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United Nations Environment Programme


Dams and Development Project

Compendium of relevant practices for improved decision-making,
planning and management of dams and their alternatives

The Compendium of relevant practices was a major output of Phase 2. It is intended to inform policy-makers, managers and practitioners about what people are actually doing as regards planning and management of dams and their alternatives, i.e. real-life examples of good (and not so good) practice to inspire them to do things better on the ground. It deals with nine key issues on the planning and management of dams: Stakeholder participation; Identification of options; Social impact assessment; Addressing outstanding social issues; Compensation policy; Benefit sharing; Environmental management plans; Compliance mechanisms; and International policy on shared river basins. The document characterizes these key issues and provides information on how the key elements of these issues are captured in normative frameworks and handled in practice based on selected case studies. It is supported by background Reports on the nine issues detailed below. All documents are accessible here for commenting.

pdf logo Dams and Development: Relevant Practices
for improved decision-making [2MB]

Consultation process

All DDP practical tools had been open to wide consultation. Taking the benefit of modern electronic forms of communication, such as this website,  through emails and during the meetings, the members of the Dams and Development Forum, Steering Committee and Government Advisory Consultative Group had opportunity to provide feedback on the content of the practical tools.

For the Compendium, consultations were held on the methodological approach, the prioritization of the key issues to be covered in its fist edition, the terms of reference for elaborating the selected issues, the outline of the Compendium as well as on its various drafts. It is without doubt that reaching reasonable consensus amongst stakeholders who over a long period had held entrenched positions, divergent interests and conceptual departure points, was a challenge. The comments received up to 31 December 2006 from stakeholders on the draft submitted for consideration of the 5th Dams and Development Forum meeting as well as those issued by the Steering Committee Editorial Group (February 2007) on the revised draft and the actions taken to incorporate them into the Compendium are available here.

Table with Stakeholders' Comments received by 31 December 2006

Table with SC Editorial Group's Comments on the revised draft of 9 March 2007

Reports of the consultants on the priority key issues

In line with the adopted methodology, the DDP Secretariat commissioned the preparation of background studies on each of the nine priority key issues considered by the Compendium to various experts. These studies were prepared as a desktop exercise primarily based on publicly available sources of information. The final reports include the following sections: summary; introduction; methodology; characterization of the key issue; description of the relevant frameworks and associated examples of relevant practice and database of relevant sources of information on regulatory frameworks and the examples. During the process of preparing these reports, the DDP Secretariat guided the consultants in their research in accordance with ToR and taking into account comments and additional inputs given by the Steering Committee's members. The consultants used their own professional discretion based on their judgment of facts with regards to the selection and relevancy of the examples.

The reports can be downloaded and are open to comments, which are also accessible to the public. Comments can be input on the characterisation, the current status of frameworks and implementation and on the case studies.

UNEP encourages the submission of inputs that enrich the documents and helps overcoming the limitations in the availability of information.

Disclaimer: The contents and views expressed in the reports do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Dams and Development Project Steering Committee or the DDP Secretariat. The opinions, figures and estimates set forth in the drafts should not necessarily be considered as reflecting the view or carrying the endorsement of UNEP. The designations employed and the presentation of material in the drafts do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of UNEP concerning the legal status of any country, territory or city or its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers and boundaries.