The African Development Bank (AfDB) has agreed to open investigations into the construction of the Gibe 3 Dam in Ethiopia.
According to a press release by the environmental NGO, International Rivers, copied to ghanabusinessnews.com, the AfDB’s independent review mechanism, the CRMU(1), has opened the door to a critical investigation into the1.55 billion euro Gibe 3 Dam project.
It said, the unit has accepted a request for project investigation submitted by five international organizations. Adding, the Management from the African Development Bank has until August 20 to respond to the Compliance Review Mechanism Unit (CRMU), at which time the CRMU is expected to formally commence a full investigation of the Bank’s involvement in the controversial project.
The NGOs say the 1,870 MW hydropower dam which was started in 2006 was began without completed studies or secured financing. The Gibe 3 Dam, which is Ethiopia’s largest infrastructure to date, has sparked debates among Ethiopia’s neighbours, especially Kenya and civil society groups.
Those opposing the construction of the hydropower dam, argue that it would create poverty and exacerbate conflict in an already volatile region.
The Gibe 3 Dam will bring significant harm to local people in Ethiopia, where affected peoples and civil society have been unable to raise concerns about the project due to fear of government retaliation, acording to International Rivers.
The requestors charge that poor preparation has resulted in multiple violations of the African Development Bank’s Environmental and Social Assessment Procedures and its policies on: Disclosure of Information, Gender, Poverty Reduction, Resettlement, and Water Resources Management. The request for project investigation was submitted after more than four months of failed attempts to discuss the concerns with Bank staff, it said.
Terri Hathaway of International Rivers said, “the Bank’s failure to protect hundreds of thousands of project-affected people is scandalous. Bank support for Gibe 3 would brand the Bank as a creator of poverty and enabler of closed-door corruption. We look forward to a full investigation of the Bank’s role in the Gibe 3 Dam.”
The Gibe 3 Dam, International Rivers says, will have irreversible and highly negative effects on up to half a million people living downstream in Ethiopia and Kenya.
The natural flood cycle of the Omo River, which is central to the downstream region’s economy and food security, would be fundamentally disrupted, causing community systems to unravel and resource conflicts to increase. Filling the dam’s reservoir would drain Kenya’s Lake Turkana, the world’s largest desert lake, stressing its fragile ecosystem to the brink of collapse.(3) Many predict that these effects could destabilize the region, particularly the disputed national borders between Ethiopia, Kenya, and Sudan known as the Ilemi Triangle, it added.
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi