Commissioners urge better water strategy

17 September 2002

The twelve prominent individuals who served as commissioners on the World Commission on Dams have written to the World Bank President demanding that he do more to implement their recommendations. Eighteen months after the report was launched with great fanfare, the commissioners urge greater attention to follow-up by the World Bank. The Bank explicitly supported the report and its recommendations but has not done enough to incorporate them within its relevant strategies and guidelines.

The Commissioners, who include South Africa’s education minister, the former CEO of construction company Asea Brown Boveri and Narmada dam activist Medha Patkar, urge the Bank to change its draft Water Resources Sector Strategy (see story p.8) to include “a clear and unambiguous statement of support for the [WCD‘s] seven strategic priorities”. They also imply that the Bank’s draft Water Strategy is biased – the Bank should “ensure that the Strategy accurately depicts the past experience with dams and that the WCD‘s recommendations, especially around the ‘rights and risks approach’, are better integrated into the Bank’s business model for options assessment”. They argue that the “proposed risk assessment focuses primarily on the risks to the Bank from supporting large dams, rather than the economic and financial risks, the environmental risks, or the risks to affected peoples from dams”.

Commissioners’ letter

New video on Narmada dam struggle