Civil Society Constructively Challenges the World Hydropower Congress

Civil Society Constructively Challenges the World Hydropower Congress

A Parallel Event organized by Civil Society Organizations,

coinciding with the 2019 World Hydropower Congress

Save the Date: May 13, 2019

Hosted by: Town Hall of the 6th Arrondissement, Mairie du VIe, 78 rue Bonaparte, 75006 Paris, France

Co-Organizers: Planète Amazone, GegenStrömung/CounterCurrent, Rivers without Boundaries, International Rivers, AIDA



This 2019 World Hydropower Congress (WHC), convened by the International Hydropower Association – IHA will take place in Paris from May 14th – 16th. According to the IHA, this year’s congress will focus on hydropower’s role in “Delivering the Paris Climate Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals”, with the slogan ‘The Power of Water in a Sustainable, Interconnected World’.  

Considering the legacy of social, environmental and economic costs that have often characterized the implementation of hydroelectric dams, the extent to which such projects constitute solutions or obstacles to delivery of the Paris Climate Agreement and the UN’s Sustainable Goals is a matter that warrants in-depth analysis and public debate involving a variety of interested parties – including governments, scientists, indigenous peoples and movements of dam-affected peoples, environmental and human rights NGOs and the private sector, among others.

As a corporate-led event with prohibitively expensive entrance fees, the 2019 World Hydropower Congress will not provide such an opportunity for such as open dialogue, especially in terms of the participation of indigenous peoples, social movements and other civil society organizations. This conference, parallel to the 2019 World Hydropower Congress, has been organized by a coalition of civil society organizations to help fill this void, stimulating an open public debate on fundamental issues related to hydroelectric dams, the climate crisis, sustainable development and human rights. Special attention has been given to ensuring that the voices of indigenous peoples and other movements of dam-affected communities – normally excluded from decision-making circles and large events such as the World Hydropower Congress – will effectively be heard.


8:30 – 9:00

Registration / Check-in

9:00 – 10:00

Opening Session

– Welcoming speech by Jean-Pierre Lecoq, Mayor of 6th Arrondissement, Paris

– Event co-organizers (Planète Amazone, GegenStrömung/CounterCurrent, Rivers without Boundaries, International Rivers) and Extinction Rebellion

– Short version (1’) of video by filmmaker Todd Southgate (see below)

– French actor Pierre Richard

– Chief Arnaldo Kabá Munduruku

– Presentation of Joint Civil Society Declaration “The False Promises of Hydropowersigned so far by more than 200 organizations from 70 countries (to be publicly released on May 13th)

10:00 – 11:20

Panel 1: Hydropower, Sustainable Development and Human Rights – Moderator: Gert-Peter Bruch (Planète Amazone)

– Thilo Papacek – GegenStrömung / CounterCurrent

– Juan Pablo Soler Villamizar – Movimento Rios Vivos – Colombia / Latin American Movement of Dam-Affected Peoples (MAR)

– Alessandra Korap – Munduruku Indigenous Leader, Tapajós River – Brazil

– Assossa – Pygmee indigenous leader, Gabon

11:20 – 11:30

Excerpt from the documentary “TERRA LIBRE”, by Gert-Peter Bruch

11:20 – 12:50

Panel 2: Hydroelectric Dams and Heritage Sites – Moderator: Heike Drillisch (GegenStrömung / CounterCurrent)

– Jeff Opperman – Head Freshwater Specialist, WWF

– Candido Waro Munduruku – Associação DACE do Povo Munduruku do rio Teles Pires

– Eugene Simonov – Rivers without Boundaries, World Heritage Watch Network.

– Ercan Ayboga – Mesopotamia Ecology Movement / Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive

– Theresa Schiller – EuroNatur,

Presentation of the “Heritage Dammed”  Report will be held during this Panel.

13:00 – 14:00

Lunch Break (get your own lunch nearby)

14:00 – 14:20

Documentary on dams, climate change and sustainable development by filmmaker Todd Southgate

14:20 – 15:20

Panel 3: Corporate and Financial Institutions: Ensuring Accountability – Moderator: Eugene Simonov (Rivers Without Boundaries)

– Olivier Petitjean – Observatoire des Multinationales

– Arend Kolhoff – Netherlands Commission for Environmental Assessment

– Emilie Gallard – End Ecocide on Earth

– Brent Millikan – International Rivers (Brazil)

15:20 – 16:00 h

Panel 4 Hydropower and Climate Change – Moderator: Brent Millikan (International Rivers)

– Patrick Monier – Collectif Or de Question

– Philip Fearnside – National Institute for Amazonian Research (INPA, Brazil)

– Myint Zaw – journalist/activist, 2015 Goldman Environmental Prize (Asia /Myanmar)

16:00 – 17:25

Panel 5: Alternatives Pathways for Sustainable Energy and Healthy Rivers – Moderator: Thilo Papacek (GegenStrömung / CounterCurrent)

– Heike Drillisch – GegenStrömung, INFOE e.V. (Germany)

– Courtney Weatherby – Stimson Institute

– Roberto Epple – President of Wild Rivers Europe

– Eugene Simonov – Rivers without Boundaries

Watch Requiem for Dams !!!

17:20 – 17:45

Closing Session

– Event co-organizers – Closing Remarks, What’s Next

– Juan Pablo Soler Villamizar: Movimento Rios Vivos – Colombia / Latin American Movement of Dam-Affected Peoples (MAR)

– Alessandra Korap: Munduruku Indigenous Leader, Tapajós River – Brazil

– Extinction Rebellion

Civil Society activities will continue on May 14, when the opening of the World Hydropower Congress is scheduled to be held at Espace Grande Arche (Parvis de la Défense).


Please send inquiries to  Planète Amazone

or the RwB