Amid pomp, traditional dance and splendor, in rural Chisamba, central Province, the President of Zambia, Edgar Chagwa Lungu, cut an elaborate ribbon donned in Zambian colors of red, black, green and orange to lay a foundation stone to mark the construction of the Mwomboshi Dam. The dam construction is funded by the World Bank under the Irrigation Development and Support Project (ISDP) with the amount of $37 million. Not only did I attend this significant ground-breaking ceremony as a representative of the World Bank Group (WBG), but I also took the opportunity to say a Bemba agriculture idiom I have been taught by my colleagues at the office.
It’s the classic conundrum that governments typically grapple with. Which projects are most beneficial in the long-term? How do large, expensive projects impact on the debt dynamics and macroeconomic stability? While there is a need for large infrastructure investment in the developing world it is often difficult for governments to determine the most beneficial projects.
In the World Bank we often discuss how important it is to integrate solutions across sectors. In Mombasa, Kenya, we have an example of how a comprehensive sediment management approach will allow the government to lower the environmental impact of a proposed dam and save tens of millions of dollars by reducing the amount of sediment that the dam traps. When too much sediment is trapped in a dam, the lifespan of the dam is shortened considerably so reducing sediment is key for long-term success.
It’s been an unusually severe rainy season in some parts of Lao PDR, with several typhoons passing over after making landfall in
There’s an extensive literature on dam resettlement, and according to much of this, the track record on rebuilding sustainable livelihoods is not great. For those interested, an excellent starting point is “The Future of Large Dams” by Ted Scudder. Ted has spent 50 years or so studying dams and resettlement, and has been on Nam Theun 2’s (NT2) external Panel of Experts since the early days of project preparation.
The broad reasons behind poor results in dam-related resettlement are intuitive: dams often require the resettlement of entire communities (rather than, for example, the resettlement of specific households to make way for a road), and dams may also significantly impact on existing livelihood opportunities, by, for example, flooding agricultural areas.
(This entry was originally published in English on Sep. 9, 2009)
ຕັ້ງແຕ່ໄດ້ເຮັດວຽກເພື່ອຊ່ວຍເຫຼືອວຽກງານດ້ານການສື່ສານ ແລະ ຂໍ້ມູນຂ່າວສານໃຫ້ແກ່ໂຄງການ ໄຟຟ້ານ້ຳເທີນ 2 (NT2) ຢູ່ລາວໃນຕົ້ນປີນີ້, ຂ້ອຍກໍ່ໄດ້ຟັງຫຼາຍຄົນເວົ້າວ່າ ໂຄງການນີ້ມີຄວາມໝາຍຫຼາຍກ່ວາໂຄງການພັດທະນາໄຟຟ້ານ້ຳຕົກ. ຖ້າຫາກໄດ້ອ່ານ ແລະ ສຶກສາຄົ້ນຄ້ວາ ກ່ຽວກັບການປະຕິຮູບໂຄງສ້າງຫຼາຍໆດ້ານ ທີ່ລັດທະບານລາວໄດ້ຈັດຕັ້ງປະຕິບັດ ເພື່ອດຳເນີນໂຄງການດັ່ງກ່າວ, ທ່ານຈະສາມາດເຂົ້າໃຈວ່າເປັນຫຍັງຄົນຈຳນວນຫຼາຍຈຶ່ງເວົ້າແນວນັ້ນ. ໃນມໍ່ໆມານີ້, ຂ້ອຍກໍ່ໄດ້ມີໂອກາດໄປສຳພາດກັບບາງວຽກງານ ທີ່ໄດ້ປະກອບສ່ວນອັນສຳຄັນໃຫ້ແກ່ໂຄງການນີ້ ແລະ ເປັນປະສົບການທີ່ຫຼາຍຄົນບໍ່ອາດຄາດຄິດມາກ່ອນ ແຕ່ມັນແມ່ນມີຄວາມໝາຍອັນສຳຄັນຕໍ່ໂຄງການ.
|At Ban Thalang, a resettled village in the Nakai area of Laos, a standing memory of a not-so-forgotten past is now being happily used as a green onion harvesting pot.|
|Rows of solar collectors line the roofs of many buildings in China.|
Driving through Jiangsu and Anhui provinces adjacent to Shanghai, China, last month, I was struck. Not by the sheer number of people and vehicles, or by the seemingly endless number of new buildings under construction with their distinct bamboo scaffolding, but by what was on top of those roofs: continuous rows of solar collectors.
China’s increasing emphasis on renewable energy on a large-scale level can be seen by wind farms in Inner Mongolia and several other green World Bank projects in the country. However, the most pervasive example for the public and individuals has been the explosion of the use of solar water heaters.
|The Xe Bang Fai river in Laos started to break its banks over the last two weeks in some areas, causing testing to stop for the Nam Theun 2 project.|
The rainy season in Laos is well advanced now, and the Province of Khammouane, where most of the Nam Theun 2 Hydroelectric Project (NT2) is located, has been hard hit over the last two weeks. Just over a week ago there was 225mm of rain over central Khammouane in one night, leading to floods in several places around the province – including the provincial capital of Thakek. Apparently there were places in Thakek up to a meter deep in water for a while: a combination of heavy rain and blocked drains, according to a local official. Those of us who were in Lao’s capital Vientiane during last year’s floods will vividly remember this.
As a result of this heavy rain, the Xe Bang Fai River, which drains a significant part of Khammouane, started to break its banks over the last week in some areas. The Xe Bang Fai is very significant to the NT2 as it is the river that will receive the water discharged from the hydropower facility when it is operating. The incremental impacts of NT2 water on the regular flood cycle of the Xe Bang Fai river has always been a concern for the project, and was studied extensively.
It’s high time I write something which doesn’t seem to be the work of a manic-depressive. Many of my blogs have majored on the negatives, but I honestly wouldn’t be in this business if I didn’t have within me a deep-rooted hope for the future. As I have remarked before, conservationists are a wonderful band, but put a group of ebullient conservation friends together, and within half an hour the conversation has quieted down, turned grumpy, and you need to watch out in case any of them looks as though they are contemplating jumping from the office balcony or a handy cliff. We don’t celebrate the successes, or even the potential ones, enough. It’s a cliché to say that the war is being lost while battles are being won, but we should at least encourage each other with battle victory parties.