False Promises of Dam Developers

False Promises of Dam Developers


More than 250 civil society organizations from more than 70 countries of the world have already signed a public statement “False Promises of Hydropower” which highlights the key threats and  problems associated with dam building. The Statement is a response of civil society to the world Hydropower Congress held in Paris on May 13-16 to promote further damming of our rivers.

You can read the different versions of the Statement in Chinese, English, Portuguese, Spanish, Russian and French on this link: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1E71t-G-cXoC_5XV2vBVOul86x1SsHnwV

The Statement was released in Paris, on May 13th, 2019

A Call for Action concluding the document stresses the following:


The undersigned civil society organizations call on the members of the International Hydropower Association, governments and international financial institutions to implement the following urgent actions:


  • Steer priorities, investments and financial incentives away from additional hydroelectric projects and towards energy efficiency and truly sustainable renewable energy options (solar, wind and biomass and, when appropriate, micro-hydro). Special attention should be given to opportunities for technological innovation, decentralized generation and improving energy access among isolated, off-grid communities.


  • Eliminate financial incentives for new hydroelectric projects within climate change mechanisms, such as the Green Climate Fund and Nationally Determined Contributions, and within programs to promote implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (with the possible exception of micro-hydro projects).


  • Commission independent audits of controversial existing dam projects and basin-wide cascades in terms of their social and environmental consequences, identifying steps to mitigate impacts and ensure just reparations for affected communities, based on direct consultations. When such measures are prohibitively expensive or otherwise inviable, the de-commissioning of dam projects should be undertaken.


  • Ensure the alignment of operational procedures for existing hydroprojects with relevant territorial plans at the basin level, such as integrated water resource management and protected areas that ensure key ecological processes and the rights of local communities, based on the concepts and tools of participatory, adaptive management.


  • Ensure that renewable energy policies and projects adopt, across the board, robust guidelines to safeguard human rights and environmental protections, such as ILO Convention 169 and the UN Principles on Business and Human Rights. No energy facilities that potentially impact the territories and livelihoods of indigenous peoples and other traditional communities should be authorized without obtaining the free, prior and informed consent of the community and ensuring the cooperative design of co-management strategies.


Among the benefits of such a paradigm shift in energy strategies and development planning will be major contributions toward protecting the world’s last free-flowing rivers, vital for climate resiliency, biodiversity conservation and sustainable livelihoods.


Energy companies and governments must halt all efforts to dam the world’s remaining free-flowing rivers and concentrate instead on: i) improving efficiency and the sustainability of existing hydropower projects and cascades; and ii) investing in energy efficiency and truly sustainable renewables.


Moreover, governments must urgently promote the permanent legal protection of the world’s last free-flowing rivers, including transboundary watercourses, with due respect for the territorial rights of indigenous peoples and other traditional communities, who play fundamental roles as the guardians of healthy rivers.

The Statement is a sign of awakening in broad global civil society, which realized that the last remaining natural rivers and indigenous lands may be soon gone due to rampant advance of the hydropower business.

Any organization sharing these concerns can sign the Statement here https://forms.gle/dRAM61vVXfh3xYFLA