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Logging for the World Bank’s Nam Theun 2 Dam in Laos

Dams are a risky business – for affected people, the environment, and investors. Technical problems, opposition by affected people and corruption can derail multi-billion dollar projects. Due to the big risks, finance is the weakest link in many dam projects. Funders often decide which projects go forward, and which standards they have to meet.

Traditionally, the World Bank has been the most important financier of large dams. In recent years, Chinese financial institutions have taken over this role, and have triggered a new boom in global dam building. Other funders – regional development banks, export credit agencies and private banks – also play a role.

Corruption is a frequent problem in large dam projects

Corruption is a frequent problem in large dam projects

International Rivers holds public and private funders accountable for the dam projects which they finance. We work to dry up the funding for projects which violate social and environmental standards. We make sure that funders and governments have keep the promises which they have made on critical projects. And we promote stricter standards which can redirect resources from destructive dams into benign alternatives.


The World Bank’s Big Dam Legacy

World Bank’s New President Should Address its Dam Past, Change its Future Path

China’s Role in Financing African Infrastructure

Karahnjukar – A Project on Thin Ice

Gambling With People’s Lives


Peter Bosshard
peter [at] internationalrivers [dot] org
+1 510 848 1155