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25 Years

"Dead in the Water": Global Lessons from the World Bank's Model Hydropower Project in Laos

Date: 
Fri, 11/30/2018 - 3:00am
Event Location: 
445 Blegen Hall

Presented by co-editors Bruce Shoemaker and William Robichaud​

For decades, large dam projects have been undertaken by both nations and international agencies with the aim of doing good: preventing floods, bringing electricity to rural populations, producing revenues for poor countries, and more. But time after time, the social, economic, and environmental costs have outweighed the benefits of the dams, sometimes to a disastrous degree. In this volume, a diverse group of experts—involved for years with the Nam Theun 2 dam in Laos—issues an urgent call for critical reassessment of the approach to, and rationale for, these kinds of large infrastructure projects in developing countries.
In the 2000s, as the World Bank was reeling from revelations of past hydro- power failures, it nonetheless promoted the enormous Nam Theun 2 project. NT2, the Bank believed, offered a new, wiser model of dam development that would alleviate poverty, protect the environment, engage locally affected people in a transparent fashion, and stimulate political transformation. This book shows in detail why the dam’s true story has been one of substantial loss for affected villagers and the regional environment.

BRUCE SHOEMAKER is an independent researcher focused on natural resource conflict issues in the Mekong region.
WILLIAM ROBICHAUD is an award-winning conservation biologist who has worked in Southeast Asia for more than
twenty-five years.