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The Ilisu dam in Turkey and the role of export credit agencies and NGO networks

Christine Eberlein
Programme Manager, Berne Declaration, Zurich, Switzerland; ceberlein@evb.ch
Heike Drillisch
Coordinator, CounterCurrent -€“ GegenStrömung, Potsdam, Germany; heike.drillisch@gegenstroemung.org
Ercan Ayboga
International Spokesperson, Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive, Yenisehir-Diyarbakir, Turkey; e.ayboga@gmx.net
Thomas Wenidoppler
Project Coordinator, ECA-Watch Austria, Vienna, Austria; thomas.wenidoppler@eca-watch.at

ABSTRACT: The World Commission on Dams (WCD) report focused attention on the question of how those displaced by large dams can be adequately compensated and properly resettled. An important debate from the Dams and Development Forum concerned the appropriate roles of different stakeholders, and the question as to how governments and 'external stakeholders' such as international institutions, financial investors and non-government organisations (NGOs) can be encouraged to implement the WCD recommendations and international standards on resettlement and environmental protection. This article analyses the actions of three European export credit agencies (ECAs) aimed at improving the outcomes of the Ilisu Dam and hydroelectric power project in Kurdish-populated southeast of Turkey. It also explores the role of NGOs within the process of achieving best practice and preventing poor outcomes. Even though the ECAs'€™ efforts to meet World Bank project standards were unsuccessful and ended in July 2009 with their withdrawal, this was the first case in history where ECAs tried to implement specified social and environmental project conditions. This article aims ultimately to analyse the reasons for the failure to meet the ECAs'€™ conditions, and the lessons to be learned from this process.