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United Nations Environment Programme


Dams and Development Project

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The World Commission On Dams

What did the World Commission on Dams do?

The World Commission on Dams (WCD) was established in May 1998 in response to the escalating local and international controversies over large dams. By mandate it:

  • reviewed the development effectiveness of large dams and assessed alternatives for water resources and energy development; and
  • developed internationally acceptable criteria, guidelines and standards for the planning, design, appraisal, construction, operation, monitoring and decommissioning of dam

The 12 Commission members relied on extensive public consultation and pioneered a new funding model in which 54 public, private and civil society organisations helped finance the WCD process. A Forum with 68 members from 36 countries representing a cross-section of interests, views and institutions, was consulted during the Commission's work. It was the first time that a mechanism had been created to bring all these diverse groups together.

To conduct the most comprehensive, global and independent review of dams to date, and base its conclusions on a solid foundation, the WCD commissioned, organised or accepted:

  • in-depth case studies of 8 large dams in five continents, with three country papers;
  • a cross-check survey of 125 large dams in 56 countries;
  • 17 thematic reviews on five dimensions of the debate and a number of working papers;
  • 4 regional consultations; and
  • 950 inputs submitted by interested individuals, groups and institutions.

Go to the WCD Website

 

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