ICOLD Bulletin 159, Supplement to the Position Paper on Dams and the Environment, summarizes the role of dams in the future in the context of the global environmental changes which have become a significant issue in recent years. Global problems such as climate change have impacts on dam safety. Dams can therefore be both affected by global problems and help provide solutions to these isses. And although the issue of dam safety in relation to global climate changes is very important, this topic will be addressed by ICOLD in other publications.
Since the original publication, in 1997, of the Position Paper on Dams and the Environment was published, it is gratifying to note that worldwide progress has been made in the areas of water resource development and environmental challenges. These developments at the organizational level and the cited publications are only a few examples of global advances in environmentally sound development in general, and of water resources and dam developments in particular. However, they demonstrate that by agreeing on a set of common goals and working within a sustainable framework, individual dam projects can play a significant role in improving the everyday lives of millions of people.