Gilbert F. White
in establishing a set of studies with developing countries on how they could
salvage large reservoir projects that they had undertaken in a burst of
enthusiasm without being fully aware of the full set of side effects. This
included the Volta River in Ghana, the Kainji in Nigeria, Kariba in what is
now Zimbabwe and Zambia, and the High Aswan in Egypt. In each case I
headed an interdisciplinary mission that set up a plan of action between the
concerned country and the UNDP. In the late 1970s I returned to the Nile as
consultant for a joint study of the downstream effects of the High A swan, and
for the first six years of the eighties was a member of a joint consultative
committee on applied science in Egypt. Later, I was senior author of a paper
reviewing the world water resources and needs for the United Nations water
conference in 1977.
One reason I got into that was that I'd been working on the lower Mekong
with the four countries there on social economic aspects of the land and
proposed reservoir system. That appraisal was funded by the Ford
Foundation and the coordinating committee of the four countries.
I was drawn into the new United Nations environment program after the
Stockholm conference of 1972 on various kinds of studies that they were
interested in promoting in developing countries. One assignment was as
senior consultant in planning the World Conference on Desertification in
1977. I expect the most recent job I did for them was to help edit their major
review of what had happened to the world environment between 1972 and
1982. An Englishman (Martin Holdgate), an Egyptian (Mohammed Kassas),
and I put together a final document drawing on work from about 150 different
Q: Is that available?
A: Yes, it's published by Tycooley Press, an Irish publisher, and is entitled The
World Environment: 1972-82.
So I have worked with the United Nations in a variety of ways. I've done
some other things. And I worked with the World Health Organization in
studies on domestic water use.
Q: In which countries?