Архив за месяц: Ноябрь 2011

Kherlen River discussed at the Second meeting of the Amur-Okhotsk Consortium


The 2nd International Meeting of Amur-Okhotsk Consortium was held on November 5 and 6, 2011, in Sapporo, Japan, as a program in Hokkaido University Sustainable Weeks 2011. The Consortium was formed as a result of very innovative Amur-Okhotsk Project that explored contribution of Amur River outflow to sustaining fisheries of the Sea of Okhotsk.

This is the 2nd international meeting of this consortium. The objective of this meeting was to discuss how to preserve the shared heritage of cross-border environment, and how to pass it on to the next generation by academic perspectives with the participation of general public and students. The first time Mongolian hydrologists came to this event and reported on peculiar natural features of Kherlen River and associated socio-economic and environmental problems.(SEE ABSTRACTS)

Presenting Kherlen River issues in Japan is very  important given that controversial Kherlen -Gobi  Water Transfer Project was designed with participation of Japanese CTI Engineering International Co and further Japanese involvement in the project is quite likely.

Kherlen River at the site of planned project ( RwB 2011 expedition photo)


The Amur-Okhotsk Consortium is a multilateral researchers’ network to promote the sharing of information on environments, to make efforts toward a cooperative environmental monitoring, and to facilitate the robust discussions that transcends borders toward an environmental conservation and sustainable use of the resources of the Amur River Basin and the Sea of Okhotsk. It is a platform to discuss issues grounded on scientific knowledge for the purpose of sharing a common recognition through the exchange of opinion and discussions on the natural environment of the Sea of Okhotsk and the Amur River Basin. This network is a non-governmental network and has not been founded on or by any particular country or organization. This is a personal network comprised of voluntarily participating researchers who share a common awareness and for the possibility of a free discussion by researchers on the future of the ecosystem of the Amur-Okhotsk. The activities of Amur-Okhotsk Consortium will be financially supported for 3 years starting from 2011 by 3 year grant by Mitsui & Co., Ltd. Environment Fund. In this year, the first year of this funding, the 2nd International Meeting of Amur-Okhotsk Consortium is held. In 2012, the second year of the grant, an environmental monitoring program in the Amur River with researchers from Russia, China, Mongolia, and Japan is planned. And in 2013, the final year of the grant, the 3rd International Meeting of Amur-Okhotsk Consortium will be held in Sapporo, again. This will be the final stage run by Japanese secretariat, and will be successfully turned over to the next secretariat.

Sources:  Amur-Okhotsk Consortium web-site, RwB own info.

China says no Brahmaputra diversion — is there hope for Argun and Amur?

Argun, Shilka and Amur river ecosystems- are all threatened by water infrastructure planned or already built by China. China still refuses to discuss with Russia agreement on environmental flow on Argun River, that may soften impacts of Hailaer-Dalai massive water diversion. State-owned Yangtze Power Co. together with En+Company propose to dam Shilka River near its mouth. And all Chinese national development plans still have 3 to 9 most dangerous dams on the Amur River transboundary channel. However RwB must acknowledge that Chinese policies on transboundary rivers gradually become more open and this great country becomes somewhat more sensitive to concerns of its neighbors. But to be heard these concerns should be voiced loudly and at the high level of political pyramid. India has been very edgy ever since reports that China meant to divert the waters of Bhramaputra river towards the parched provinces in the north-east, or even Xinjiang in the north-west. Brahmaputra River diversion story told by The «Times of India»  is very far from the happy end, but offers some hope for the future. RwB

Indrani Bagchi, Oct 14, 2011

In a rare admission which will be welcomed in India, China has stated that it will not divert the Brahmaputra river.Jiao Yong, vice minister at China’s ministry of water resources, told a press conference in Beijing on Wednesday that although there is a demand among Chinese to make greater use of the Yarlung Tsangpo (Tibetan name for the Brahmaputra), «considering the technical difficulties, the actual need of diversion and the possible impact on the environment and state-to-state relations, the Chinese government has no plan to conduct any diversification project in this river».

This is the first time that China has acknowledged that anything that spoils relations with India over the Brahmaputra does not serve any interests.

The official clarification will be a relief to the Indian government, which has repeatedly harangued the Chinese side on the proposed diversification project. Returning from the UN General Assembly on September 27, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told journalists, «I have myself raised this issue with both the President as well as the Prime Minister of China on a number of occasions. They have assured us that they are not doing anything which will be detrimental to the interests of India.»

Indian and Chinese experts discussed the fate of trans-border rivers as recently as May 2011 in Beijing. The Chinese statement will go a fair distance in removing a growing irritant between India and China. India has been very edgy ever since reports that China meant to divert the waters of this mighty river towards the parched provinces in the north-east, or even Xinjiang in the north-west.

The idea was first raised in a provocatively titled book, ‘Tibet’s water will save China’, by two retired PLA commanders, Gao Kai and Li Ling.

Independent hydro-experts have also suggested that it would be an almost impossible technical feat to divert the Brahmaputra. After alleged misadventures on the Three Gorges Dam and Mekong river in southeast Asia, there is less of an appetite to venture into a project that could prove to be very risky.

However, the diversification project is distinct from the dams that China has started to build on the Brahmaputra. While there is some consternation on that in India, China has clarified that these are run-of-the-river projects. India is not protesting too much here because these are the kind of dam projects India is building on the Indus rivers that India shares with Pakistan. China is believed be building six dams — Lengda, Zhongda, Langzhen, Jiexu, Jiacha and Zangmu.

In November 2006, on the eve of Chinese President Hu Jintao’s visit to India, Chinese water resources Wang Shucheng was quoted as saying that the diversion proposal was «unnecessary, unfeasible and unscientific. There is no need for such dramatic and unscientific projects.» But that did not assuage Indian concerns.

China expert Claude Arpi says, «If a river water treaty could be signed between India and Pakistan in the early sixties, why can’t a similar agreement be made between China, India and Bangladesh?»

Times of India

President of the Mongolia Mining Assossiation Criticizes New Law

After the 14 th North America-Mongolia Business Council Conference  D.Ganbold, President of the Mongolian National Mining Association, discussed with journalists the Government of Mongolia have budget to compensate over 1000 mining exploration companies?Q: Your presentation at the North America-Mongolia Business Council conference was interesting and in the presentation, you made analysis on the amendments in four laws that affected mining industry. What were the main obstacles or advantages of these amendments?D.Ganbold: There are better and worse provisions in the mining law amendments in relationship with the OT IA(Oyu Tolgoi Implementation Agreement-ed.). The repeal of WFP (windfall profit) tax is the biggest gain of these changes. Also some laws such as «Law on prohibiting exploration and mining minerals from river source protected water and forest reservoir areas» and «Law on Nuclear Energy» will bring more problems in the future. «Law on Nuclear Energy» breaches many domestic laws and also international laws, agreements, even the Constitution of Mongolia. Upon approval of this law, interest of mining many companies and their investors is under risk. Share is private property. It is regretful that the Government of Mongolia stated to own this property free. Also the law was adopted to divide authorities of state registration and cadastre. These provisions are impossible for the professional operations many disputes are awaiting in relationship with this provision. Also it failed to state the solution to probable disputes.

Q: When drafting these laws, did lawmakers receive comments from you and professionals?

D.Ganbold: As for «Law on prohibiting exploration and mining minerals from river source protected water and forest reservoir areas» and «Law on Nuclear Energy», we made neither single comments nor a second of time to comment. Minister D.Zorigt is working very closely with mining NGOs and private sector. But as for these laws, they were carved without professional touches or comments.

Q: Lawmakers believe that «Law on prohibiting exploration and mining minerals from river source protected water and forest reservoir areas» will become impetus in the protection of environment. But you see it as negative.

D.Ganbold: It will not protect the environment; actually it will bring negative impacts. When the law was developed, it would affect over 200 licenses, but now this number is increased by 4-5 times. If the exploration licenses of these companies were cancelled accruing to a new law, the Government shall compensate these companies, according to the Mineral Law of Mongolia. But does Government of Mongolia have such a huge amount of money? Let’s take one example, there is a calculation that «Monpolimet» company, which faces the risk of losing its license, spent 50 million US$, also «Erdes Holding» LLC, iron ore mining company, spent 20 million US$, respectively. It is excluding exploration expense. Compensation risk of only two of a thousand would reach over 100 billion MNT.

Actually, exploration expense is the risk of license holding company. But now the Government would pay the payment. Actually, confiscated licensed areas will become the prey of «ninjas», unofficial name of artisan miners. Wouldn’t it affect the environment?

Wednesday, 02 Nov 2011  Source:www.business-mongolia.com

RwB would dare to ask the President: «If not a single comment was made by miners who in spring 2011 proposed amendments making the Law practically useless?  Coalition members had to spend a lot of energy to prevent them from being passed, so we would really like to know who authored them»

«Rivers without Boundaries» Registered !

sertifikat.jpgGood News!Thanks to restless efforts of Ganbold — RwB Coordinator in Mongolia, Rivers without Boundaries  International Coalition  became a registered NGO in Mongolia.

Such registration ( that would be almost impossible in China and  painfully difficult in Russia) allows the Coalition greater flexibility and provides additional opportunities in advocacy and fund-raising.   However this move by no means  changes the general RwB policy to work as a network of NGOs, activists and experts and not just as an independent NGO. Thus in Mongolia RwB presently closely cooperates with Onon-Ulz River Movement, United Movement of Mongolian Rivers and Lakes, «Let’s Save the Tuul River!» National Movement, Mongolian Nature Protection Civil Movements Coalition, Khentii, Onon Protection Movement, etc. Current focus in Mongolia — implementation of the «Law with long Name» and controlling placer gold mining on transboundary rivers of  Eastern Mongolia.  But  also in future  RwB  in Mongolia plans  to assess new hydropower and water diversion schemes,  engage in basin-wide management planning in transboundary river basins ,  look into water-related impacts of large investment projects,  re-examine and support improvement of the  National Water Program.