Transnational NGO Networks Campaign Against the Ilisu Dam, Turkey

Chapter

Abstract

Large dams provide renewable energy, increased irrigation and food, better access to clean drinking water and flood control. However, they have been criticized since the 1990s by civil society organisations for their environmental, social, cultural and economic impacts. Dam proponents and dam opponents are engaged in a “discursive battle” over norms and standards for large projects of this kind. Under pressure from transnational advocacy networks, the World Commission on Dams was set up in 1998. Two years later it presented its report entitled Dams and Development. A New Framework for Decision-Making. The reactions to this report ranged from agreement to rejection. Nevertheless, the debate on norms and standards for large dams entered a new stage. Since then other actors, among them the World Bank, private banks and the OECD countries’ export credit agencies, have established new or revised existing standards. This chapter analyses the role of transnational networks in the application of norms for large dam projects. Taking the example of the Ilisu Dam on the River Tigris in Southeastern Turkey, it shows the pathways these networks have taken to influence decision-makers. As their efforts to influence Turkish decision-makers had little impact, the anti-Ilisu campaign members addressed European decision-makers and export credit agencies. The chapter considers the actors involved in the anti-Ilisu campaign, their origin and goals and the means they have employed, which comprise information politics, symbolic politics, leverage politics and accountability politics. The chapter concludes by discussing the implications of the anti-Ilisu Dam campaign for the debate on large dams and assesses the campaign’s success and the strategy it has adopted to ensure compliance with norms and standards for large dam projects.

Keywords

Civil Society Actor Information Politics Accountability Politics International Finance Corporation Export Credit 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgements

Thanks go to my supervisors at the University of Mainz, Prof. Peter Preisendörfer, Dr. Jürgen Schiener, Prof. Rolf-Dieter Wilken and to Dr. Waltina Scheumann from the German Development Institute for her valuable comments and supervision of my study.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)KarlsruheGermany

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