68 representatives including 29 females, of indigenous people living along Sesan, Srepok and Sekong rivers, represent more than 500 families from Stung Treng province (6 communes and 18 villages) and from Ratanakiri province (6 districts, 21 communes and 74 villages), who have been seriously and negatively affected by the development of the Yali Falls Hydropower Dam in Vietnam. Given the fact that the construction of the 400 megawatt Lower Sesan 2 Hydropower Dam on the Sesan River in Stung Treng province
In its 2011 annual meeting, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee expressed concern that unapproved dam construction was occurring on the Nu River, and dams were approved for the Jinsha River. In neither case have Environmental Impact Assessments been submited to the World Heritage Centre. China has until 1 February 2012 to submit a list and maps of all dams and their Environmental Impact Assessments. Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Area (China)The World Heritage Committee Decision 35 COM 7B.12 Having examined Document WHC-11/35.COM/7B, Recalling Decision 32COM 7B.11, adopted at its
Status of projects for which International Rivers and partners have submitted Comments as of July 1, 2011 For many years, International Rivers and our partners have been submitting comments on the worst hydropower projects in the CDM pipeline, raising issues ranging from environmental problems to human rights abuses to additionality. Our general experience has usually been that rather than seriously
assessing public comments, the validators, also known as DOEs, ignore any criticism of the project developers' claims. Recently, however, a number of these projects, for which we had rai
Protecting rivers and defending the rights of the communities that depend on them.
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