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On World Water, Big Dams Talked Up at UN, Haiti Dodged, No Time for Fracking

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 25 -- When the UN held a briefing on its World Water Development report, Inner City Press asked some obvious questions: about dams and destruction, and about the UN's responsibility for water and sanitation in Haiti after its introduction of cholera to the island. Video here, from Minute 28:52.

The report's lead author Richard Connor gamely answered on dams, arguing that while some prefer smaller damns to larger, they generate much less energy.

  He said a 20% decrease in height of a dam would result in a decrease in electrical output of 40%. He noted that dams use but don't draw or consume water, and said that timing, for example as relates to the planting seasons, is what matters.

Inner City Press named the Democratic Republic of the Congo's Inga 3 dam, which the World Bank just funded. But the answer was general, contrasting dollars and cents to social, cultural and environmental impacts.

On Haiti, Connor countered with a story about Hurricane Mitch in Honduras, how infrastructure can be repeatedly knocked out. He referred to the poverty cycle. But not the UN's responsibility.

Afterward, Connor told Inner City Press he had also been ready to answer critically on fracking. Currently the situation in Ukraine has given rise to, or been used as the pretext for, calling to increase fracking and dangerous shipment of gas.

Speaking of gas, the UN gave the first question to Pamela Falk of CBS as the head of the United Nations Correspondents Association, which has as documented history of trying to get the investigative Press thrown out of the UN.

  Since the UN is supposed to be for media freedom, this seems like a contradiction. Since Connor had to leave the room before speaking for example on fracking, it's also worth considering if Falk gets or put any story on this into CBS. If not, wasn't it a wasted question? It's the UN's Censorship Alliance -- and it's opposed by the new Free UN Coalition for Access. Watch this site.


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