Development environment



Case Study Series - Dam Displacement
April 2017

An estimated 80 million people have been displaced by dam projects worldwide. Their fate is largely unknown, but evidence shows that those affected tend to become impoverished and marginalised.
With this case study series, IDMC aims to gradually draw a global picture of displacement associated with dam projects, with a focus on the most vulnerable people. We will cover the drivers and process of displacement, the numbers of people displaced, their onward movements, the impacts they face, progress towards solutions for them and factors that contribute to their vulnerability.
Dams contribute to the achievement of development goals, but displacement and its adverse effects undermine them. Truly people-centred development would ensure that the displaced are not left behind in the pursuit of its goals.

The introduction to the case study series is available here.

China - Lessons Learned from the Manwan Dam

China’s population growth, rising living standards and focus on exports increased annual energy consumption by fivefold between 1980 and 2010. Hydropower projects are prioritised in China in order to meet high electricity demands and the country is home to nearly half of the world’s 50,000 large dams.

In 1996, the construction of the Manwan Dam on the Upper Mekong River displaced 7,260 people, twice the official estimate. The displacement and resettlement process was plagued by insufficient government oversight, limited financial and technical resources and a lack of community consultation and social impact assessment to plan for resettlement. The first case study of this series discusses how insufficient government oversight, limited resources, lack of community consultation and a late social impact assessment increased the vulnerability of China’s Manwan Dam’s IDPs. 

The case study is available here.