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)
- STATEMENT | Fortescue Metals Group’s Plan to Develop Grand Inga Hydro Scheme Won’t Deliver Green Energy for DRCInternational Rivers expresses its profound concerns over the announcement that Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) has entered into an agreement with the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to…
- Asian Development Bank: It’s Time to Stop Financing Large-scale Hydropower and other False Climate SolutionsYesterday, International Rivers’ Southeast Asia Program Director Gary Lee joined partners at the NGO Forum on ADB press conference. The science and historical evidence is clear–if we want to tackle…
- Press Release | Organizations warn OECD of Bolsonaro’s backsliding on human rights and environmental safeguardsNGOs criticize Brazil’s candidacy to join the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development while far-right administration dismantles socio-environmental policies Brasília, Brazil – Over sixty civil society organizations delivered a letter…