Tag Archive for 'world bank'

World Bank Indefinitely Postpones Inga 3 Project

Photo retrieved from: www.internationalrivers.org

“The World Bank has just made a surprise decision to indefinitely postpone the board discussion of its support for the huge Inga 3 Dam in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Bank’s board of directors was scheduled to vote on February 11 on a US$73 million grant to prepare for the project. Opposition from local and international NGOs has been mounting, and civil society groups are now urging the Bank to fundamentally reconsider the Inga 3 project.

As proposed, the Inga 3 Dam would generate power for mining companies and the South African market, not for the more than 90% of the DRC population that has no access to electricity. In a letter to the World Bank, a coalition of 12 Congolese NGOs asks that the needs of the local population be prioritized in a comprehensive assessment of the country’s energy needs and options. If the Inga 3 Dam were to go ahead, they state, at least 50% of the power generated by the dam should serve the energy needs of the population.

Danny Singoma, Executive Director of the Congolese NGO CENADEP, comments: “The project assumes that the revenues from the power exports will benefit local people. These kinds of development have never worked in our country, where there is so much corruption and no accountability to the citizens by those in power.”

The DRC has a large potential of clean local energy sources such as solar and micro-hydropower. Rudo Sanyanga, Africa Program Director for International Rivers, comments: “Decentralized energy is the only feasible way of meeting the energy needs of the majority in such a vast country with limited capacity for maintaining huge infrastructure.”

Read more: International Rivers

 

U.S. pushes for outside oversight of World Bank, opposes push toward ‘big hydro’

Photo retrieved from: www.washingtonpost.com

“The United States is demanding stricter oversight of World Bank projects amid concern that the bank has slipped in how closely it guards against violence, forced resettlement and other conflict associated with the works that it funds.

In a blow to plans set by World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, the United States recently approved an appropriations bill that orders the bank’s U.S. board member to vote against any major hydroelectric project — a type of development that has been a source of local land conflicts and controversies through­out the bank’s history. The measure also demands that the organization undertake “independent outside evaluations” of all of its lending.

The demand coincides with a spate of disputes between the World Bank, civil society groups and the United States over past bank-funded projects that have been linked to killings of villagers and forcing people from their land. The cases include still-unpaid reparations from a Guatemala dam project from the 1970s in which hundreds of villagers were killed, concern about forced relocations in Ethiopia, and funding for a palm oil and food company whose operations in Honduras in recent years were the scenes of deadly fighting between workers and security guards.”

Read more: The Washington Post

 

The World Bank is bringing back big, bad dams

Photo retrieved from: www.guardian.co.uk

“Following a trend set by new financiers from China and Brazil, the World Bank now wants to return to supporting mega-dams that aim to transform whole regions. In March, it argued that such projects could “catalyse very large-scale benefits to improve access to infrastructure services” and combat climate change at the same time. Its board of directors will discuss the return to mega-dams as part of a new energy strategy on Tuesday.

The World Bank has identified the $12bn (£8bn) Inga 3 Dam on the Congo River – the most expensive hydropower project ever proposed in Africa – and two other multi-billion dollar schemes on the Zambezi River as illustrative examples of its new approach. All three projects would primarily generate electricity for the mining companies and middle-class consumers of Southern Africa.

The World Bank ignores that better solutions are readily available. In the past 10 years, governments and private investors installed more new wind power than hydropower capacity. Last year, even solar power – long decried as a Mickey Mouse technology by the dam industry – caught up with new hydropower investment. Wind and solar power are not only climate friendly, they are also more effective than big dams in reaching the rural poor in sub-Saharan Africa, most of whom are not connected to the electric grid.”

Read more: The Guardian

 

Are we responsible for the Uttarakhand disaster? World Bank report says global warming is making Indian Monsoon unpredictable

Photo retrieved from: www.indiatoday.com

“India’s summer monsoon will become highly unpredictable if the world’s average temperature rises by two degree Celsius in the next two-three decades, a scientific report commissioned by the World Bank says.

The report released here on Wednesday evaluates at the likely impacts of warming between two degree Celsius and four degree Celsius on agricultural production, water resources, coastal ecosystems and cities across South Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia.

Coastal cities like Kolkata and Mumbai are “potential impact hotspots” threatened by extreme river floods, more intense tropical cyclones, rising sea levels and very high temperatures, the report ‘Turn down the heat: Climate extremes, regional impacts and the case for resilience’ says.

Depicting life in a not-too-distant future shaped by already present warming trends, the new report warns that by the 2040s, India will see a significant reduction in crop yields because of extreme heat.

It says shifting rain patterns will leave some areas under water and others without enough water for power generation, irrigation or, in some cases, for even drinking.

“An extreme wet monsoon that currently has a chance of occurring only once in 100 years is projected to occur every 10 years by the end of the century,” the report says.

The warming will impact significant reduction in crop yields and some 63 million people may no longer be able to meet their caloric demand. Decreasing food availability can also lead to significant health problems, it warns.”

Read more: India Today

Can Jakarta ever root out the problems that cause so much destruction after every monsoon season?

Photo retrieved from: www.inquirer.net

“Jakarta, Indonesia, is one of Asia’s most flood-prone cities. Every year hundreds of thousands of citizens living in the capital of Southeast Asia’s largest economy brace for the loss of business, shelter and livelihoods.

Each year, as the rainy season approaches, the authorities insist they are ready to counter the tides of brown murky water, trash, and even animals, surging downstream. But the annual city-wide submergence continues.

This year’s sustained downpour threatens to prompt the kind of flooding not seen since 2007 when 350,000 people were evacuated from water-logged areas and dozens were killed. Already, at least 100,000 people have been affected. Army personnel have been deployed to some of the city’s poorest parts to clean up – a process likely to take weeks, if not months.

Asia’s monsoon season prompts annual debate about the state of infrastructure and the fundamental mismanagement of vital systems meant to keep some of the world’s biggest cities moving. With a population of 10 million, Jakarta’s latest battle to stem the tide highlights a deeper political and social problem: The government’s inability to remove and rehabilitate low-lying slum areas; an unwillingness on part of thousands of poor people to leave dangerous areas despite the risk to themselves and their families; and the overwhelming problem of waste and dumping, often cited as the biggest hindrance to keeping Indonesia “flood-free”.

Indonesia faces a formidable challenge: The country’s economy is growing at breakneck speed, its population is rising and the pressures on its decaying systems are mounting. The World Bank has stepped in to help save what it describes as a “sinking city”, due to rising sea levels, trash and annual rain. To dig the city out of its mess, the World Bank has invested $200 million to dredge parts of Jakarta.”

Read more: Aljazeera

 

Defense and Security Companies Are Planning to Cash in on Climate Change and Environmental Collapse

Photo retrieved from: www.energydigital.com

“It is not just the coercive industries that are positioning themselves to profit from fears about the future. The commodities upon which life depends are being woven into new security narratives based on fears about scarcity, overpopulation and inequality. Increasing importance is attached to ‘food security’, ‘energy security’, ‘water security’ and so on, with little analysis of exactly what is being secured for whom, and at whose expense? But when perceived food insecurity in South Korea and Saudi Arabia is fuelling land grabs and exploitation in Africa, and rising food prices are causing widespread social unrest, alarm bells should be ringing.

The climate security discourse takes these outcomes for granted. It is predicated on winners and losers – the secure and the damned – and based on a vision of ‘security’ so warped by the ‘war on terror’ that it essentially envisages disposable people in place of the international solidarity so obviously required to face the future in a just and collaborative way.

To confront this ever creeping securitisation of our future, we must of course continue to fight to end our fossil fuel addiction as urgently as possible, joining movements like those fighting tar sands developments in North America and forming broad civic alliances that pressure towns, states and governments to transition their economies to a low-carbon footing. We can not stop climate change – it is already happening – but we can still prevent the worst effects.”

Read more: Alternet

A Global Treaty on Rivers: Key to True Water Security

Photo retrieved from: www.wwfpanda.org

“Back in 1997, the UN adopted the Convention on the Non-Navigable Uses of International Watercourses. It did not lay down hard and fast rules for sharing waters, but it was a statement of principle that nations should ensure the “sustainable and equitable use of shared rivers.”

Only three countries voted against: China, Turkey and Burundi — all of them upstream countries on major rivers. China is the water tower of Asia. Its Tibetan plateau is the source of the Indus, Brahmaputra, Irrawaddy, Salween, and Mekong rivers. But in refusing to sign the treaty, China asserted that it had “indisputable territorial sovereignty over those parts of international watercourses that flow through its territory.”

To come into force, the treaty required 35 nations to ratify it in their legislatures. To date only 28 countries have done so. Other refuseniks include the U.S. and Britain, an original sponsor of the treaty. But the momentum for ratification is picking up. Eight of the 28 ratifiers did so in the last three years. France has become a cheerleader for the convention. Jean-Pierre Thebault, France’s environment ambassador, told a meeting I attended in Helsinki in September that he hoped enough nations would join for it to come into force in time for the UN’s International Year of Water Cooperation in 2013.”

Read more: Yale Environment 360

China Brings Dams Back To Africa

Photo retrieved from: www.wyvern.k-o.org

“Mike Muller is a South African water expert, engineer and writer on development issues. He is also commissioner at South Africa’s National Planning Commission and a visiting professor at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg; a member of the Global Water Partnership’s Technical Advisory Committee and an advisor to the UN World Water Assessment Programme. He was previously director general of South Africa’s Department of Water Affairs and Forestry.

Olivia Boyd caught up with him on the sidelines of a water conference in Oxford, where he was speaking about China’s role in African hydropower development.

Olivia Boyd:  You argue that China has broken an “investment boycott” when it comes to hydropower in Africa. Can you explain what that means?  What was the boycott, and what caused it?

Mike Muller: The multilateral organisations and a lot of the bilaterals were essentially blocked from investing in large water infrastructure because environmental concerns had dominated the agenda. Western NGOs had actually constrained lending policy. This is well-documented in the case of the World Bank, but equally true for a lot of other agencies.”

Read more: The Third Pole

 

World Bank Needs to Make Infrastructure Work for the Poor

Photo retrieved from: www.internationalrivers.org

“Kikwit is a town of almost one million people in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Its inhabitants have no access to electricity. Because the water pumps are no longer working, they have no access to clean water either. In the 1990s, the town made news through an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus, which was helped by the poor sanitary conditions.

Kikwit is not located at the end of the world. It lies underneath the power lines of the Inga dams on the mighty Congo River. Yet the electric current that hums overhead is not meant for poor people. It is exported to the mining companies in the southern Katanga province. Over the past decades, billions of dollars have been invested in the DRC’s power sector. They have created a stark energy divide: eighty-five percent of the country’s electricity is consumed by energy-intensive industries, while 94 percent of the population has no access to electricity.”

Read more: International Rivers

Water Sector Options for India in a Changing Climate

Photo retrieved from: www.washfinance.com

“On the eve of the World Water Day 2012, the South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers & People (SANDRP) is happy to publish its new report: Water Sector Options for India in a Changing Climate. The report highlights that for the poorest sections, also most vulnerable in the climate change context, the water, food, livelihood and energy security, closely linked with the environment security, is already getting severely affected in the changing climate. It is well known that water is the medium through which climate change impacts are most dominant. South Asia is considered possibly the most vulnerable region in terms of number of people that would be affected by climate change impacts, and within South Asia, India has the largest vulnerable population. The importance of understanding the Water Sector Options in such a situation cannot be underestimated. The report highlights the options for coping and mitigating climate change challenges in water sector in India.”

Read more: www.sandrp.in