Beyond the Commission – An Agenda for Change The Commission’s report identifies the key elements of the debate on water and energy resources management and the role of dams in this debate. It summarises the lessons learned from our Global Review of experi ence with large dams. It elaborates the development framework within which the controversies and underlying issues can be understood and addressed and proposes a decision-making process anchored in a rights-and-risks approach and based on negotiated outcomes. It offers a set of strategic priorities, principles, criteria and guidelines to address the issues around existing dams and to use in exploring new water and energy development options. The report is not intended as a blueprint. We recommend that it be used as the starting point for discussions, debates, internal reviews and reassessments of what xxxvii Executive Summary The Report of the World Commission on Dams may be established procedures and for an assessment of how these can evolve to address a changed reality. In looking at the future, the Commission proposes a number of entry points to help organisations identify immediate actions they might take in response to the Commission’s report. Specific proposals are included for: ■ national governments and line minis tries; ■ civil society organisations; ■ the private sector; ■ bilateral aid agencies and multilateral development banks; ■ export credit agencies; ■ inter-governmental organisations; ■ professional associations; and ■ academic and research bodies. Engaging through these entry points will initiate permanent changes to advance the principles, criteria and guidelines we set out. The trust required to enable the different actors to work together must still be consoli dated. Early and resolute action to address issues arising from the past will go a long way towards building that trust in the future. So, too, will an assurance to coun tries still at an early stage of economic development that the dams option will not be foreclosed before they have had a chance to examine their water and energy develop ment choices within the context of their development process. The experience of the Commission demon strates that common ground can be found without compromising individual values or losing a sense of purpose. But it also demon strates that all concerned parties must stay together if the issues surrounding water and energy resources development are to be resolved. It is a process with multiple heirs and no clear arbiter. We must move forward together or we will fail. The Commission was given an exceptional opportunity and it has delivered a result reflecting our collec tive learning process and understanding. If our report does not win widespread support among participants in the dams debate, it is unlikely that there will be another such opportunity for a long time. We believe that our report is a milestone in the evolution of dams as a development option. We have: ■ conducted the first comprehensive global and independent review of the perform ance of essential aspects of dams and their contribution to development. We have done this through an inclusive process that has brought all significant players into the debate; ■ shifted the centre of gravity in the dams debate to one focused on investing in options assessment, evaluating opportu nities to improve performance and address legacies of existing dams, and achieving an equitable sharing of bene fits in sustainable water resources devel opment; and ■ demonstrated that the future for water and energy resources development lies with participatory decision-making, using a rights-and-risks approach that will raise the importance of the social and environmental dimensions of dams to a level once reserved for the economic dimension. We have told our story. What happens next is up to you.