Dams are controversial: their positive results include electricity generation, flood control, and irrigation; negative effects include population displacement and ecological impacts. A fair assessment can only be made on a case by case basis, judging individual projects in their individual context, and using holistic and interdisciplinary approaches. Decisions can no longer be taken purely on technical considerations, ethical issues must be incorporated into the decision-making process. The report of the World Commission on Dams was recognised as a significant move in the right direction.

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