Currently, on the initiative of China, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is being set up. As the ‘Chinese alternative to the World Bank’, AIIB will focus on financing large-scale infrastructure projects in Asia. The bank promises to be ‘lean, clean and green’, or in other words: non-bureaucratic, non-corrupt and environmentally friendly. Nevertheless, civil society organisations fear there will be disastrous consequences for local populations and the environment, considering China’s poor track record in these areas. In a letter to AIIB and in a press release, our partner 'NGO Forum on ADB' calls on the bank to develop strong safeguards.
Ten years after the start of the construction of the Nam Theun 2 dam in Central Laos, it is clear that this mega project has disastrous impacts on people and their environment. The project - originally the flagship of the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) - did not achieve its intended development goals. In a press release which was sent out this week, Both ENDS and partner organisations call on these multilateral banks to withdraw from large scale hydro dams such as Nam Theun 2. The dam, which became operational in 2010, has profound negative effects on local communities, while they do not benefit from it.
After 15 years of massive campaign by many organisations from Nepal and abroad, led by Nepalese NGO WAFED, the plans for the construction of the West Seti Dam in Nepal have been shelved. In 2010 the campaign had already forced the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to pull out from this project for its failure to comply with its own policy on information disclosure, public participation, environment, and the rights of indigenous people living in the affected area. The decision of the government of Nepal not to grant permission for construction to Australian construction company Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation (SMEC) is yet another success.
The Mekong River - one of the most important rivers in Asia - is under great threat. Laos, Thailand and Cambodia want to build eleven large hydropower dams on the river’s mainstream. These dams would disrupt the river and jeopardise the lives of millions of people who depend on it for their livelihood. On June 26, Ministers of Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam will gather on a meeting of the Mekong River Commission Council (MRC) in Bangkok. The MRC is responsible for the management of the river basin.This is why the ‘Save the Mekong coalition’ – a coalition of NGO’s - has issued a statement, calling upon the Prime Ministers to work together to address the economic and ecological threats these dams will pose.