Canadian International Development Agency

Canadian government responds to Probe’s recommendation that it must take responsibility for role in disastrous Three Gorges Dam

February 6, 2008

In an open letter to Canadian officials, Probe International called for the government to “make amends for failing to warn the Chinese government that the project’s environmental risks would ultimately threaten the lives, property, and economic future of millions of people living along the Yangtze river.”

Chinese officials admitted last October that problems with the dam had reached a crisis point and warned of an environmental catastrophe if preventative measures are not taken. The $25 billion dam has already displaced more than one million people, destroyed farmland, poisoned water supplies and driven the Yangtze dolphin to extinction.  New fears of landslides, flooding and tsunami-like waves up to 50 metres high have prompted the plans to move another 2.3 million  people.

Probe International is urging the Canadian government to set up a legal aid fund for the dam’s victims. Many of the people displaced by the dam were not given adequate compensation for their losses — others were even jailed or beaten for exposing corrupt officials.

CIDA financed the 1988 study that concluded that the project was entirely feasible, despite great evidence to the contrary. Probe International believes that “the Three Gorges dam would likely not be operating today if not for the Canadian International Development Agency’s 1986 decision to finance the feasibility study by a Canadian engineering consortium that recommended China build the dam.”

Full letter here

Government response here

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