AMERICAN LOBBYING AGAINST RESERVOIR PROJECTS

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    America has urged international financial institutions to not invest in big reservoir based hydropower projects stating that doing so violates human rights and also disturbs environmental balance. Timely construction of Budhi Gandaki and other reservoir projects is now in doubt with America lobbying as per interest of different non-governmental organizations (NGO).

    The American Congress has already passed a bill to prevent hydropower projects with big dams. America has urged international financial institutions to not invest in such projects for effective implementation of the bill that has come into implementation since 2014. The American message that has come at a time when the World Bank and other international financial institutions have been preparing to invest in big reservoir projects is being taken meaningfully. The International Rivers, in its website, has said that the decision of the American Congress has poured cold water on the plan of World Bank.

    America has claimed that construction of projects with big dams will violate human rights, displace a large number of people and disturb environmental balance. The American decision will have direct impact on the World Bank, International Finance Corporation (IFC), Asian Development Bank (ADB) and other institutions. The Consolidated Appropriation Act was brought on initiation of Senator Patrick Leahy, according to the International Rivers. Leahy had also taken initiative for customs waiver for Nepali products in the American market.

    The website says the American Secretary of Treasury has instructed heads of the international financial institutions to not provide any kinds of loans, grants or strategic or policy assistance for projects with big dams as per the dam and development framework of the World Commission on Dams. The commission had taken decision to stop big dams in 2000. America claims that decentralizing the prioritization of investment on big projects and investing that into renewable resources of energy will be more effective and will help in poverty alleviation and also contribute to environment conservation. The American opposition will also obstruct construction of projects with big dams in Congo, Togo, Guyana, Laos and other countries.

    The World Bank has 200 member states. International Rivers and other international institutions have been urging for using US$ 1.60 billion of the World Bank for renewable resources through the Green Climate Fund. Former water resources minister Deepak Gyawali said such instruction may have come as big reservoirs projects displace a large number of people and violate human rights. He argued that America may have adopted such policy as previous experiences with such big projects are bad and they had resulted in adverse impact on a large number of people.

    Big projects in pipeline

    Nepal has started homework for 5040 MW Pancheshwor, 11000 MW Karnali Chisapani, 245 MW Naumure, 1100 MW Budhi Gandaki, 750 MW West Seti, Dudhkoshi, Andhikhola and other reservoir based projects with dams higher than 50 meters with that of Budhi Gandaki 263 meters. The World Commission on Dams in 2000 had defined all dams higher than 15 meters as big. The government through its recent Energy Crisis Reduction and Electricity Development Decade Plan had aimed to generate 5000 MW through reservoir based projects.

    Opposing elsewhere after constructing in America

    America is trying to obstruct construction of projects with big dams in other countries under influence of different NGOs after completing construction of such projects in America. America has constructed more than 200 projects with dams 55-230 meters. There is also increased risk of different western institutions and NGOs working for environment conservation opposing construction of such projects after the American opposition. The Arun III project was also aborted in the mid 1990s in the name of conservation of butterflies.

    Source : Karobar Daily