World Commission on Dams

Commentary: Yes We Can

Wednesday, June 9, 2010
From June 2010 World Rivers Review When the World Commission on Dams (WCD) issued its groundbreaking report 10 years ago, river-loving people around the world celebrated. We celebrated the findings that corroborated what we had long argued - that while dams may have delivered benefits, these have come with exceedingly high costs, particularly for vulnerable groups and the environment. We honored the millions who lost lands and livelihoods to disastrous dams, and the WCD case studies that bore witness to their struggles. We celebrated the successful conclusion of a grueling but critically

World Rivers Review: Focus on Dam Standards - June 2010

A Higher Standard for Dam Projects Since the World Commission on Dams (WCD) issued its groundbreaking report in 2000, governments, institutions and civil society around the world have taken up the challenge of adapting its recommendations to their local context. This issue on dam standards examines where these efforts have been successful, and where more work needs to be done. As our senior policy analyst, Shannon Lawrence, notes in the commentary, "We know how to do it: the WCD framework provides the road map. What we're lacking are the political will and the long-term vision to make it happe

Dams and Development: A New Framework for Decision-Making

Download the WCD Final ReportThe World Commission on Dams issued this report, which contains a comprehensive review of dam building and a framework for planning water and energy projects while protecting people from the negative impacts of such development.

A Year of Rivers, Water and Rights

How about Earth Day everyday?
How about Earth Day everyday? Normally, my experience with the hoopla surrounding national and international days of commemoration–Black History Month (US), World AIDS Day, International Women's Day, etc.–is tempered by a good dose of caution (except for our own International Day of Action for Rivers of course). Call it an early onset of cynicism perhaps, but I can't help feeling that a lot of these commemorative days and months get short-changed. Schools in the US do a day-long event on famous Black figures in US his

Greenwashing Hydropower: The Problems with Big Dams

World Watch Magazine
Friday, January 15, 2010
From World Watch Magazine, Jan/Feb 2010, Volume 23, No. 1Big dams have a serious record of social and environmental destruction, and there are many alternatives. So why are they still being built? Big dams have frequently imposed high social and environmental costs and long-term economic tradeoffs, such as lost fisheries and tourism potential and flooded agricultural and forest land. According to the independent World Commission on Dams, most projects have failed to compensate affected people for their losses and to adequately mitigate environmental impacts. Local people have rarely had a mea

A Critique of the IHA’s Draft Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol

Tuesday, October 20, 2009
In 2008, the International Hydropower Association (IHA), in collaboration with other partners, established the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Forum (Forum) to create a new evaluation tool for hydropower projects. The 14 Forum members - from government, industry, funding agencies and four NGOs - have been conducting their work primarily in closed meetings, although documents have been disclosed on the IHA website. The draft Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol (Protocol) was disclosed in August 2009 and will be finalized in early 2010. The Forum is soliciting comments on the Pro

International Media Echo Our Criticisms of the CDM

Xiaoxi Dam, Hunan Province, China
Xiaoxi Dam, Hunan Province, China Tina Lea The international media is increasingly echoing our criticism of the Clean Development Mechanism's phony offsets. The Washington Post, the International Herald Tribune, the Huffington Post and Germany's Focus Online were among the many outlets that carried an Associated Press story this week about credits from bad hydro projects in China being bought by German utility RWE, one of the largest polluters in Europe. The credits allow RWE to meet their commitments under the EU's carbon trading scheme while opening new carbon-spewing coal plan

Xiaoxi and Xiaogushan CDM Hydropower Projects: Report from a Field Trip

Thursday, November 27, 2008
EU legislation known as the Linking Directive states that CDM credits from hydropower projects larger than 20MW can only be used in the European Emissions Trading System (ETS) if the projects comply with the recommendations of the World Commission on Dams (WCD). The German government has taken the lead on establishing a process for assessing WCD compliance of CDM hydropower projects. The government requires German companies that intend to buy CDM large hydro credits for use in the ETS to commission a third party to assess WCD compliance. German power utility RWE, one of the biggest CO2

Gaining Public Acceptance: Tipaimukh Dam in India, Concerns of Bangladesh

Saturday, October 1, 2005
The construction of Tipaimukh Dam by India on the international Barak river raises a number of questions in relation to successful implementation of World Commission on Dams (WCD) recommendation on Gaining Public Acceptance (GPA) for large dams. The government of India has never officially informed the lower riparian state of Bangladesh about the construction of the dam although experts fear that the dam would have adverse environmental impact on Bangladesh that share the same river basin. This paper by Zakir Kibria, Executive Director of the NGO BanglaPraxis, investigates the internation

International Rivers' Comments on Draft EU Rules for Assessing WCD Compliance

Large hydro projects (>20 MW) that generate Clean Development Mechanism credits that are used in the European Emissions Trading System (ETS), need to comply with the World Commission on Dams' recommendations, according to the EU's Linking Directive. The European Commission is currently drafting guidelines for EU member states on how to assess WCD compliance. In May 2008, the European Commission shared a draft paper and WCD compliance report with some stakeholders, including International Rivers, and requested comments. Please find below a link to International Rivers' comments on the draft


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