The first hearing of the World Commission on Dams (WCD) was cancelled shortly before the meeting was due to take place in India in September. Commission Secretary General Achim Steiner said that the Indian government had asked for the meeting to be cancelled. Steiner added that misinformation had created an atmosphere of political controversy about the purpose of the planned hearings in the Indian state of Gujarat, where the Narmada dam project has produced unrest.
The meeting still took place but the Commission was forced to meet in South Africa instead. Focusing on the work in hand, Chairman Kader Asmal said that the Commission has decided to conduct independent reviews of at least ten of the world’s major river basins that have significant dams sited on them. It was estimated that this analysis would cover about 150 dams.
The next meeting for the Commission is scheduled for December in Sri Lanka. However, Asmal stated that future hearings would also be held in India.