Social and Environmental Standards

Happy Birthday, World Commission on Dams!

Ngoh Seh Suan/Wikimedia Commons Ten years ago on this day, Nelson Mandela launched the report of the independent World Commission on Dams (WCD) at a glitzy ceremony in London. The Commission – composed of prominent members of governments, the dam industry, civil society and academia – had carried out the first in-depth assessment of the development impacts of dams. It found that while “dams have made an important and significant contribution to human development,” in “too many cases an unacceptable and often unnecessary price has been paid to secure those benefits”. For example,

Voluntary Approach Will Not Resolve Dam Conflicts

A Critique of the International Hydropower Association's New Assessment ProtocolOctober 2010 SummaryThe International Hydropower Association, a lobby group of the dam industry, recently published the recommended final draft Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol (IHA Protocol). The authors call the new Protocol a "sustainability assessment framework" which has "the potential to make a substantial contribution to advancing sustainability in the hydropower sector". Yet the document risks weakening existing social and environmental standards in the dams sector, and allows the hydropower in

Letter to US Secretary of State on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Monday, September 13, 2010
The Honorable Hillary Rodham ClintonSecretary of StateU.S. Department of State2201 C Street NW. Washington, D.C. 20520 RE: United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Dear Madam Secretary: We, the undersigned, strongly encourage the United States to endorse the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as adopted by the United Nations on September 13, 2007 in New York. By endorsing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the United States will affirm to the world that indigenous peoples have a right to exist as distinct peoples and cultur

Defending Rivers and Rights

Thursday, September 9, 2010
Originally published in Pambazuka News Across the globe, from the floodplains of the Amazon to the foothills of the Himalayas, from Burmese forests to Ethiopia's Omo Valley, peasant and indigenous communities are fighting against destructive dams. Dams have deprived hundreds of millions of people of their homes, farmlands, fisheries and forests. Millions more are threatened by projects that are planned or under construction, writes Peter Bosshard. In early September, governments, dam builders, academics and environmental organizations will get together at World Water Week in Stockholm. The

At World Water Week, an Appeal for Rivers and Rights

Tuesday, September 7, 2010
On September 7, dam builders, governments and NGOs are meeting at World Water Week in Stockholm to discuss appropriate social and environmental standards for future dams. They convene on the 10th anniversary of the World Commission on Dams (WCD), which proposed a new decision-making framework for dams emphasizing the rights of affected people and the protection of the environment. Peter Bosshard, Policy Director of International Rivers, pointed out at the Stockholm event that the principles of the WCD have become the most legitimate benchmark for water and energy projects. Recent experience wi

Protecting Rivers and Rights: the Promise of the WCD

Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Ten years after the World Commission on Dams (WCD) report, the WCD is still our best roadmap towards ensuring that future dams minimize social and environmental impacts, the legacy of existing dams are addressed, and affected people directly benefit from the projects. Watch this video, produced by International Rivers and EcoDoc Africa, to learn more about the promise of the WCD.

Protecting Rivers and Rights: Ten Years after the World Commission on Dams Report

We are committed to meeting the world's water and energy needs in an equitable way while preserving healthy rivers and the livelihoods that depend on them. We have ongoing concerns about large dams and the ways in which they are being planned, implemented and operated. A decade after the World Commission on Dams (WCD) issued its groundbreaking report, the evidence continues to mount that large dams – unless they are developed with the strictest environmental and social standards – bring significant costs to people and the planet: The UN's Third Global Biodiversity Outlook (May 201

Protecting Rivers & Rights: World Commission on Dams Recommendations in Action

Thursday, July 1, 2010
The most comprehensive guidelines for large dams that protect the rights of river-dependent communities were outlined by the World Commission on Dams (WCD) in 2000. Ten years later, International Rivers is happy to announce a new briefing kit for activists and allies, "Protecting Rivers and Rights: The World Commission on Dams Recommendations in Action," as part of our WCD+10 activities to move the dams debate forward. The purpose of this publication is to provide activists with concrete examples of where and how the WCD principles have been applied, and what happened when they were ignored.

Civil Society Letter to the World Bank on Large Hydropower

Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Ms. Kathy Sierra Vice President, Sustainable Development Network The World Bank 1818 H Street NW Washington, DC 20433 Dear Ms. Sierra, As the World Bank Group develops its Energy Strategy, we are concerned that the Bank's pledge to increase support for large hydropower projects will result in increased poverty and irreversible social and environmental damages. A decade after the release of the World Bank-supported World Commission on Dams (WCD) report, the evidence continues to mount that large dams bring significant and unmitigated costs to society and to riverine ecosystems: The UN'

Dam Standards

Fishermen on the Amur-Heilong River, China
Fishermen on the Amur-Heilong River, China
Eugene Simonov

The most comprehensive guidelines for large dams that protect the r

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