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The World Commission On Dams

World Bank

John Briscoe

World Bank

Responding to the WCD Report: A Progress Report from The World Bank

The WCD Stakeholder Forum: Concluding comments from one of the midwives...

The WCD process and Report has stimulated an unprecedented process in the World Bank..

On process:

  • unprecedented partnership for the Bank
  • implications for how we engage with partners on other equally complex issues
  • Provided the basis for a rich debate on dams and more broadly on water andenergy

On the substance of the report:

  • implications for what development means and the role of the World Bank
  • implications for our work on water and energy
  • implications for our involvement in dams–

We will build upon the WCD Report

Preliminary Action Plan

Element 1: Work with borrowers in moving upstream

  • consider the findings of the WCD Report and the consultations with borrowers in the forthcoming Water Resources Sector Strategy
  • explore additional mechanisms for expanding support for borrowers in dealing with strategic upstream issues in water and energy planning and management
  • upon request, work with countries on options assessment *
  • upon request, work with other development partners in helping strengthen*
  • national legal and institutional capacity for water and energy management *
  • continue to support evaluation of structural and non-structural investments, including management, conservation and rehabilitation activities
  • continue to promote policy, institutional and technical measures to encourage conservation of energy and water and increase efficiency
  • continue to promote the use of consultation and disclosure processes as an integral element of energy and water options assessments

*embryonic multi-stakeholder partnership started here in CT

Element 2: Effectively implement the Bank safeguard policies

  • use strategic environmental and social assessments as a tool for evaluation of options at the national or river basin level
  • integrate use of environmental assessment and evaluation of social issues more effectively in project design processes
  • increase emphasis on evaluation and management of risks and sharing of benefits
  • continue to promote broad-based consultation and disclosure as part of the project design and implementation process
  • provide specialised training for staff and borrowers on environmental and social issues related to dam projects.

Element 3: Continue to support borrowers in improving the performance of existing dams

  • through evaluation of new operational approaches to address changing needs
  • through dam safety, operation and management programs
  • through reservoir sedimentation management
  • through measures for watershed and habitat management
  • through measures to address environmental flows *
  • through measures to address social issues
  • through complementary measures for water and energy conservation
  • through actions to improve benefit sharing from dams * .

*embryonic multi-stakeholder partnership started here in CT

Element 4: Continue to stress institutional reform for more efficient use of water and energy

  • through partnerships like the Global Water Partnership (GWP)
  • through programs like the Utilities Regulators Network
  • through focused actions under ESMAP
  • through water users associations, private sector participation in utility management and the broad range of stakeholders
  • through projects in the water supply, energy and irrigation sectors.

Element 5:Develop a more proactive and development-oriented approach to international waters

  • examine how the Bank can play a more supportive role in addressing international waters issues as a development opportunity and vehicle for co-operation

Element 6:Continue to support innovative approaches for dealing with complex dam-related management and technical issues

  • options assessment *
  • environmental flows *
  • sedimentation management *
  • river basin management
  • groundwater management
  • watershed management.

*embryonic multi-stakeholder partnership started here in CT

Working with others in the spirit of the WCD...

A central element in all of this will be a series of specific partnerships with others, including:

  • with countries who want to collaborate with us
  • with other interested IFIs
  • with bilaterals
  • with NGOs
  • with industry–

exciting start to some of these here among Forum members

These are our current thoughts on how to proceed–.

Over the next several months we will be doing more consulting and listening as we continue to develop our approach for building upon the WCD Report and further develop our Action Plan:

  • to our owners (governments)
  • to other financial institutions/donors
  • to our other partners (NGOs, industry–)

The WCD Report and these discussions will be a major input into the Bank’s new Water Resources Sector Strategy (fall 2001) which will integrate this matter into the broader aspects of water and energy

Management

In conclusion

  • Think back to Gland 4 years ago
  • We have all come a long way and learned a lot
  • we believe that the spirit of the WCD – of listening to each other and working together in multi-stakeholder groups -- is now embedded in all of us
  • this is evident in the variety of actions that we have embarked on together, and that will make a real difference in the lives of poor people

On behalf of the World Bank want to thank:

  • to our fellow mid-wives IUCN
  • to all of the Forum members
  • to the Secretariat and
  • to the Commissioners who gave years of their time, energy and passion to this purpose.

As one of the mid-wives of the WCD A progress report in doing what we committed to do in London

Since the launch of the WCD Report

Internally:

  • the formation of a Bank Group-wide Task Force, with staff from all relevant sectors and regions
  • review and discussions with Senior Management
  • two (long) discussions with the Bank Board (the governments that own the Bank)

Externally:

  • have followed up on the London commitment by having in-country discussions with the governments of seven of our borrowers

    Brazil Nepal

    EthiopiaJordan

    China Thailand

    Laos

    14 Asian governments participating in ADB meeting

    Bangladesh (India) Kyrgyz

    Bhutan PakistanLaos

    Cambodia Philippines Malaysia

    China Sri Lanka Nepal

    (India) Thailand

    Vietnam Indonesia

    Have also heard from some in the private sector, NGOs and professional associations, who have sent letters with their views to Mr. Wolfensohn. What have we heard from our borrowers?

    (As much about the World Bank as about the WCD–) The initial reaction of several governments was to shoot the messenger…

After discussions:

  • all governments we met with acknowledged that the conflicts pre-date the WCD;
  • all retained concerns with the WCD Report *, but
  • many governments recognised that the WCD Report offers much that is useful...

Message #1: Dams are essential for growth and poverty reduction

  • Universal agreement among our borrowers that dams have played and must play a central role in water and energy management, economic growth and poverty reduction
  • Every government consulted expressed concerns that the WCD Report understates the benefits, does not address the counterfactual and does not deal even-handedly with alternatives (where they exist)

Message #2: There is universal acceptance of the importance of the environmental and social issues highlighted by the WCD, and all governments report on marked progress in practice in recent decades

Message #3: There is strong commitment among all of our borrowers to continue to learn and improve practice -- technical, economic, environmental, and social.

Message #4: The engagement of the World Bank has made a big positive difference in bringing in best practice

This is what governments tell us (Brazil,China–.)

Many of the best practice cases in the WCD Report are in World Bank-financed projects

Total number of dams built

1970s 5500

1990s 4000

% in which World Bank involved

1970s 3.5%

1990s 1%

Message #5: Great concern about the apparent exit (prior to the WCD) of the World Bank from the dam business

– If the best social, economic and environmental assessments are undertaken ... governments have a right to build (dams). –.International financial institutions have a duty to support these projects. –.. A purpose of organisations such as the World Bank is to be an honest broker.

Controversy is no excuse to wash their hands of dams.

Wide resonance among our borrowers with the sense of the post WCD editorial in the FT...

Message #6: Broad acceptance of the WCD core values and strategic priorities

Towards shared values,

objectives & goals–

  • equity
  • efficiency
  • participatory decision-making
  • sustainability
  • accountability

Turning Conflict Into Consensus

Seven Strategic priorities:

  • Gain public acceptance
  • Assess options
  • Address existing dams
  • Sustain rivers and livelihoods
  • Recognise entitlements and share benefits
  • Ensure compliance
  • Share rivers across boundaries

Message #7: Universal concern among our borrowing governments with the 26 “guidelines”

I: If the WCD recommendations and guidelines are taken “not (as) a blueprint, but a starting point for good faith discussions” in countries and elsewhere (including financing agencies), then have already proved to be very useful

II: If taken as a check list of requirements to be“complied with” and “conformed to” then are strongly opposed by all the governments we have consulted

Message #9:Great concern among governments that the result will be “more conditionality” by the World Bank and others...

World Bank process is not yet complete, but is very unlikely that there will be new “laws”(and conditionalities) as a result of the WCD Report...

  • Developing countries unanimously reject the idea of “new conditionalities” by the MDBs
  • Concern with “new conditionalities” hampers discussions of the WCD Report

    Once we “get the elephant out of the room” (no new conditionalities), then there are a host of ways in which countries are anxious to engage with the many good ideas in the WCD Report, and to work with the World Bank (and others) in improving practice.

    How the Bank plans to build on the WCD Report :

    1. The Bank will use it as a valuable reference to inform its decision-making process when considering projects that involve dams.

    2. The Bank will continue to support dams that are economically well justified and environmentally and socially sound.

    3. The Bank will, upon request, support strategic planning processes by borrowers to evaluate options and alternatives, and will support borrowers in financing the priority investments emerging from such processes.

    4. The Bank will not adopt the twenty-six WCD guidelines, but will review how the principles of these guidelines may be put into individual use in the context of specific projects.

    5. The Bank will continue to strengthen implementation of its safeguard policies, use of consultation and disclosure of information for all projects including those with dams.

    6. The Bank will undertake measures in the form of a Preliminary Action Plan to strengthen its own work (and its work with others) in the water and energy sectors and to improve the evaluation, implementation and operation of dams when they are the appropriate development option.

    7. The Bank will continue to disseminate and discuss the WCD Report with its borrowers, recognising its broad interest for development issues.

Preliminary Action Plan

Element 1: Work with borrowers in moving upstream

  • consider the findings of the WCD Report and the consultations with borrowers in the forthcoming Water Resources Sector Strategy
  • explore additional mechanisms for expanding support for borrowers in dealing with strategic upstream_ issues in water and energy planning and management
  • upon request, work with other development partners in helping strengthen national legal and institutional capacity for water and energy management
  • continue to support evaluation of structural and non-structural investments, including management, conservation and rehabilitation activities
  • continue to promote policy, institutional and technical measures to encourage conservation of energy and water and increase efficiency
  • continue to promote the use of consultation and disclosure processes as an integral element of energy and water options assessments
  • upon request, assist borrowers in taking into account the recommendations of the WCD Report in the specific situations found in individual countries and river

Element 2: Effectively implement the Bank safeguard policies

  • use strategic environmental and social assessments as a tool for evaluation of options at the national or river basin level
  • integrate use of environmental assessment and evaluation of social issues more effectively in project design processes
  • increase emphasis on evaluation and management of risks and sharing of benefits
  • continue to promote broad-based consultation and disclosure as part of the project design and implementation process
  • provide specialised training for staff and borrowers on environmental and social issues related to dam projects.

Element 3: Continue to support borrowers in improving the performance of existing dams

  • through evaluation of new operational approaches to address changing needs
  • through dam safety, operation and management programs
  • through reservoir sedimentation management
  • through measures for watershed and habitat management
  • through measures to address environmental flows
  • through measures to address social issues
  • through complementary measures for water and energy conservation
  • through actions to improve benefit sharing from dams.

Element 4: Continue to stress institutional reform for more efficient use of water and energy

  • through partnerships like the Global Water Partnership (GWP)
  • through programs like the Utilities Regulators Network
  • through focused actions under ESMAP
  • through water users associations and private sector participation in utility management
  • through projects in the water supply, energy and irrigation sectors.

Element 5: Develop a more proactive and development-oriented approach to international waters

  • examine how the Bank can play a more supportive role in addressing international waters issues as a development opportunity and vehicle for co-operation

Element 6: Continue to support innovative approaches for dealing with complex dam-related and technical issues

  • options assessment
  • ecological flows
  • sedimentation management
  • river basin management
  • groundwater management
  • watershed management.

Working with others...

  • central element in all of this will be a series of specific partnerships with others:
  • with countries who want to collaborate with us
  • with other interested IFIs
  • with bilaterals
  • with NGOs
  • with industry...

    These are our current thoughts on how to proceed–.

    Over the next several months we will be doing more consulting and listening

  • To our owners and borrowers
  • To other stakeholders (with this Stakeholders’ Forum an excellent opportunity)–

The WCD Report will be a major input into the Bank’s new Water Resources Sector Strategy (fall 2001)

In conclusion

  • We appreciate the enormous amount of work done by the commissioners and secretariat of the WCD
  • You have produced a report which has already catalysed an unprecedented and very healthy debate
  • We know that it is now “up to us”, and we look forward to working with partners in the Forum and others in making sure that dams play a more effective role in economic growth and poverty reduction

 

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