Sierra Club of/du Canada


A letter concerning Dams and Development.

The World Commission on Dams was formed in 1998 after a realization that the construction of large dams was consistently highly contested, and often resulted in irreparable harm to ecosystems and communities. The Commission’s final report, `Dams and Development: A New Framework for Decision Making’ lays out a process to ensure that the construction of large dams and other energy and water projects avoids negative social, environmental and economic impacts.

The following letter was sent to C.V.J Varma, President, International Commission on Dams, on June 13, 2003. Over 100 groups signed on from over 30 different countries.



Mr. C.V.J. Varma
President
International Commission on Dams
C/o CIGB - ICOLD Montréal 2003
75, boul. René-Lévesque West, 21st floor,
Montréal, QC H2Z 1A4
Canada


Dear Mr. Varma

Civil society organizations around the world call on the International Commission on Dams (ICOLD) to incorporate the recommendations of the World Commission on Dams (WCD) into their new Code of Ethics. This call coincides with the 21st Congress of ICOLD being held in Montréal, June 16-20, 2003.

As you know, the World Commission on Dams was formed in 1998 after a realization that the construction of large dams was consistently highly contested, and often resulted in irreparable harm to ecosystems and communities. The Commission was made up of representatives from affected communities, NGOs, academia, governments and industry; industry representatives included the ICOLD honorary chairman, Jan Veltrop.

The result is an innovative framework within which to examine dams both existing and planned. The Commission’s final report, `Dams and Development: A New Framework for Decision Making’ lays out a process to ensure that the construction of large dams and other energy and water projects avoids negative social, environmental and economic impacts.

After decades of conflict surrounding dams, ICOLD is now developing a Code of Ethics. We urge ICOLD to use this new Code as a foundation for responsible corporate behaviour, and as a vehicle for putting into practice the WCD’s call on industry, with the support of governments and financial institutions, to “Develop projects in an open and transparent manner [that is] inclusive of all legitimate actors involved” (WCD Report, p. 211). Implementing this new approach to project development will at minimum require implementation of the Policy Principles elaborated in Chapter 8 of the WCD’s report. Specifically, the following Policy Principles should be incorporated into the Code of Ethics:

  • Achieve demonstrable public acceptance through informed, open and transparent negotiations that lead to binding and formal agreements. (PPs 1.1-1.3)

  • In the case of indigenous groups, guide processes by free, prior and informed consent. Informed consent requires making environmental and social information available in local languages. (PP 1.4)

  • Conduct transparent and participatory comprehensive assessments of needs and options, prior to the selection of any specific development plan, that result in a full range of possible policy, technical and institutional choices that meet the needs of communities. (PPs 2..1-2.2)

  • Recognize that equal weight should be put on social, environmental, technical, and economic factors in the assessment process. (PP 2.3)

  • Build post-project monitoring, evaluation and periodic reviews of the benefits and impacts of dams into licensing agreements, and set aside appropriate resources to meet these challenges. (PP 3.1)

  • Modernize and upgrade existing facilities, and introduce measures to address outstanding social issues and strengthen outstanding environmental mitigation and reparation claims linked to existing dams, and act upon them. (PP 3.2-3.4)

  • Recognize the entitlements of rights holder and risk bearers to “negotiate mutually agreed, formal and legally enforceable mitigation, resettlement and development entitlements” and to be the first to share in the benefits of the project. (PPs 5.1-5.4)

ICOLD is far behind other industry sectors in its failure to adopt a Code of Ethics. As Geoff Sims, then Vice President of ICOLD, noted in his response to the Commission’s report in November 2000: “The Report is the nearest we have to global guidelines for the development of projects involving larger dams. To avoid the waste involved with the bitter arguments of the past we have a duty to adapt our working methods to conform to the guidelines WCD have revealed”.

We urge you to use the occasion of ICOLD’s 21st Congress to adopt the WCD policy principles and to lay out a plan of action to ensure industry compliance with them.

Sincerely,

Fraser Reilly-King Peter Bosshard,
NGO Working Group on EDC, International Rivers Network,
Canada USA.

Dra. Anna Petra Roge de Marzolini
Asociacion Ambientalista EcoLaPaz/FOEI Argentina

Kate Walsh
AID/WATCH - Monitoring Aid and Trade
Australia

Ninon Machado
Instituto Ipanema
Brazil

Elisangela Soldatelli Paim
Friends of the Earth Brazil
Brazil

Akong Charles Ndika
Global Village Cameroon
Cameroon

Beatrice Ongolo
Club des Amis du Cameroun
Amitié-Paix-Développement
Cameroon

Patrick Obel Okeli
PALAGRISE
Republique du Congo

Robert Hornung
Pembina Institute for Appropriate Development
Canada

Eric Duchemin
Energy and Climate Change Commission Union Québécoise pour la conservation
de
la Nature
Canada

John O'Driscoll
Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society
Canada

David B. Brooks
Friends of the Earth
Canada

Joan Kuyek
MiningWatch
Canada

Dr. Richard Tavarov
The Tatonka Foundation
Canada

Jean Arnold
Falls Brook Centre
Canada

Eric Gagnon
Rupert Reverence
Canada

Jean-Jacques Reigneau
Révérence Rupert
Canada

Pimicikamak Cree Nation
Canada

Thubten Samdup
The Canada Tibet Committee
Canada

Vanessa McMain
The Humane Society of Canada
Canada

Mark Angelo
Outdoor Recreation Council of British Columbia
Canada

Karen Cambell
West Coast Environmental Law
Canada

Daniel Green
La Société Pour Vaincre la Pollution
Canada

Elizabeth May
Sierra Club
Canada

Theresa Wolfwood
Barnard-Boecker Centre Foundation
Canada

Richard Bridge
West Arm Watershed Alliance
Canada

Max Finkelstein
Author
Canada
(non-affiliated)

Regan Morgan
Filmaker
Canada.
(non-affiliated).

Roberto Epple,
ERN European Rivers Network
France

Jacques Zeimert
Loire Vivante Network
France

Nicolas Guihard
Agir ici
France

Damien Millet
Comité pour l'Annulation de la Dette du Tiers-Monde (CADTM)
France

Sébastien Godinot
IFI reform campaign

Friends of the Earth France

Heffa Schuecking
Urgewald
Germany

Bernhard Henselmann
EarthLink - The People & Nature Network
Germany

Heike Drillisch
World Economy, Ecology & Development
(WEED)
Germany

Jorge Varela Marquez
Comité para la Defensa y Desarrollo de la Flora y Fauna del Golfo de Fonseca
(CODDEFFAGOLF)
Honduras, C.A.

Shripad Dharmadhikary
Manthan Adhyayan Kendra
India.
Member of UNEP-DDP Steering Committee.

Himanshu Thakkar
South Asia Network on Dams
Rivers & People
India

Roy Laifungbam
Citizens Concern for Dams and Development
India.

Antonio Tricarico
Campagna per la riforma della Banca mondiale
Italy

Ikuko Matsumoto
Friends of the Earth
Japan

Satoru Matsumoto
Mekong Watch
Japan

Rosemary Rop
Maji - na - Ufanisi (Water and Development)
Kenya

Ben E.T. Van-Tonder
Highlands Church Solidarity and Action Centre
Lesotho

Jose Luis Aguilar Garcia
Comisión Justicia y Paz
México

Anabela Lemso and
Katya Hassan
LIVANINGO
Mozambique

Ganga Prasad Subedi
Humanist Association of Nepal
Nepal

Gopal Siwakoti 'Chintan'
Water and Energy Users' Federation-Nepal (WAFED) / South Asian Solidarity
for
Rivers and Peoples (SARP)
Nepal

Wiert Wiertsema
Both ENDS
The Netherlands

Hope E. Ogbeide
Society for Water & Public Health Protection (SWAPHEP)
Nigeria

Dr. Anthony E. Ogbeibu
Departmentof Zoology
University of Benin
SWAPHEP
Nigeria

Rev. David Ugolor
African Network for Environmental and Economic Justice (ANEEJ)
Nigeria

Tonje Folkestad
Association for International Water and Forest Studies (FIVAS)
Norway

Joan Carling
Cordillera Peoples Alliance
Philippines.

Victoria Corpuz
Tebtebba Foundation
Philippines

Lidy Nacpil
Freedom from Debt Coalition
Jubilee South
Philippines

Luís Galrão
EURONATURA
Portugal

Vladimir Slivyak
Ecodefense
Russia

Alexandra Koroleva
Baltic Resource and Information Center Kaliningrad, Russia

Alexey Milovanov
World Information Service on Energy - Kaliningrad, Russia

Alisa Nikulina
Anti-nuclear campaign of the Socio-Ecological Union Int'l
Russia

Sindisiwe Ngcobo
Network for Advocacy of Water Issues in South Africa (NAWISA)
South Africa

Earthlife Africa Ethekwini
South Africa

Jonathan Cartwright
DEF
South Africa

John Taylor.
Sustainable Water Forum
South Africa

Liane Greeff
Environmental Monitoring Group
South Africa

Philip Owen
Geasphere
South Africa

Patrick Dowling
Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa
South Africa

Peter Niggli
Swiss Coalition of Development Organizations
Switzerland

Göran Ek
Swedish Society for Nature Conservation
Sweden

Jean-Claude Huot
Berne Declaration
Switzerland

Bruno Gurtner
Swiss Coalition of Development Organizations
Switzerland

Benedict Chacha Peter
Foundation HELP
Tanzania

Bubelwa E Kaiza
Concern for Development Initiatives in Africa (ForDIA)
Tanzania

S. Parasuraman
ActionAid
Thailand

Shalmali Guttal
Focus on the Global South
Thailand

Muramuzi Frank
National association of Professional Environmetalists (NAPE)
Uganda

Davis Kateregga
YMCA/The Uganda NGO RIO + 10 Coalition
Uganda

Frances Carr
Down to Earth: the International
Campaign for Ecological Justice in Indonesia

UK

Geoff Nettleton
Indigenous Peoples Links
UK

Dr. Ute Collier
Dams Initiative Leader
WWF Living Waters Programme
UK

Tom Griffiths
Forest Peoples Programme
UK

Margaret O'Rourke
Sister Margaret O'Rourke
St Athanasius Food Pantry
USA

Larry Williams
Sierra Club United States
USA
Margaret B. Bowman
American Rivers
USA

Doug Norlen
Pacific Environment
USA

Patrick McCully
International Rivers Network
USA

Sister Mary Turgi CSC
The Holy Cross International Justice Office
USA

Mishka Zaman
Bank Information Center
USA

Manna Jo Greene
Hudson River Sloop Clearwater
USA

Marcos A. Orellana
Center for International Environmental Law
USA

Ken Bradley
JustEnergy
Minnesotans for an Energy-Efficient Economy
USA

Alan Muller
Green Delaware
USA

Bruce Rich
Environmental Defense
USA

Jon Sohn
Friends of the Earth
USA

Amit Srivastava
Global Resistance
USA

Sister Ann Oestreich
Congregation Justice Committee
Sisters of the Holy Cross
USA

Ari Hershowitz
BioGems Project Latin America
Natural Resources Defense Council
USA

Daniel Bradlow
Professor of Law
Washington D.C
USA.
(non-affiliated)

Isaac Mumpande
Basilwiz Trust
Zimbabwe


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