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Dams, lives and statistics


Shame on you, International Commission on Irrigation & Drainage. I refer to the report 'Dam report offers no solutions, says ICID President' (NCE 24 May).

How can the ICID, a responsible professional organisation, declare that the World Commission of Dams' findings do not need to be followed because the procedure they suggest to overcome the human suffering caused by some dam developments is thought to be too complicated?

Does the ICID condone the circumstances that some affected people - the innocent victims of dam development - find themselves in? Its members rely on the ICID for advice on good practice. Is it telling them not to attempt to improve on the bad practice cited in the WCD report or to turn their backs on their obligations to serve the public and limit environmental damage?

I know that the ICID line on the WCD follows a formula developed to appease governments. At the post WCD meeting at Great George Street in London on 1 February, the UN representative said that these were matters 'too important to be left to governments alone'.

He was appealing to practitioners, ICID included, to take an active role in following the WCD recommendations because they can, with a little more work, even in the poorest countries, do much to stop the suffering and make sure that everyone benefits from dam projects.

Rod Bridle (F) rodney. bridle@cwcom. net

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