“The Chixoy Dam Legacy Issues Study is an effort to document the dam development history and links to environmental degradation, resource alienation, poverty, and community health with an overall goal of producing a community needs assessment that will encourage the World Bank and others to acknowledge remaining obligations and fund a negotiated plan for remedy.
The overall research design was developed by Barbara R. Johnston (Center for Political Ecology, Santa Cruz, CA) in partnership with Rights Action Guatemala, International Rivers Network, and Reform the World Bank Italy. Technical assistance has also been provided by the American Anthropological Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, interns from the Smithsonian Institution, and an international network of anthropologists, sociologists, ecologists, human rights lawyers, and other advocates.
This research effort involves an independent audit of development project documents, and collaborative participatory field research documenting community history, socioeconomic conditions, and the relative strengths and needs of dam – affected communities. Research objectives include establishing through testimony and supporting evidentiary material the relevant chain of events and the consequential damages associated with those events.
Evidence bases include the archival record of project plans, communications, consultant reports, and consultant field notes contained in World Bank, InterAmerican Development Bank, University, and NGO libraries and archives. Collaborative and participatory field research includes an assessment of environmental impacts downstream from the dam, including marked decline of freshwater fisheries, and a survey of material losses experienced by downstream and upstream communities.
Consequential damages are explored in testimony and with qualitative and quantitative household surveys assessing socioeconomic and community health conditions. Legal assistance includes research into the history and status of the Rural Electrification Trust Fund, and a review of land title to determine whether indeed, all institutional obligations with regard to land and title have been met.
A series of political capacity building and participatory research training workshops with representatives of displaced communities has produced narrative documents outlining each community’s displacement and resettlement history, complaints concerning the dam development process, and generated a prioritized set of remedial needs.
Land study research was funded with Grassroots Action and other funds provided by a grant developed by Reform the World Bank Italy. Grant support includes assistance from The Swedish Society for the Conservation of Nature, Grassroots Foundation, Global Green Funds, the Global Fund for Human Rights, and technical assistance as well as financial support from International Rivers Network, Center for Political Ecology, Reform the World Bank Italy, and Rights Action.”
Posted By Carmen Morcos (Guatemala)
Posted Jul 22nd, 2004