India, Manipur Province
Centre for research and advocacy Manipur - Cram
Level of involvement in the CPDE:
Member of Global Council, CPDE
Member of Asia coordinating committee (CPDE)
Which is the most significant and paradigmatic story of a development
partnership that you have experienced?
The Mapithel Dam, approved in 1980 by the Planning Commission of India with the aim to provide water mainly for irrigation, drinking water and generation of electricity, remains as one of the most controversial projects in Manipur, causing enormous hardship to indigenous communities in both upstream and downstream of the Mapithel Dam site. The commencement of the blocking of the Yangwui Kong/Thoubal River with the Irrigation and Flood Control Department, Government of Manipur from 10th January 2015 has led to widespread submergence of close to 2000 hectares of forest, agriculture land, grazing ground and homestead land in villages of Chadong, Riha, Ramrei, Thoyee, Senkai, Sikibung, among other villages around Mapithel Hills and valley.
The submergence process began uncared of the lives, the plight of children, women, aged and the sustainable livelihood and way of life, unique cultures thriving along the Mapithel valley and thus failing to take the informed consent
of affected communities and the absence of a detailed rehabilitation and resettlement plan has led to much confusion, displacement and impoverishment of indigenous communities in Mapithel valley, Manipur. At present, no detailed Health, Environmental, Social, Cultural, Economic and seismic Impact assessment of the Dam on the peoples along the Thoubal River has been officially conducted so far.
The Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JICA) is preparing to finance the water supply infrastructure component from the Dam, to supply water for Imphal Town, close to 15 kilometres from the dam site. The financing move of JICA also involves a process of privatising the water supply service in Imphal Town and adjoining areas.
How was the process of Monitoring this Development Partnership?
CRAM closely monitors the arbitration of effective development cooperation principles along with the process of introduction and construction of the Mapithel Dam in Manipur, North East India and the role of financial institutions, private corporations and related policies’ regulations in their moves to privatization of essential services in Manipur. Besides, a series of multiple events have occurred in the absence of the recognition of community rights over their land and resources, absence of rightful involvement and taking consent of affected communities (Mapithel Dam Affected Villagers Organization - MDAVO), and absence of a detailed impact assessment on communities with their rightful participation throughout the construction of the Mapithel Dam.
Over the past 8 years, a variety of mechanisms have been launched on rehabilitation and resettlement issues for affected communities on behalf of the Government of Manipur. However, this Government approach coupled with massive corruption and absence of a detailed impact assessment has led to much confusion among affected villagers. Recently, on 31st December 2013 the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) and the Government of India also conceded final stage II “Forest Clearance” for Mapithel dam. In this view, CRAM along with MDAVO tried to influence the concerned (MoEF) ministry, the National Human Rights Commission of India highlighting the violations involved, and further on a case before the National Green Tribunal on the basis of the violation and the case of forest rights violation of Mapithel dam is still on-going. In addition to this, CRAM also engaged with the UN human rights officials to highlight the continued violations and arbitration of human rights of indigenous communities.
Along this process, back in 2009 the UN Special Rapporteur on Indigenous
peoples, Mr. James Anaya, expressed strong reservation with the projectproponents’ failure to take the free, prior and informed consent of affected communities and the continued militarization processes associated with Mapithel dam construction. Later on, in March 2015, the UN Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples and also on Housing and Land Rights also wrote to the Government of India to consider the rightful demands of affected communities.
As a result of CRAM’s evidence-based research on these on-going violations , they have also served as basis for specific campaigning and advocacy actions around the JICA’s financing role and support towards the privatization of the water supply component for Mapithel Dam. In this view, a series of memorandums and petitions were also organized to seek cooperation with CSOs based in Japan to highlight concern to JICA on larger implications of the social and environmental impacts of Mapithel dam and the continued lack of accountability of the project proponents. CRAM intervened with JICA in April 2014 together with the affected communities (although the consultation process led by JICA did not involve the affected indigenous communities) and even highlighted the intervention with media, while also urging the Government of India to desist entertaining the financing from JICA. CRAM also reminded JICA of its human rights, environmental and social guidelines under the Busan principles for effective development cooperation. In addition to this, another memorandum was also submitted to the JICA officials both in March 2015 and also again in October 2016 on the persisting violations and accountability issues on the dam. CRAM also highlighted the impacts of forced displacement and arbitrary rehabilitation plan with concerned officials of the Government of India.
Which was the monitoring role of the CSOs?
The mission of CRAM in this particular case is to ensure that the right to free, prior and informed consent of communities are fully respected together with a detailed impact assessment of the Mapithel Dam construction on the lives of these communities. To this end, the effective involvement of the affected communities, Research and evidence-based monitoring as well as constant communication and dialogue with all development stakeholders as to uphold human rights based approach to development and their safeguard policies play a key role in attaining CRAM’s mission. Along with this, additional aims also imply the assurance of accountability of both financial institutions and the private sectors involved, both in building dams and in creating allied infrastructure for facilitating dam construction as well as to reconsider and to address the impacts of privatization of water supply service in Imphal Town in Manipur.
What type of monitoring of government-led DPs is occurring in your country?
This usually happens through Public Hearings, only when environmental impacts are foreseen or when affected communities raise concerns of larger impacts”. There are also limited consultation processes, such as by JICA on financing matter of water supply component of Mapithel dam in 2014, which restricts the participation process to officials of the Government and selected representatives of media. The rightful participation of Civil Society, especially those affected both by Mapithel dam and due to privatization of water services is also extremely limited”. Related, and as an example, the process of conceding Forest Clearance for diverting 595 hectares of forest land by the Ministry of Environment and Forest, Government of India on 31st December 2013 failed to involve affected indigenous communities, which itself constitute violation of the Forest Rights Act, 2006 (FRA). The matter of violation and failure to take consent of traditional bodies under FRA is still pending and is being heard at the National Green Tribunal of the Supreme Court of India.
Open to all stakeholders,
and include their ideas
Open to all stakeholders, but doesn’t include their ideas
Open to a few, chosen stakeholders, and include their ideas
Open to a few, chosen stakeholders, but does not include their ideas
Not open at all
Which are the actors or development agents that had participated in
the Development partnership that you describe in this story?
The national team of the SSL that was assigned by the Palestinian cabinet in 2012 consisted of:
1) The government representative,
2) private sector representatives,
3) International Labour Organization Representative in Palestine,
4) two workers’ federations and associations that are influenced directly by the government.
The concerned researchers and observers found this alarming due to the fact that more independent representatives of civil society were excluded from the process and this national team insisted on overlooking the observations of the legal and social experts in this regards”
How could you define the dialogue process between the
multistakeholders involved in the Development Partnership?
Lack of proper listening, cycling the same arguments, no learning.
Encouraging listening and taking voices into account
Could you explain how the four-development effectiveness principles were used
as monitoring criteria in the experience you are presenting?
By clicking on the round circles in the graphic you could read more about how the principle has been used.
There is challenge with the development model introduced as it is usually Financial Institutions and the Multinational corporate bodies pursuing their corporate agenda of privatization with minimal reference to respecting / upholding human rights of those communities affected by the project. The JICA’s plan to finance the water supply infrastructure from Mapithel dam for Imphal Town has failed to consider both impacts of the project itself, but also negates the impacts due to privatization of water service. The financing plan also failed to consider the persisting social and environmental impacts of Mapithel dam and the lack of accountability of project proponents.
The focus on Results is more to serve the corporate interest rather than serving the interest of the communities or for promoting environmental sustainability. Many development processes / projects are also marred with corruption, delays and unaccountability. The Mapithel dam is already considered as an example of unsustainable project due to the extensive destruction of forest (both due to direct submergence and also due to forced situation of displaced communities targeting forest for survival), and sustainable livelihood of indigenous communities, which also threatens both the feasibility of the key objectives of the dam, including water supply, power and irrigation, etc..”.
This is one huge challenge in our context. The increased policy deregulation towards privatization and favouring corporate bodies is a concern. The refusal to recognize certain rights of communities, such as for self-determined development and the right to free, prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples before introduction of development processes is a concern. The call and efforts of affected communities to both the Government of India and the JICA to secure their livelihood, to consider the violations of Mapithel dam, to end militarization and to end all forms of undemocratic introduction of the dam continue to remain unaddressed.
Lack of information disclosure, manipulation, fraud, corruption and human rights violations by the State, corporate bodies and financial institutions without a clear redressal mechanism is a clear challenge. The ongoing process to finance the water supply component of Mapithel dam and further to privatize the water supply in Imphal town between the Government of India and JICA lacks transparency, with little information revealed to the affected communities. The violations perpetrated by the project proponents in project implementation, especially corruption and suppression of affected communities remain without investigation and delivery of justice to those responsible.
Key Primary Tool
Principle not used in the monitoring
Ownership of development priorities by developing counties
Recipient countries define the development model that they want to implement.
Focus on results
Having a sustainable impact should be the driving force behind investments and effort in development policy making
Partnerships for development
Development depends on the participation of all actors, and recognises the diversity and complementarity of their functions.
Transparency and shared responsibility
Development co-operation must be transparent and accountable to all citizens.
How has the Human Rights Based Approach been used as
monitoring criteria in the monitoring experience you are describing?
Human Right-Based approach to development is the key primary tool employed in CRAM’s monitoring exercises. Issues around the rightful participation of communities, accountability of development stakeholders, respect for democratic practices and the promotion of an enabling environment are key for CRAM. In particular, initiatives and action towards the advancement of human rights with specific instruments for the rights of indigenous peoples, the monitoring of human rights’ commitments by the State, Corporate bodies and financial institutions and efforts and call for an enabling environment for community organization are cross-cutting for attaining CRAM’s mission.
How did the government or other stakeholders react after
you have presented the monitoring initiative/some monitoring results?
Regarding the Mapithel Dam, the meetings of Expert Review Committee (ERC) as a government-led mechanism on rehabilitation and resettlement issues for affected communities has not been held since 2011 and for this reason all affected communities and CSOs are pledging the ERC should be revived with full reference for implementation of the provisions of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples concerning land rights, the duty to consult and obtain free prior and informed consent, prompt resolution of conflicts and disputes with States and other parties.
Regarding the water supply component of the Mapithel Dam and as a result of CRAM and affected communities’ lobby & advocacy efforts, JICA so far has failed to take a concrete decision on financing the Water Supply project”. With this, the plan to privatize the water supply service in Imphal Town is also deferred as well for time being.
The effort to further dilute the Water Supply Act, 2002 has not materialized as of yet.
Recently, the Prime Minister’s office and the Ministry of Power, Government of India have shown interest in considering affected-communities and CSOs’ concerns and demands on the violations on Mapithel Dam” and indeed intervened with the project authorities of Mapithel dam on 29 August 2016. The Government of Manipur has not been finalizing plans to inaugurate Mapithel dam ever since its announcement for inauguration of the dam in September 2016 last.
The UN Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples rights and Housing Rights also wrote to the Government of India in March 2015 to recognize indigenous peoples’ rights and to stop the construction of Mapithel dam.
Monitoring experiences from CSOs like the one in my story happen in my country...
Organizations should have the experience of engaging at multiple levels, with the community, with media, Government and other stakeholders. Competency is extremely important. Consistency and experience of engaging is also important. Organization should be able to assume responsibility. Organizations should be able to monitor changing circumstances and respond accordingly.
Which capacities do you consider as key in order to realise this monitoring experience?
Capacity to relate, by participation in coalitions and networks of CSOs to engage engaging at multiple levels,
with the community and a variety of stakeholders
Capacity to foster dialogue with government and other stakeholder. Convene around a common landscape
Communication and outreach capacity. Counting with media in reaching and influencing public opinion.
Capacity to conduct evidence-based research and policy papers.
Capacity to commit and act, through a well-elaborated strategy for lobby and advocacy.
Capacity to conduct Lobby and Advocacy representing right-holders, from a legitimate, accountable and trustworthy representation.
Capability to mobilise public support and create and maintain operational space. Contributing to the public debate and maintain legitimacy of representation.
Capability to ensure organisational sustainability (with financial sustainability and capability to attract and retain qualified staff)
Capacity to adapt and renew, pro-act to changing external contexts. Organizations should be able to monitor changing circumstances and respond accordingly.
Capacity of culture of learning and innovation in the organisation. Developing an own learning agenda
Which are, in your opinion, the capacities needed to conduct a good monitoring of Development partnerships?
"Experience, capacity, commitment and consistency of the organization is extremely important."
To which extent has this experience been articulated through networks and
shared at regional level in other countries?
“The organization has engaged and involved extensively with several indigenous, environment and human rights networks to share experiences of monitoring and in promotion of development effectiveness principles."
Which is the projection of the organisation/network at the moment
in their national and international context?
CRAM’s project is projected as indigenous peoples’ human rights organization, promoting sustainable development in their land and territories.