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[OPIRG-EVENTS] Call to action on dam builders - Montreal, June 16-20

[Haven't heard who's organizing on this, but here's the call-out 
_sans_ contact info. -j.]


 From June 16 to 20, 2003, almost 1,200 dam (and some mining) industry 
specialists will be gathering together in Montreal. The occasion will 
be the 21st Congress (held every 3 years) of the International 
Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD).

Dams have had major negative impacts on communities, rivers, 
eco-systems, and wildlife, in Canada and around the world. For 
example, the World Commission on Dams estimated that in India and 
China, between 26 and 58 million people were displaced as a result of 
new dams built between 1950 and 1990. People who are forcibly removed 
from their land rarely recover with the same quality of life and 
rarely receive adequate compensation. Dams cut short the life of 
rivers, wetlands, flora and fauna. They disrupt the livelihoods of 
coastal farmers and downstream fisheries. Hundreds of thousands of 
acres of forest are clear cut or drowned. Former shorelines are 
devastated by repeated flooding and emptying of reservoirs. New 
research even indicates that dams are now a significant source of 
greenhouse gases.

Who will be there?

Groups such as Noranda, who plan to build an aluminum smelter and six 
dams in Patagonia, Chile, are part of a sub-committee. Brascan Power 
Corp, a major Noranda shareholder, are an associate partner in the 

SNC Lavalin, that is behind the construction of Europe's largest open 
cast gold mine in Romania, is a sponsor.

General Electric, that provided turbines for Three Gorges in China, 
generators and cables for Bio Bio in Chile, and turbines for the 
Yacreta Dam in Argentina and Peru are part of the committee.

Acres International, that worked on the Bujagali Dam in Uganda - 
currently under a corruption investigation, and the Lesotho Highlands 
water project where Acres was charged by a Lesotho High Court for 
corruption, is a committee member.

What should we do?

The Canadian government, as well as some of these companies, gave 
money to a World Commission on Dams. The Commission, made up of 
dam-affected people, industry and governments, concluded that 
large-scale dams have had an enormous negative impact. The World 
Commission on Dams made a series of recommendations to ensure that 
dams would not negatively impact human rights and environment.  The 
World Commission on Dams placed great emphasis on enhancing the 
meaningful participation of affected groups. The ICOLD meeting in 
Montreal closes the doors to all but the dam building industry.

Where and when

June 16-20, 2003, Palais de Congrès de Montréal, 1001 de Bleury 
Street West, Montréal, QC H2Z 1X7
Telephone: (514) 871-8122; Fax: (514) 871-9389

Further information about the meeting can be found at 

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