Category: World Bank

World Bank invites bids for Red Sea-Dead Sea canal study

dpa German Press Agency
Published: Thursday April 5, 2007

Amman- The World Bank has invited international companies to
bid for a feasibility study to examine the environmental and social
impacts of the 5-billion-dollar Red Sea-Dead Sea Water Conveyance
project on the surrounding countries, officials said Thursday.
“The overall objective of the 15.5-million-dollar study is to
evaluate the conveyance of water from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea as
a way to address environmental degradation of the Dead Sea region,”
according to the project’s statement.

The three littoral states – Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian
Authority – have placed advertisements in major local dailies
inviting interested firms to present their offers.

Divided into two sections, the study focuses on the environmental
and social impacts as well as the overall feasibility of the proposed
canal. Companies will be allowed to bid for the whole study or just
one part.

The firm that wins the bid will also be required to examine the
possibility of seawater desalination and energy production.

The World Bank said the winning company should submit its report
within two years. The eventual construction of the canal is expected
to cost around 5 billion dollars, officials said.

The Red-Dead project is part of an international effort to save the
Dead Sea, the level of which has been dropping at a rate of 1 metre
per year, largely due to diversion of water from the River Jordan for
agricultural and industrial use.

During the past 20 years alone, it has plunged more than 30 metres,
prompting experts to warn that it could dry up within 50 years.

The proposed canal will be built along the border with Israel in
Wadi Araba, pumping 650 million cubic metres (mcm) of water annually
from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea. It is expected to generate 550
megawatts of electricity.

The project also entails the setting up of a desalination plant
that provides Jordan with 850mcm of potable water a year.

© 2006 – dpa German Press Agency

by Noam Chomsky
February 23, 2004


It is a virtual reflex for governments to plead security concerns when they undertake any controversial action, often as a pretext for something else. Careful scrutiny is always in order. Israel’s so-called security fence, which is the subject of hearings starting today at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, is a case in point.

Few would question Israel’s right to protect its citizens from terrorist attacks like the one yesterday, even to build a security wall if that were an appropriate means. It is also clear where such a wall would be built if security were the guiding concern: inside Israel, within the internationally recognized border, the Green Line established after the 1948-49 war. The wall could then be as forbidding as the authorities chose: patrolled by the army on both sides, heavily mined, impenetrable. Such a wall would maximize security, and there would be no international protest or violation of international law.

This observation is well understood. While Britain supports America’s opposition to The Hague hearings, its foreign minister, Jack Straw, has written that the wall is “unlawful.” Another ministry official, who inspected the “security fence,” said it should be on the Green Line or “indeed on the Israeli side of the line.” A British parliamentary investigative commission also called for the wall to be built on Israeli land, condemning the barrier as part of a “deliberate” Israeli “strategy of bringing the population to heel.” Continue reading

World Bank operations
Dr. M. S. Haq, Dhaka

Through the recent months, it is increasingly becoming clear from analyzing media presentations, both print and electronic that the bank (World Bank) has been losing incrementally its aggressive culture of support and follow-up when it comes to, for example, bank assisted national programmes and projects in Bangladesh. During the time of the bank’s immediate past country director, we, the ordinary citizens of Bangladesh, somehow felt either directly or otherwise and as appropriate – the pulse of say, bank’s initiatives, as well as activities in both quantitative and qualitative terms. Our present day experience is, however, a bit different from the one described above.

The motive behind the bank’s present day pace of operations in Bangladesh is unknown. But it is understandable: a change of leadership can, among other things, become instrumental in bringing about changes in areas such as: operations philosophy; and outcome production methodologies; under certain circumstances. We hope that will be the case and the period of transition would soon be over. We would like to see the bank more active and more outcome-oriented, among other things.

It is expected the bank will let Bangladeshis and others know, in a more meaningful and result-oriented fashion, its activities, problems, prospects and successes (particularly, those relating to public interest) on a continuous basis – in pursuit of say, strengthening, as well as sustaining further, people-bank synergies. The bank cannot and should not ignore its accountability (in pertinent areas) to the people.

It is also expected the bank will double its effort towards devolution of its programme in Bangladesh at a faster rate and in a more sustainable manner.

We are confident the bank will, under the able leadership of its president, be able to facilitate changes for the better in above and other related areas.