How to avoid anti-dam-protests | Global Water Forum

12. September 2016

Dieser Beitrag erschien bei Global Water Forum

A major boom in dam development is under way globally with at least 3,700 dams either planned or already under construction. These are expected to increase global hydropower production by 73% to 1,700 GW in the coming years. 34 GW of capacity was added in 2015 alone, equivalent to 2.5 times of Africa’s current total installed capacity. Asia is a particular hotspot of dam construction with capacity additions of almost 28 GW in 2015, more than in any other region of the world.

Fifty years ago, engineers constructing large-scale infrastructure such as dams struggled most with the technical challenges of these mega-projects. However, the greatest obstacles faced by such projects today are almost always socio-political.  Indeed, public protests delay large dam projects all around the world. Examples of current contested large dam projects are Myanmar’s Myitsone Dam or Myanmar’s Mong Ton Dam, Brazil’s Belo Monte Dam and Mozambique’s Mphanda Nkuwa Dam.

Scholars have mostly explained the emergence of significant anti-dam-protests with the political system of a country. According to these scholars, significant anti-dam-protests emerge only if the country in which the dam is constructed is reasonably democratic; if a country is autocratic, no protests emerge. Protests such as those against Myanmar’s Myitsone Dam, which started when Myanmar was still under military rule, could therefore not be explained by these academicians.

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Multi-causal pathways of public opposition to dam projects in Asia: A fuzzy set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA) | Global Environmental Change

27. August 2016

Dieser Beitrag ist in Zusammenarbeit mit Dr. Katrina Charles und Dr. Matthew Walton verfasst worden und erschien in der begutachteten Fachzeitschrift Global Environmental Change.

[Download Pre-Print Manuscript]

Abstract:

Scholars overwhelmingly adopt the case study method when analyzing causal conditions inducing anti-dam-protests. We have carried out the first medium-N-study on this topic analyzing public opposition to 12 dam projects in Asia. For this purpose, we employ a fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) which is based on a thorough review of scholarly writings and press reports on the dam projects at question as well as an online survey and semi-structured interviews. We identify two causal recipes sufficient for the emergence of significant anti-dam-protests. First, lacking social safeguards in combination with the presence of political opportunity structures and higher levels of development are sufficient for significant anti-dam-protests to emerge. Second, lacking social safeguards in combination with rampant corruption and environmental risk induce these protests. Current scholarly literature particuarly emphasizes political opportunity structures and development as causal conditions inducing significant protests. Our findings build on this literature to highlight the importance of project-specific conditions.

The full article (13 pages) is available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959378016301273 


Why we urgently need more research on the social impacts of dams | Global Water Forum

6. Juni 2016

Dieser Beitrag erschien bei Global Water Forum

More dams are built these days than ever before. Their potential negative impacts are broad-ranging and must be thoroughly understood in order to address them. Yet the academic literature supposed to map these impacts remains limited in scope. This article outlines current biases in the scholarly work on the topic as well as these biases’ implications.

A major boom in dam development is under way with at least 3,700 dams1 either planned or already under construction. These are expected to increase global hydropower production by 73% to 1,700 GW1 in the coming years. 37 GW of capacity was added in 2014 alone2, equivalent to almost three times Africa’s current total installed capacity3. Asia is a particular hotspot of dam construction with capacity additions of almost 29 GW in 20142, more than in any other region of the world.

Yet dams remain extremely controversial due to their myriad environmental and social impacts. Dam-induced displacement is the most emotive issue4: up to 200 million people have been displaced because of infrastructure development in the past century5; possibly 80 million of these were displaced due to dams6. Examples of currently disputed large dam projects are Myanmar’s Myitsone Dam7, Brazil’s Belo Monte Dam8 or Mozambique’s Mphanda Nkuwa Dam9.

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Higher education that helps young land jobs | The Straits Times

5. Juni 2016

Dieser Beitrag ist in Zusammenarbeit mit Prof. Dr. Asit Biswas verfasst worden und erschien bei The Straits Times. Der Originalbeitrag erschien bei LSE IMPACT.

Changes are needed to equip students with employable skills that prepare them for real world

Approximately 290 million young people worldwide are neither studying nor working – that is almost a quarter of the world’s youth.

Unemployment rates even top 50 per cent in many countries for those aged between 15 and 24. For instance, the youth unemployment rate now stands at 54 per cent in Greece, 58 per cent in Spain and 53 per cent in South Africa.

Policymakers have claimed for years that education is the best insurance against unemployment. Indeed, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has repeatedly lobbied for countries to maximise tertiary education rates. Even Germany – supposedly Europe’s model student nowadays with its vocational education system – was criticised for not producing enough university graduates.

Yet, the truth is, post-secondary education does not automatically enhance job opportunities. Take Italy, where these days it actually seems harder for those with a college degree to find a job than those without one – 33 per cent of college graduates between 20 and 24 remain out of work, compared with 30 per cent of those with only a high school degree.

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Is a college degree worth it? Interventions are needed to enhance the practical relevance of higher education | LSE Impact

23. Mai 2016

Dieser Beitrag ist in Zusammenarbeit mit Prof. Dr. Asit K. Biswas verfasst worden und erschien bei LSE IMPACT .

Many young people around the world struggle to find jobs despite having obtained university degrees. Asit K. Biswas and Julian Kirchherr outline what needs to change in order to boost the practical value of higher education. Recruiting academic staff with work experience outside of academia could provide richer teaching experiences and a more developed understanding of which skills are needed, even essential, in the job markets.

Approximately 290 million young people worldwide are neither studying nor working – that is almost a quarter of the global youth. Unemployment rates even top 50% in many countries for those between 15 and 24. For instance, Greece’s youth unemployment rate now stands at 54%, Spain’s at 58%, South Africa’s at 53% (World Bank). Policy-makers have claimed for many years that education would be the best insurance against unemployment. Indeed, the OECD has repeatedly lobbied that countries ought to maximize their tertiary education rates. Even Germany – supposedly Europe’s model student nowadays with its vocational education system – was criticized for not producing enough university graduates.

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Cleaning up the big muddy: A meta-synthesis of the research on the social impact of dams | Environmental Impact Assessment Review

27. April 2016

Dieser Beitrag ist in Zusammenarbeit mit Huw Pohlner und Dr. Katrina Charles verfasst worden und erschien in der begutachteten Fachzeitschrift Environmental Impact Assessment Review.

[Download Pre-Print Manuscript]

Abstract

No commonly used framework exists in the scholarly study of the social impacts of dams. This hinders comparisons of analyses and thus the accumulation of knowledge. The aim of this paper is to unify scholarly understanding of dams’ social impacts via the analysis and aggregation of the various frameworks currently used in the scholarly literature. For this purpose, we have systematically analyzed and aggregated 27 frameworks employed by academics analyzing dams’ social impacts (found in a set of 217 articles). A key finding of the analysis is that currently used frameworks are often not specific to dams and thus omit key impacts associated with them. The result of our analysis and aggregation is a new framework for scholarly analysis (which we call ‘matrix framework’) specifically on dams’ social impacts, with space, time and value as its key dimensions as well as infrastructure, community and livelihood as its key components. Building on the scholarly understanding of this topic enables us to conceptualize the inherently complex and multidimensional issues of dams’ social impacts in a holistic manner. If commonly employed in academia (and possibly in practice), this framework would enable more transparent assessment and comparison of projects.

The full article (11 pages) is available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0195925515300846 


The social impacts of dams: A new framework for scholarly analysis | Environmental Impact Assessment Review

10. April 2016

Dieser Beitrag ist in Zusammenarbeit mit Dr. Katrina Charles verfasst worden und erschien in der begutachteten Fachzeitschrift Environmental Impact Assessment Review.

[Download Pre-Print Manuscript]

Abstract

No commonly used framework exists in the scholarly study of the social impacts of dams. This hinders comparisons of analyses and thus the accumulation of knowledge. The aim of this paper is to unify scholarly understanding of dams‘ social impacts via the analysis and aggregation of the various frameworks currently used in the scholarly literature. For this purpose, we have systematically analyzed and aggregated 27 frameworks employed by academics analyzing dams‘ social impacts (found in a set of 217 articles). A key finding of the analysis is that currently used frameworks are often not specific to dams and thus omit key impacts associated with them. The result of our analysis and aggregation is a new framework for scholarly analysis (which we call ‘matrix framework’) specifically on dams‘ social impacts, with space, time and value as its key dimensions as well as infrastructure, community and livelihood as its key components. Building on the scholarly understanding of this topic enables us to conceptualize the inherently complex and multidimensional issues of dams‘ social impacts in a holistic manner. If commonly employed in academia (and possibly in practice), this framework would enable more transparent assessment and comparison of projects.

The full article (16 pages) is available at: http://www.developmentbookshelf.com/doi/abs/10.3362/1756-3488.2016.005 .