World Commission on Dams

A Blue–Ribbon Report That Made a Difference

Monday, October 22, 2007
Five years ago, on November 16, 2000, Nelson Mandela, the Prince of Orange, the President of the World Bank and other luminaries launched the report of the World Commission on Dams (WCD) at a glitzy ceremony in London. Initiated by the World Bank and the World Conservation Union, the report was the first independent evaluation of the performance of the world’s large dams. The WCD found that large dams provide important water and power supply services, but that their social, environmental and economic costs are often unacceptable. The Commission estimated that large dams have displaced 4

Why the WCD Still Matters

Monday, August 15, 2005
World Rivers Review, October/December 2005 Five years ago, the World Commission on Dams – on which I served as one of 12 commissioners – culminated with the release of our report, Dams and Development. I find it a useful exercise to pause and reflect on one’s work, to understand its impacts, to examine your hopes or disappointments, and to simply sift through memories once the daily frenzy of actually doing the work is past. The WCD's fifth anniversary has been the occasion for me to reflect. The mandate given to the WCD was an enormous challenge: evaluate the “development ef

The Difficulty of the Plains: Taking the WCD forward

Saturday, June 15, 2002
When the difficulty Of the mountains is once behind That's when you'll see The difficulty of the plains will start. -Bertholt Brecht Five years ago, former South African water minister Kader Asmal banged a lectern in a London conference center and declared the World Commission on Dams  “decommissioned.” The winding up of the commission after 30 months of work was a moment of tremendous satisfaction for International Rivers and our colleagues around the world. We had worked for years to push the World Bank and other dam backers to set up such an independent review body

The EU Linking Directive

Saturday, October 13, 2007
In November 2004, the European Union adopted legislation regulating the admission of CDM credits (CERs) into the EU’s greenhouse gas Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). The legislation, known as the Linking Directive, states that CERs from large hydro projects can only be used in the ETS if the projects meet the standards of the World Commission on Dams (WCD). The section of the directive dealing with hydro projects states: "In the case of hydro–electric power production project activities with a generating capacity exceeding 20MW, Member States shall, when approving such project

WCD Process in Nigeria

Sunday, October 12, 2003
Proceedings from a public dialogue on the WCD.

WCD: What this means for Southern Africa

Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Members of the South Africa Coordinating Committee on the WCD created this PowerPoint presentation.

Turning the WCD into Action in South Africa

Wednesday, December 1, 2004
Nearly 100 delegates representing government, the private sector, NGOs, affected communities, utilities and others came together on October 13–14 for the fourth and final forum of the South African Multi–Stakeholder Initiative on the World Commission on Dams in Johannesburg. The objectives of this Initiative were to broadly contextualize the WCD report and to make recommendations on its implementation in South Africa. The multi–stakeholder method promoted a collaborative and consensual response. The group’s final report is expected to be ready for distribution in early 2005. South

WCD Commissioners Letter to James Wolfensohn

Friday, July 12, 2002
18 months after the launch of the WCD's final report the 12 Commissioners wrote to World Bank President James Wolfensohn to express concern that the draft of the Bank's new water strategy advocates increased funding for water megaprojects while largely ignoring the WCD's findings and recommendations. The Commissioners urged Wolfensohn to ensure that the final version of the water strategy "more clearly analyzes and better integrates the World Commission on Dams' priorities, principles and recommendations." Download the letter below.


Thursday, March 7, 2002


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