APPROVED AT THE FIRST INTERNATIONAL MEETING OF PEOPLE
AFFECTED BY DAMS
CURITIBA, BRAZIL MARCH 14, 1997
We, the people from 20 countries gathered in Curitiba,
Brazil, representing organizations of dam-affected people and of opponents
of destructive dams, have shared our experiences of the losses we
have suffered and the threats we face because of dams. Although our
experiences reflect our diverse cultural, social, political and environmental
realities, our struggles are one.
Our struggles are one because everywhere dams force
people from their homes, submerge fertile farmlands, forests and sacred
places, destroy fisheries and supplies of clean water, and cause the
social and cultural disintegration and economic impoverishment of
Our struggles are one because everywhere there is
a wide gulf between the economic and social benefits promised by dam
builders and the reality of what has happened after dam construction.
Dams have almost always cost more than was projected, even before
including environmental and social costs. Dams have produced less
electricity and irrigated less land than was promised. They have made
floods even more destructive. Dams have benefited large landholders,
agribusiness corporations and speculators. They have dispossessed
small farmers; rural workers; fishers; tribal, indigenous and traditional
Our struggles are one because we are fighting against
similar powerful interests, the same international lenders, the same
multilateral and bilateral aid and credit agencies, the same dam construction
and equipment companies, the same engineering and environmental consultants,
and the same corporations involved in heavily subsidized energy-intensive
Our struggles are one because everywhere the people
who suffer most from dams are excluded from decision-making. Decisions
are instead taken by technocrats, politicians and business elites
who increase their own power and wealth through building dams.
Our common struggles convince us that it is both necessary
and possible to bring an end to the era of destructive dams. It is
also both necessary and possible to implement alternative ways of
providing energy and managing our freshwaters which are equitable,
sustainable and effective.
For this to happen, we demand genuine democracy which
includes public participation and transparency in the development
and implementation of energy and water policies, along with the decentralization
of political power and empowerment of local communities. We must reduce
inequality through measures including equitable access to land. We
also insist on the inalienable rights of communities to control and
manage their water, land, forests and other resources and the right
of every person to a healthy environment.
We must advance to a society where human beings and
nature are no longer reduced to the logic of the market where the
only value is that of commodities and the only goal profits. We must
advance to a society which respects diversity, and which is based
on equitable and just relations between people, regions and nations.
Our shared experiences have led us to agree the following:
1) We recognize and endorse the principles of the
1992 'NGO and Social Movements Declaration of Rio de Janeiro' and
the 1994 'Manibeli Declaration' on
World Bank funding of large dams.
2) We will oppose the construction of any dam which
has not been approved by the affected people after an informed and
participative decision-making process.
3) We demand that governments, international agencies
and investors implement an immediate moratorium on the building of
large dams until:
a. There is a halt to all forms of violence and intimidation
against people affected by dams and organizations opposing dams.
b. Reparations, including the provision of adequate
land, housing and social infrastructure, be negotiated with the millions
of people whose livelihoods have already suffered because of dams.
c. Actions are taken to restore environments damaged
by dams - even when this requires the removal of the dams.
d. Territorial rights of indigenous, tribal, semi-tribal
and traditional populations affected by dams are fully respected through
providing them with territories which allow them to regain their previous
cultural and economic conditions - this again may require the removal
of the dams.
e. An international independent commission is established
to conduct a comprehensive review of all large dams financed or otherwise
supported by international aid and credit agencies, and its policy
conclusions implemented. The establishment and procedures of the review
must be subject to the approval and monitoring of representatives
of the international movement of people affected by dams.
f. Each national and regional agency which has financed
or otherwise supported the building of large dams have commissioned
independent comprehensive reviews of each large dam project they have
funded and implemented the policy conclusions of the reviews. The
reviews must be carried out with the participation of representatives
of the affected people's organizations.
g. Policies on energy and freshwater are implemented
which encourage the use of sustainable and appropriate technologies
and management practices, using the contributions of both modern science
and traditional knowledge. These policies need also to discourage
waste and overconsumption and guarantee equitable access to these
4) The process of privatization which is being imposed
on countries in many parts of the world by multilateral institutions
is increasing social, economic and political exclusion and injustice.
We do not accept the claims that this process is a solution to corruption,
inefficiency and other problems in the power and water sectors where
these are under the control of the state. Our priority is democratic
and effective public control and regulation of entities which provide
electricity and water in a way which guarantees the needs and desires
5) Over the years, we have shown our growing power.
We have occupied dam sites and offices, marched in our villages and
cities, refused to leave our lands even though we have faced intimidation,
violence and drowning. We have unmasked the corruption, lies and false
promises of the dam industry. Nationally and internationally we have
worked in solidarity with others fighting against destructive development
projects, and together with those fighting for human rights, social
justice, and an end to environmental destruction.
We are strong, diverse and united and our cause is
just. We have stopped destructive dams and have forced dam builders
to respect our rights. We have stopped dams in the past, and we will
stop more in the future.
We commit ourselves to intensifying the fight against
destructive dams. From the villages of India, Brazil and Lesotho to
the boardrooms of Washington, Tokyo and London, we will force dam
builders to accept our demands.
To reinforce our movement we will build and strengthen
regional and international networks. To symbolise our growing unity,
we declare that 14 March, the Brazilian Day of Struggles Against Dams,
will from now on become the International Day of Action Against Dams
and for Rivers, Water, and Life.
Águas para a vida, não para a morte!
¡Aguas para la vida, no para la muerte!
Water for life, not for death!
To the Webpage " The
international Anti Dam Movement"
retour à la page principale
Ces pages et leur contenu sont © Copyright
de European Rivers Network.