DECLARATION OF CURITIBA
|Affirming the Right to Life & Livelihood of People Affected by Dams|
|We, the people from
20 countries gathered in Curitiba, Brazil, representing organisations 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 communities.
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 what 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 communities.
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 subsidised energy-intensive industries.
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 decentralisation 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 relationships between people, regions and nations.
Our shared experiences have led us to agree to the following:
There is a halt to all forms of violence and intimidation against people affected by dams and organisations opposing dams.
Actions are taken to restore environments damaged by dams even when this requires the removal of dams
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 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.
Aguas para a vida, nao para a mortel
Aguas para la vida, no para la muertel
Approved at the First International Meeting of People Affected by Dams, Curitiba, Brazil, March 14, 1997