It is very important that archaeologists, who in northern Sudan are among the very few people with chances to visit the areas threatened by dam building, discuss the problems arising from the dams as well as their experiences from previous salvage campaigns in order to form strategies that can help prevent further catastrophes linked with such ‘development’ projects.
Therefore, it is a very intriguing contrast the announcement of the following three venues:
1. The lecture ‘Dams are development’: China, Sudan’s Al-Ingaz Regime and the political economy of the Sudanese Nile is held by Harry Verhoeven at the Royal African Society in London on 8 May.
The content of the very interesting lecture is summarized:
“China has been critical in the development of Sudan’s ambitious Dam Programme. After the secession of South Sudan, the rump state of Sudan, still led by the military-Islamist regime of Omar al-Bashir and Ali Osman Taha is trying to develop a post-oil future. Together with the Agricultural Revival Programme, big dams are an integral part of Khartoum’s ‘hydro-agricultural mission’, the Khartoum Salvation (Al-Ingaz) regime’s attempt at recalibrating northern Sudan’s political economy and dealing with difficult economic times ahead. However, Al-Ingaz’s hydro-agricultural designs are generating local and regional resistance that might well turn violent in the future.”
It is just recently that we became aware of the important research undertaken by Harry Verhoeven through the Chatham House briefing paper ‘Black Gold for Blue Gold? Sudan’s Oil, Ethiopia’s Water and Regional Integration’.
2. A meeting in Chicago on 26 May to respond to the emergency of the new dams that threaten with “The Death of the Nile”.
3. A conference on 6-7 July in Durham where it appears as a possibility to find ways “to build a dam and save cultural heritage”…
The aims of the conference are:
“This interdisciplinary workshop brings together specialists and interested parties to encourage a practical discussion about minimizing damage to cultural heritage during and after the construction of dam projects. This workshop is intended to begin a multi-year project, and will set the foundation and framework for future international sessions. The ultimate aim is the production of a practical set of guidelines for cultural heritage management in dam construction aimed at developers, foreign contractors, and policy-makers. We cannot save or even record everything before it is lost, but must consider how best to choose, and what advice can be given to those in a position to make such decisions.”