The World Commission on Dams (WCD) will be hosting its first public hearing in South Asia. The sessions will be held on 21-22 September 1998 in Bhopal, India. The hearings will focus on large dams and the experiences and lessons learnt with water and energy development across the region.

The WCD was established in May 1998 and is chaired by Professor Kader Asmal, Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry in South Africa. Asmal, along with 11 other Commissioners and the Secretary General of WCD will preside over the hearings.

The public hearings will assist in fulfiling the WCD’s mandate, by achieving the following objectives:

•Inviting a broad range of interested parties to participate in WCD’s work.

•Facilitating the public exchange of ideas and views among various constituencies in the region.

•Providing the Commissioners with an opportunity to develop a core base of shared


Among others, WCD expects to focus on the following topics at the public hearing:

•Planning and implementation of large dams and alternatives.

•Economic/financial, environmental and social impacts and issues related to large dams and alternatives.

•Options for sustainable water and energy resource management and development.

•Options for decision making processes including participatory approaches.

•Evaluations of decision making and institutional structures and capacities.

•Assessments of the value and effectiveness of existing criteria and guidelines.

Participants will be making submissions from countries such as Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.