Our rivers are a source of life – and a coveted resource for corporations and governments. While most hydropower companies commit to protecting these ecosystems, there’s a significant gap between policies and performance.
The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) says that corporations bear direct responsibility for upholding human rights. Dam builders routinely run afoul of even weak national laws and policies, however, facing little accountability for the damage they cause. The cost is borne by those who can least afford it – rural communities, women and fragile ecosystems.
Our Work to hold the Hydropower Industry Accoutable
We work with communities to hold these companies accountable, documenting and exposing human rights abuses, harm and corruption. We advocate for redress, including through the judicial system. We engage with governments and financiers about private sector standards and safeguards. We press for a just energy transition.
Take Action for dam collapse victims
Thousands of people lost their homes when faulty construction led to a devastating dam collapse in southern Laos. Those responsible for construction of the Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy hydropower project must be held accountable.
- Swindling the Mekong: Run-of-River Hydro (2017) (Also available in Thai, Khmer or Vietnamese)
- US Congress Supports Environmental Justice in IFI Projects (2014)
- Activist Guides to Sinohydro’s Environment and Social Policies (2014)
- The World Bank’s Big Dam Legacy
- Greenwashing Dams (2011) (Also available in Português, Español, Chinese, Russian, Vietnamese, Turkish, or Lao)
- Powering Conflict: An Analysis of Business and Human Rights Responsibilities in the Salween Basin (2020)
- Reckless Endangerment: Assessing Responsibility for the Xe Pian-Xe Namnoy Dam Collapse (2019)
- Watered Down: How do big hydropower companies adhere to social and environmental policies and best practices? (2019)
- Klamath Dam: PacificCorp must accept responsibility for removing its dams (Shoemaker, 2020)
- Chinese-built dam projects failing on environmental standards, green group International Rivers warns (2019)
- Migratory river fish populations plunge 76% in past 50 years (The Guardian, 2020)
- Developing news: Controversial Pak Beng Dam on the Mekong hits major milestone, despite warnings of widespread damage to environment and peopleOn September 13, the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand, or EGAT, signed a Power Purchase Agreement for the controversial Pak Beng Dam on the main stem of the Mekong River. …
- Finance in Common Summit shows reality is not meeting rhetoric when it comes to support for human rights and civic spaceBy: Josh Klemm, Co-Executive Director of International Rivers Earlier this month, I had the chance to attend the fourth annual Finance in Common (FIC) Summit in Cartagena, Colombia. A relatively…
- Is the Disaster in Libya Coming Soon to an Aging Dam Near You?Originally Published in The New York Times by Josh Klemm and Isabella Winkler Mr. Klemm and Ms. Winkler are co-directors of International Rivers, a group that advocates for healthy rivers and the rights…