The Talo Dam

The World Bank’s Legacy:

Le ministre Seydou Traore humilié a Djenné

Africa and Dams


(par Aliou Traoré)

Consensus sous bonne escorte

Les arguments de Djenné contre le grand barrage de Talo (1998)

(Par François GALLIER)

Analyse du projet de barrage de Talo et révision de conséquences sur les systéms de production ruraux du Djennéri

Impasse ou sortie de la crise?  Info-matin news paper arcticle (Bamako, Mali)

Document pressante a la réunion organisée a l'occation de la visite de la vice-president de la BAD a Djenné 21/11/2003

Le nouveau dessin du barrage de Talo

Clark report

Press release  September 15,2002
Talo Dam, Mali, West Africa
by the Djenne Initiative






Other News  Africa and Dams      



In March, 1997 in Curitiba , representatives of more than 20 countries met in the First International Meeting of Dam-Affected People. The delegates emphasised the need for the formation of an independent commission to evaluate dams constructed to-date. One month later, the Brazilian Movement of Dam-Affected People (MAD) was invited by IUCN and the World Bank to participate in a meeting at Gland, where the proposal was formulated for what eventually turned out to be the World Commission on Dams (WCD), an independent commission with the participation of people of different sectors (movements, NGOs, governments, industries, multilateral institutions).

From the first steps taken by the Commission, MAD expressed its concern with the fragility of the presence of the Latin - American experience, particularly in terms of those academic and non-governmental sectors who would be capable of enriching the Commission's work with lessons learned by dam-affected people of the continent in their struggle for social, economic, political, and environmental rights. We also emphasised to the President of the Commission the importance of the ability of dam-affected people, particularly those who cannot understand English, in being able to accompany and to contribute to the work of the Commission.

These limitations were not overcome, and this bas had serious costs. Equally problematic was the fact that one of the members of the WCD Secretariat, responsible for (the Tucurui case study and for the Sao Paulo Latin American Regional Consultation carried out her work in a manner which demonstrated her absolute commitment to support the interests and opinions of the government, multilateral agencies, and dam-building companies. Equally limiting was the fact that Professor Jose Goldemberg (the only Latin American member of the WCD) has taken no initiative to inform and engage civil society in the discussion process.

Despite these problems, MAB bas made every effort to disseminate the work of the Commission and to increase its eventual impact. Within our possibilities, we took the debate to the Brazilian dam-affected people and worked to further involve NGOs and civil society. In an official meeting with representatives of the Mines and Energy Ministry, the Environment Ministry and the National Agency for Electrical Energy, MAD provided information about the work of the WCD and requested participation by the government in the WCD process. MAD achieved a hearing on large dams in the Commission in Defence of Consumers, the Environment, and Minorities of the Chamber of Deputies at which various testimonies denounced the ongoing problems caused by all ready-built dams as well as the authoritarian and technocratic nature of the 16-year Expansion Plan of the Energy Sector that bas not been discussed with civil society nor with the National Congress.

MAB's commitment to the WCD process was also evident at the Sao Paulo Latin American Public Consultation, through the significant presence of dam-affected people from different parts of the country, particularly members of MOAB -the Movement of People Threatened by Dams in the Ribeira Valley -due to their proximity to Sao Paulo . Despite the obstacles created by the meeting's organisers impeding our entrance to the meeting hall, the physical presence of dam-affected people in the hall meant that the members of the Commission, and its consultants and technical assistants were able to be made more sensitive to the reality of dam-affected people -rather than their remaining mere numerical abstractions and budget figures, the dam-affected became flesh and blood, men and women, the old, young, and children, lives, complaints and hopes. MAB expected to see these lives, and these complaints and hopes contemplated in the WCD's Final Report.

Throughout this process MAB was able to strengthen its ties of solidarity and co-operation with movements of dam-affected people from other countries as well as environmental and human rights NGOs committed to the struggle against the social and environmental destruction caused by large dams. Even though it was not always possible to bring the WCD debate to all the movements and communities which, in our country, are the raison d'etre of MAB, one thing became clear to us: that it is not only in our country, and not only in our continent that dams have been build against the interests of dam-affected populations.

Thus, our conviction became stronger that:

I. The struggle of dam-affected people around the world has played a fundamental role in raising public awareness of the serious problems caused by large dam projects, and has been the principal reason for the creation of the World Commission on Dams.

2. Dams do not achieve their promised objectives: they produce less energy than promised, supply less water and irrigate less land, and usually cost much more and take much longer to build. Furthermore, dams have not led to just or sustainable development, and instead have deepened misery and social and regional inequalities.

3. Environmental impact studies and reports have not been effective in predicting the consequences of dams because they tend to underestimate the negative effects of dams and exaggerate their potential benefits. The measures for mitigating and compensating for negative impacts have failed or have been insufficient.

4. Because of all these, dams are not a source of clean, non-polluting energy

5. There are viable alternatives with less social and environmental costs than large dams, for both production of energy and for the management of water. These alternatives can and should be studied and implemented.

6. The construction of dams serves the economic and political interests of dominant national and international groups, and of the dam and electrical industries, and this is the only reason they are promoted and built around the world.

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