World Bank Board Approves Nam Theun 2 Dam; Plan Could Backfire

April 5, 2005 (Inter Press Service) — After 12 years of studies and deliberations, the World Bank has approved funding for the USD 1.25B Nam Theun 2 hydroelectric dam project. Many analysts, however, say the World Bank is ignoring its own policy guidelines and paying little regard to indigenous people, the environment or the long-term welfare of Laos. Opponents say that large dams financed by the multilateral development banks, including the World Bank, have traditionally proven to be money sinks, with costs that are unrecoverable from ratepayers. Probe International's policy director and hydro expert Gráinne Ryder said, "The experience is that big dams lead to bad debt." This project is seeking funding from the ECAs of France (COFACE), Norway (GEIK), and Sweden (EKN). Read the related press release from International Rivers Network (March 3, 2005). Read more an article on the Nam Theun 2 dam by Probe International.