Governments and Institutions That Endorse the WCD Recommendations

Governments and funders that endorse the WCD recommendations:

Although the Commission dissolved after publishing its report in November 2000, the WCD recommendations live on and have become the most important and legitimate global benchmark for dam building. The following are examples of institutions and governments that have endorsed the WCD report:

  • Several governments - including Germany, Nepal, South Africa, Sweden and Vietnam - have organized dialogue processes to integrate WCD recommendations into national policies. The German government in particular has expressed a strong commitment to the WCD recommendations.
  • The member countries of the OECD and the European Union have issued a statement on hydropower that "recognizes the value" of the WCD strategic priorities for their export credits.
  • The Swiss export credit agency, SERV, expects project developers to follow the WCD's strategic priorities.
  • The U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) applies screening and environmental assessment criteria that incorporate the WCD strategic priorities.
  • The Swedish and German bilateral aid agencies have adopted the WCD recommendations and are supporting their partner countries and project developers to implement them.
  • The World Bank and the International Hydropower Association (IHA), while critical of specific WCD guidelines, have endorsed the strategic priorities.
  • Both the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the two largest public banks in Europe, announced in 2005 that they would take into account WCD recommendations when considering funding for large dams, though the statements are not yet mandatory policies.
  • In May 2005, HSBC bank developed water sector guidelines that require dam projects to comply with the WCD recommendations in order to receive funding.
  • Like HSBC, the French bank Dexia will only fund dam projects if they comply with the WCD.
  • The member states of the European Union have decided that carbon credits from large dams can only be sold on the European market if the projects comply with the WCD recommendations.
  • International Carbon Investors & Services, a group of international banks and other bodies involved in carbon trading, approved a standard for voluntary carbon credits that requires WCD compliance for large hydropower projects . 

Other international institutions and laws that have endorsed specific principles within the WCD:

Demonstrating Acceptance and Free, Prior and Informed Consent

Assessing Options for meeting Energy and Water Needs

Addressing the Legacy of Dams

Downstream Environmental Impacts and Environmental Flows

Sharing Benefits from Dams and Legally Enforceable Entitlements

  • Most examples of benefit sharing for hydropower projects are at the regional or national level. China, Colombia, Nepal, Thailand, Argentina, Japan, Canada, Norway, and Vietnam all have, or are developing, some form of benefit sharing as part of national legislation.

Ensuring Compliance

  • Most examples of ensuring compliance to project agreements also occur at the national level.The US and Norway have stringent licensing requirements for dams on paper.