Published: 2010-08-27 18:18:00
The Executive Director of the Volta Basin Development Foundation (VBDF),
Richard Twum Barimah Koranteng says the construction of the Bui Dam must
follow strict environmental and social standards.
According to Mr Koranteng, it is critical to consider both the negative
and positive impacts of the Bui Dam so that environmental needs of
people in the catchment area would be taken care of when completed.
He has therefore urged government to consider adopting the
recommendations of World Commission on Dams (WCD) as well as the
numerous conventions, laws, polices and regulation. Established in May
1998, WCD is an independent and international commission that has
adopted an innovative framework and comprehensive guidelines for the
construction of dams.
Speaking at a press briefing to mark the 10th anniversary of the release
of the WCD recommendations, the Executive Director of VRDF reiterated
that ï¿½we call on the government of Ghana to uphold the principles of the
WCD through various norms and standards when planning, building and
commissioning of dam projects.ï¿½
He emphasized the need to dialogue with all actors including
governments, communities, financiers and other civil society groups on
the ï¿½protection of rivers and the rights of those who rely on them.ï¿½
The WCDï¿½s recommendations promote an innovative framework for planning
water and energy projects that are intended to protect affected persons
and the environment to ensure that the benefits accrued from the dams
are equitably distributed.
A framework issued by the WCD also covers key areas for improved
planning of dams, assessing of all available options for meeting water
and energy needs, addressing outstanding social issues from existing
dams before building new ones, gaining public acceptance for key decisions.
The WCD recommendations form the basis for many decision-making
processes for dams around the world and constitute international soft
law. They are also being adapted to national contexts in various public
dialogue processes around the world. However, a decade after the WCD
issued its ground-breaking recommendations, there is evidence that large
dams significantly affect people and the planet.
The WCD was formed by the joint efforts of the International Union for
the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources and the World Bank to
review the development effectiveness of large dams and assess
alternatives for water resources and energy development and also develop
internationally acceptable criteria, guidelines and standards for the
planning, designing, appraisal, construction, operation, monitoring and
decommissioning of dams.
The construction of dams for the generation of water and electricity in
many cases affects the livelihoods of people. Ghana has been actively
involved in the Commission's work and this had led to the development
and promotion of the Ghana Dams Dialogue.
The development of hydro power in Ghana spans about five decades with
the first, the Akosombo dam constructed in 1960, the second in 1980 at
Kpong and the Bui dam, which is currently under construction at Bui.
Mr. Koranteng noted that ï¿½though there was widespread consensus on the
need for hydro power in Ghana, observations are that the mitigation
measures that were put in place to deal with the social, environmental,
health and livelihood impacts of these exiting dams had been inadequate.ï¿½
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