Last update:

Rogun Dam, Tajikistan

Serious human rights abuses from World Bank-funded dams caused the institution to move away from large hydropower projects in the '90s. But the bank is now back and is considering funding the highest dam ever in the world.


Rogun Dam is an embankment dam under construction on the Vakhsh River in southern Tajikistan. It is one of the planned hydroelectric power plants of Vakhsh Cascade.  The Rogun hydropower project was first started 40 years ago. But the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Tajik civil war and problems in securing investments have delayed construction. Due to its controversial state, construction was suspended in August 2012 pending World Bank reports. The dam has drawn complaints from neighbor Uzbekistan, which fears it will negatively impact its lucrative cotton crops. The dispute over the project has contributed significantly to bitter relations between the two former Soviet republics. The organization Human Rights Watch writes in a report that "Tajikistan is counting on Rogun to solve its annual winter energy crisis. The proposed project will have an installed capacity of 3,600 Megawatts, 30 percent more than the capacity of Tajikistan’s next largest dam and major energy supplier, Nurek HPP. The World Bank has not committed to funding the project, but it has commissioned two feasibility studies on Rogun, the final drafts of which were published on June 18, 2016. Tajikistan, meanwhile, has committed to complying with the Bank policy on involuntary resettlement. Rogun is emblematic of the large-scale hydropower projects that the Bank has recently re-embraced. The Bank has acknowledged that the need to resettle so many people to make way for Rogun will be one of the most negative impacts of building the dam"[1] She also reports that "Since 2009 the government has resettled over 1,500 of the roughly 7,000 families slated for relocation. [...] The government had given the people to be resettled compensation for their homes and the use of an assigned plot in a resettlement village, and left them to build their new homes. But the low payments and rising costs of supplies made it difficult for them to get what they needed, let alone to hire qualified laborers."[1].  At the contruction site, local inhabitants lamented that blasting for these materials has damaged their homes, shattering all of their windows and cracking their walls, and these demages were not compensated by the government.

See more
Basic Data
Name of conflict:Rogun Dam, Tajikistan
State or province:along the Vakhsh River, about 110 kilometers from Dushanbe, Tajikistan’s capital
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Water Management
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Dams and water distribution conflicts
Specific commodities:Electricity
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Rogun is listed as the highest dam in the world — 335 metres high and built by Salini Impregilo Group with 74 million cubic metres of earth, rock and an impermeable core.

See more
Project area:17,000 [2]
Level of Investment for the conflictive project2 - 6 billion dollars (3,9 billion only to Salini-Impregilo)
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:42,000 people displaced
Company names or state enterprises:Salini Impregilo from Italy
Relevant government actors:Directorate for the Flood Zone of Rogun Hydropower Plant (Flood Zone Directorate)
State Committee of Investment and Management of State Property of the Republic of Tajikistan
International and Finance InstitutionsThe World Bank (ESCAMP ,WB) from United States of America
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Human Rights Watch
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:International ejos
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Objections to the EIA
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Potential: Air pollution, Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Global warming, Noise pollution, Soil contamination
Health ImpactsVisible: Malnutrition, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Other Health impactsImpacts due to forced child labour in the resettled communities
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusUnder construction
Conflict outcome / response:Migration/displacement
Proposal and development of alternatives:Human Rights Watch report states that "The government of Tajikistan has obligations under the constitution of Tajikistan as well as under international law to protect people’s rights to adequate housing, food, water, health, work, and education. It must also avoid taking any steps that would negatively impact or cause a regression in people’s realization of these rights. In the context of involuntary resettlement, the government must ensure fair compensation for all losses that resettlement imposes upon people forced to resettle and ensure that people do not bear an undue burden as the result of being resettled. The government must provide timely and adequate information to and consult in advance with residents facing resettlement and provide access to effective remedies if rights violations occur.
As it moves forward with the Rogun Dam project, the government of Tajikistan should respect and uphold the United Nations Basic Principles and Guidelines on Development-Based Evictions and Displacement, the international human rights standards that they are based on, and the World Bank’s Involuntary Resettlement Policy. With over 5,500 families yet to be resettled, the government has an opportunity to effect a positive change on many lives in the near future."
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The project is being built and no proper compensation given to the affected families.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

The World Bank - Fifth Information-Sharing and Consultation Meeting on the Assessment Studies of the Proposed Rogun Hydropower Project (HPP)
[click to view]

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[1] Foreign Polcy on Focus - The World Bank’s Dam Dilemma in Tajikistan
[click to view]

[2] HRW report - "We Suffered When We Came Here"

Rights Violations Linked to Resettlements for Tajikistan's Rogun Dam
[click to view]

Salini-Impregilo announcement - July 1, 2016: Salini Impregilo signs a framework agreement worth $3.9 billion to build a hydroelectric project in Tajikistan.
[click to view]

BBC news - Tajikistan's Rogun: Building the world's tallest dam

13 November 2016
[click to view]

The Diplomat, July 21, 2016 - Tajikistan’s Rogun Dam Rankles Uzbekistan
[click to view]

Joshua Kucera, “Tajikistan’s Folly? The Rogun Dam,” Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, June 10, 2013
[click to view]

JUNE 25, 2014

Tajikistan: Dam Resettlement Undermines Livelihoods
[click to view]

Central Eurasia Standard - The Rogun Dam: Regional Conflict and Opportunity - MAY 2013
[click to view]

25-11-2011 - History of Rogun and water and energy relations in Central Asia
[click to view]

May 13, 2013 | Amanda Lanzillo

Rogun Dam Promises Energy Security
[click to view]

Rivers Without Borders - Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank intends to co-finance the Rogun Hydro in Tajikistan?

26 SEPTEMBER 2019 [accessed 26.09.2019]
[click to view]

Other comments:This form is mostly based on a Human Rights Watch report [2]
Meta information
Contributor:Daniela Del Bene - ICTA/UAB
Last update19/11/2016
Conflict ID:2482
Legal notice / Aviso legal
We use cookies for statistical purposes and to improve our services. By clicking "Accept cookies" you consent to place cookies when visiting the website. For more information, and to find out how to change the configuration of cookies, please read our cookie policy. Utilizamos cookies para realizar el análisis de la navegación de los usuarios y mejorar nuestros servicios. Al pulsar "Accept cookies" consiente dichas cookies. Puede obtener más información, o bien conocer cómo cambiar la configuración, pulsando en más información.