Monday, January 6, 2014

R.I.P. Robert Goodland

R.I.P. Robert Goodland

Robert Goodland, a life-long defender of the environment and human
rights and a close friend of International Rivers, passed away on
December 28, 2013. Robert was hired as the World Bank's first full-time
environmental expert in 1978, and later became the Bank's Lead
Environmental Adviser. He was the main instigator and author of the
institution's environmental and social safeguard policies, and
tirelessly fought for their strengthening and implementation. After his
official retirement in 2001, Robert continued to advocate for
environmental justice through his involvement with the Extractive
Industries Review and many other processes. His role changed from the
Bank's environmental conscience to an outspoken thorn in its side.

Robert Goodland was a generous mentor, supporter and friend of
International Rivers and many other environmental organizations and
causes. I first met Bob in 1991, and as long as I have known him, he
never tired of sharing advice and information, donating for a good
cause, supporting us with encouragement and inspiration. When we took
action, Robert (or Rbt., as he would sign his messages) was often one of
the first to cheer us on with moral and financial support, frequently
dropping a line and asking us to "keep up the GREAT work".

The environmental and social destruction brought about by dams was one
of the topics Robert felt strongly about. He was incensed by the World
Bank's recent decision to move back into funding mega-dams, and
advocated against it with his network of old friends. Robert Goodland
was the main author of the new paper, Towards a World Bank Group Policy
on the Social and Environmental Impacts of Dams, Reservoirs, and
Hydroelectricity Projects, which was just published on the website of
Foundation Earth (see

On December 28, Robert Goodland suddenly passed away as he traveled home
from a trekking trip in Nepal. He is survived by his wife and son.
Robert will leave a huge gap in the global network for environmental
justice. We will not forget him.

You will find a obituary for Robert Goodland at

Peter Bosshard
International Rivers

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