Kenya: Human Rights Watch report says dam construction & water-intensive agriculture could negatively impact Turkana people’s ability to access food, water & health
Human Rights Watch recently released a report titled “There is No Time Left”: Climate Change, Environmental Threats, and Human Rights in Turkana County, Kenya". The report says that climate change, in combination with Ethiopia's massive plan for dams, water-intensive irrigated cotton and sugar plantations, and irrigation canals and other infrastructure in Ethiopia’s Omo River Basin is compromising Turkana people's ability to access food, water, health & security.
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Author: Human Rights Watch
"There is No Time Left”: Climate Change, Environmental Threats, and Human Rights in Turkana County, Kenya"
Human Rights Watch conducted research in Turkana County between April 2014 and February 2015...The report finds that climate change, in combination with existing political, environmental and economic development challenges in Turkana, has had an impact on the Turkana people’s ability to access food, water, health and security. Turkana County has long experienced periods of cyclical drought. However, increasing temperatures and shifting precipitation patterns, combined with population growth and threats to Lake Turkana from hydroelectric and irrigation projects in Ethiopia, present significant, long-term challenges for the Turkana County and Kenyan national governments...
Industrial and agricultural development across Turkana’s northern border with Ethiopia also poses threats that could affect the realization of rights of the Turkana people. Over the past several years, Ethiopia has embarked on a massive plan for dams, water-intensive irrigated cotton and sugar plantations, and irrigation canals and other infrastructure in Ethiopia’s Omo River Basin, which provides 90 percent of the water in Lake Turkana. These developments are predicted to dramatically reduce the water supply of Lake Turkana: the planned irrigation projects alone could reduce by up to 50 percent the Omo River’s total flow. Some scientists predict that Lake Turkana, the largest desert lake in the world, could recede into two small pools.
[The report calls on donor agencies to only]...approve projects after assessing human rights risks, including of associated facilities such as power sources and cumulative impacts of all relevant developments; identifying measures to avoid or mitigate risks of adverse impacts; and implementing mechanisms that enable continual analysis of developing human rights risks and adequate supervision, including through third parties.