Is dam development a mechanism for human security? Scale and perception of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile River in Ethiopia and the Xayaburi Dam on the Mekong River in Laos Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/2z10ws922

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  • Human security is a framework related to the stability and sustainability of political, environmental, economical, and socio-cultural areas of concern. Water resources around the world are under increased pressure from increased development, growing populations, pollution, and global climate change. Large-scale dam development while still popular for political and economic development reasons, has been found to result in costs that outweigh benefits in environmental and socio-cultural sectors. This research assesses the human security impacts from dam development at three scales: the international river basin, the nation-state, and the local affected communities. Human security includes aspects of political, environmental, economic, and socio-cultural sectors. A combination of quantitatively-derived parameters from global indices and field-generated qualitative interviews and observations are employed to understand how perceptions of impacts change dependent on scale and sector. Two case studies are analyzed to capture three scales of human security impacts from dam development: the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile River in Ethiopia and the Xayaburi Dam on the Mekong River in Laos. A new human security measurement is developed to consider qualitative aspects of interview data in order to compare the human security stability of very secure, secure, slightly insecure, and insecure to the global indexes. Comparisons between case studies, scales, and methods are drawn. Differences between human security and human development are highlighted. The conclusions are that human security impacts due exist from dam development, but are of a different magnitude depending upon scale, sector, and perception, as well as the datasets used for analysis. For the international scale, I combined publicly available datasets Human Development Index (HDI), Human Security Index (HSI), and the Transboundary Freshwater Dispute Database Basin Country Units (TFDDBCU) to create GIS based maps of watershed development and security ranking. For the national scale I analyzed information provided through official documents, websites, and field interviews. For the local scale I conducted empirical observation and field interviews in local communities. I conclude that the best measurement of human security is from a combination of scale, sector, and perception using qualitative and quantitative context and data for measurement.
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