World Commission on Dams

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The World Commission on Dams (World Commission on Dams, WCD) was an independent international commission that the benefits and risks of large dams should study and all related matters.

It was established in 1998 by the World Bank and the IUCN (World Conservation Union) to meet the growing opposition to large dams and had 12 members from a wide variety of institutions. The head was Professor Kader Asmal , General Secretary Achim Steiner , the other members Lakshmi Chand Jain, Judy Henderson, Göran Lindahl, Thayer Scudder, Joji Cariño, Donald Blackmore, Medha Patkar , José Goldemberg, Deborah Moore and Jan Veltrop.

Your mission was:

  • consider the benefits of large dams and identify alternatives for water and energy supply, and
  • To develop internationally accepted criteria as guidelines for the planning, design, evaluation, construction, operation, monitoring and decommissioning of dams.

The commission ended its work on a report issued on November 16, 2000 and disbanded in 2001.

The WCD found out that although dams have made an important contribution to human development and have great benefits, these advantages often also caused considerable costs and disadvantages, especially in social terms and for the environment. Many projects had not brought as much benefit for the water supply and energy generation as they had expected. Therefore, the report not only met with approval from the dam advocates and triggered extensive discussions and subsequent initiatives.

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