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IWRA World Water Congress 2003 Madrid Spain
IWRA WWC2003 - default topic
Author(s): Mikiyasu NAKAYAMA

1 United Graduate School of Agricultural Science. Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology. 3-5-8 Saiwai-cho, Fuchuu-city, Tokyo 183-8509, Japan. Tel: +81-42-367-5667 / Fax: +81-42-360-7167. e-mail:
2 Faculty of Humanity and Environment Hosei University. Tokyo, Japan



We recently observe much more arguments about validity of dam construction in many regions and countries in the world. It appears that many people have become suspicious over dam construction on the basis of environmental conservation as well as protection for indigenous people and culture. The Involuntary resettlement of residents from inundation area has become the most critical and difficult problem. Dam constructors have been criticized because of massive relocation of residents caused by dam construction projects. However, there still exists many needs for dams in particular in the developing world, where increase of hydropower generation and expansion of irrigated agriculture have utmost importance.

The World Commission on Dams (WCD) published its only and final report "Dams and Development" in November 2000 after two and half years' of preparation process (WCD, 2000). The Dams and Sustainable Development session in the Third World Water Forum (held in March 2003 at Kyoto, Japan) mentioned "the recent World Commission on Dams (WCD) report, which reviews past dam projects and proposes a new approach to planning, has elicited strong reactions, both for and against. Some see the report as a new development paradigm, wishing to see it implemented in full. Others perceive it as unbalanced, overstating the benefits relative to the social-environmental costs. Several institutions claim that the proposed criteria and guidelines are not applicable in many situations and require further elaboration. Beyond these positions, many recognize that the WCD report made an important contribution and support its core values and strategic priorities. "

It appears, however, that the WCD has failed to propose a set of practical guidelines. The executive summary of the report, in fact, mentioned that the report was "not intended as a blueprint". At the final WCD Forum held in Cape Town, on 25-27 February 2001, former WCD chair, Professor Kadar Asmal, stated, "Our guidelines offer guidance - not a regulatory framework. They are not laws to be obeyed rigidly. They are guidelines, with a small 'g'."(WCD, 2001).

It is apparent that we still need solid modalities to deal with the very delicate issue of resettlement due to dam construction projects. Examining the proposed modality from the viewpoints of experiences gained in the past sounds a rational approach. More post-project reviews should be carried out, in this connection, to learn lessons from the past for the future. This study aims at (a) finding out if existing policy of organizations constructing dams, for involuntary resettlement issue of dam construction projects, is really instrumental to mitigate impacts and have resettlers re-establish their livelihood flawlessly after relocation, and (b) identifying the elements in compensation scheme which are essential to have a success in resettlement.

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