ICOLD continues to claim that dams are a vital tool for the development and the independence of young nations, for their electricity needs but also for their food supply. The dire predictions of Lester Brown about China and India going hungry because of their growing population have been proven wrong; it is mainly because those countries have built a number of dams enabling them to greatly increase their food production through irrigation. The same story goes for Iran, number one wheat importer in the world during the last ten years. This year, for the first time in the last 40 years, they are self-sufficient, thanks to the 216 large dams built in 20 years. The cereal exporting countries, such as USA and France, may not like that, but it is so.
It is true that UNEP has endorsed WCD. But, on the contrary, UNDP has endorsed ICOLD's position. ICOLD believes it is impossible to respect the Millennium Development Goals with complying with WCD guidelines.
ICOLD's position on WCD report and guidelines has not changed. On the contrary, it has been vindicated by the World Bank's Water Resource Sector Strategy, published in 2003. ICOLD's position is well documented here.
ICOLD's position on WCD report has been thus summarized by President Varma :
1) ICOLD is satisfied with the statement of ICOLD environmental position and some WCD's recommendations.
2) WCD's report is unbalanced and contains insufficient commentary on dam benefits such that anti-development groups are now calling for a moratorium on project development.
This view is potentially disastrous for developing countries.