In response to news that Tanzanian and Egyptian governments have signed a contract to build the Stiegler’s Gorge dam in Selous Game Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) issued the following statement from Aslihan Tumer, Head of Global Campaigns:
"WWF is deeply concerned by the decision of the governments of Tanzania and Egypt to sign a contract for the construction of Stiegler's Gorge hydropower dam in the Selous Game Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, before a comprehensive Strategic Environmental Assessment is done as required by Tanzanian law for a project of this size.
"The Selous holds the potential to be a major driver of sustainable development in Tanzania, giving long-term benefits to both its economy and people. WWF-commissioned research on the Stiegler’s Gorge project strongly indicates that construction of the dam will have far-reaching negative impacts on the Selous, and beyond. Its construction risks damage to a wetland of international importance, the Rufiji-Mafia-Kilwa Marine Ramsar Site, and could impact on the livelihoods of more than 200,000 people who live downstream. Tanzania is blessed with a range of renewable energy possibilities, from wind and solar to geothermal and sustainable hydropower. There is great potential to develop a range of sustainable renewable power sources that will diversify the energy mix and increase Tanzania’s energy security. WWF urges the Egyptian and Tanzanian governments to ensure existing legal processes are followed and alternative power generating schemes are examined thoroughly before going ahead with a damaging project."