Resources: Dams, Article

10 results
The case of Merowe Dam
Nicholas Hildyard

30 April 2008

The Merowe/Hamadab Dam on the River Nile in Sudan, which was completed in 2009, is the largest hydroproject in Africa. The major contracts were awarded to three European companies: Lahmeyer International, Alstom and ABB. Implementation to date has been characterised by human rights abuses, forced resettlement, illegality and a failure to abide by international standards. The companies consistently failed to use their influence to halt the dam's implementation until issues surrounding its impacts were resolved.

Litigation and Standards
Nicholas Hildyard

3 December 2005

International finance institutions promise that the projects they back will comply with international environmental and social standards -- but these standards are frequently flouted. NGOs can document such violations so as to bring concerns to decision-makers, the wider public and the courts.

Activism, Expertise, Commons
Larry Lohmann

27 September 2005

Seeing social or technical change as the application of new "theory" to "practice" is one of the hazards of 21st-century middle-class life. Middle-class activists could take a leaf from both expert elites and grassroots movements, who both tend to know better.

Conflict and the politics of infrastructure development
Nicholas Hildyard

28 May 2005

Infrastructure development is the point at which many conflicts, both past and future, over resources and decision-making meet. Several projects proposed or being implemented in Turkey illustrate these points.

(Or, rather: What went Right? For Whom?)
Nicholas Hildyard

10 July 2002

In July 2000, 19 corporations and individuals were being prosecuted in the Lesotho courts for bribing a top official in the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (a scheme intended to divert water from Lesotho to South Africa). This presentation explores the daily institutional practices that actively encourage the flouting of guidelines and anti-corruption regulations. It sheds light on the institutionalised racism that assumes the Third World to be inherently corrupt and corruptible, a view that underwrites bribery.

An Ilisu Dam Campaign Briefing on the ‘Ilisu Dam’s Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) -- Achieving International Best Practice’
The Ilisu Dam Campaign and The Corner House

6 September 2000

International groups campaigning against the controversial Ilisu Dam in Turkey obtained a copy of an assessment, commissioned by the export credit agencies considering financial support for the project, of the Turkish Government’s proposed resettlement plan. The assessment highlights serious problems with resettlement and reveals that two to three times more people may be affected than previously estimated -- possibly as many as 70,000 people, mainly ethnic Kurds.

Nicholas Hildyard

18 January 2000

This presentation challenges four myths about large dams: they provide a cheap and economic source of energy;  are an environmentally-benign source of energy; are uncontroversial in Europe; and result from impartial decision-making processes. It poses several detailed questions for the World Commission on Dams.

Larry Lohmann

31 March 1998

All development projects follow a three-act dramatic plotline, as development agencies try to impose plans, meet local opposition, and improvise freely in an attempt to overcome resistance.

ABB’s Hydropower Strategy under Review
Nicholas Hildyard

25 February 1998

Swedish-Swiss engineering company Asea Brown Boveri (ABB) has supplied generators for hydroelectric dams around the world, accounting for one-fifth of the world’s hydropower capacity. This analysis provides financial reasons why ABB should not continue to be involved in the hydropower sector. It forecasts a shrinking market because of substantial and growing opposition to large dams and insufficient private and public finance to build them. Its findings were circulated to ABB shareholders and financial journalists. In March 2000, ABB decided to sell its hydropower division, mentioning shareholders’ sensitivity to the significant environmental, human rights and social impacts of large-scale dams.

Whose Interest, Whose Rationality?
Larry Lohmann

31 May 1997

Cost-benefit analysis (CBA) is often regarded as a pure form of practical reasoning that can shift accountability onto supposedly impersonal mechanisms, summarize complex choices in a formulaic way, and transmute popular pressure, political debate and political conflict into quiet, office-bound operations performed on fixed and agreed-upon preferences. Yet CBA’s commensuration of things that no one has any experience in commensurating leads to odd new ways of treating reason, democracy, public opinion, space, time and personhood. And the more practical steps are taken toward its algorithmic ideal of decision-making, the more unforeseen political and social difficulties crop up, including popular resistance.