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International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD 2023), Annual ICOLD Meeting held in Gothenburg, Sweden

International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD 2023): The International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD) is a non-governmental international organization dedicated to advancing the science, technology, and practices related to the planning, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of large dams. It was founded in 1928 and serves as a global forum for professionals involved in the dam industry. International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD 2023) is also important for UPSC Prelims Exam and UPSC Mains Exam (GS Paper 2- International Relations, Various International Groupings having India as a member or affecting India’s Interests).

ICOLD 2023 in News

NHPC Limited, the foremost organization in India dedicated to hydropower development, participated in the 91st Annual Meeting of the International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD 2023). The 19th International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD 2023) meeting was  held in Gothenburg, Sweden.

NHPC at ICOLD 2023

At 19th International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD 2023), a delegation from NHPC showcased their expertise by presenting a series of papers and posters addressing critical challenges encountered by hydropower developers, earning high praise from fellow participants.

  • The presentations covered a wide range of topics, including dam management and safety, seepage control measures, seismic considerations, and the repair and rehabilitation of dams.
  • NHPC’s proficiency in the field of hydropower development took center stage at a dedicated pavilion during the event.
  • NHPC officials actively engaged in discussions held by the ICOLD Technical Committee on Sedimentation, where they shared valuable insights from their experience in sediment management for cascade projects.
  • Participation in this esteemed event has proven to be immensely advantageous for NHPC, as its senior officers gained invaluable exposure and expertise.

International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD)

The International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD) is a prestigious organization that serves as a global platform for the advancement of dam engineering, construction, and management practices. Established in 1928, ICOLD has played a significant role in promoting the safe and sustainable development of large dams across the world. With its diverse membership and collaborative approach, ICOLD has become a leading authority in the field of dam engineering.

  • ICOLD Membership: ICOLD brings together experts, professionals, and organizations involved in the dam industry from various countries.
    • Its membership comprises dam owners, operators, designers, consultants, researchers, and other stakeholders who contribute their knowledge, experience, and expertise to address the challenges associated with large dams.
  • Mandate: Through international cooperation and knowledge exchange, ICOLD aims to enhance the understanding, innovation, and safety standards in dam construction and management.

ICOLD Objectives

One of the primary objectives of ICOLD is to foster the exchange of knowledge and best practices among its members.

  • The organization achieves this through technical committees, workshops, conferences, and symposiums held at the international, regional, and national levels.
  • These platforms provide opportunities for experts to share their research, case studies, and practical experiences, contributing to the continuous improvement of dam engineering practices.

Key Activities of International Commission on Large Dams

ICOLD engages in various activities to fulfill its objectives, including:

  • Convening technical committees and working groups to study specific topics and develop guidelines and standards.
  • Organizing international congresses, symposiums, and workshops to facilitate knowledge sharing and networking among professionals.
  • Publishing technical bulletins, guidelines, and reports on topics related to dams and hydropower.
  • Promoting research and innovation in dam engineering and related fields.
  • Providing technical assistance and capacity building to member countries, particularly in developing regions.
  • Collaborating with other international organizations, governments, and stakeholders to address global water challenges.

Core Focus Areas of ICOLD

Following are the key focus areas under International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD)-

Dan Safety

Safety is a core focus area for ICOLD. The organization places great emphasis on promoting and improving dam safety worldwide.

  • Through its technical committees on dam safety, risk assessment, and emergency preparedness, ICOLD works towards developing guidelines and best practices that enhance the safety of dams and minimize potential risks.
  • This includes comprehensive assessments of potential hazards, effective risk management strategies, and emergency response plans.
  • By prioritizing safety, ICOLD seeks to protect lives, property, and the environment in areas where large dams are present.

Dam Sustainability

Sustainability is another key aspect of ICOLD’s work. The organization recognizes the importance of balancing the economic, social, and environmental aspects of dam development.

  • ICOLD promotes sustainable practices that take into account the long-term impacts of dams on ecosystems, communities, and water resources.
  • It encourages the adoption of environmentally friendly technologies, the integration of social considerations in dam planning, and the preservation of natural habitats and biodiversity.
  • By embracing sustainable approaches, ICOLD aims to ensure that large dams contribute to the overall well-being and development of societies.

International Commission on Large Dams Significance

ICOLD’s influence extends beyond technical aspects of dam engineering. The organization actively engages with governmental and non-governmental bodies, international institutions, and other stakeholders involved in water resources management.

  • It collaborates with organizations such as the United Nations, World Bank, and UNESCO to address global water challenges, climate change issues, and the sustainable development of water resources.
  • ICOLD serves as an advocate for the responsible and effective utilization of dams in providing water supply, irrigation, hydropower, flood control, and other essential services.
  • In addition to its technical and advocacy work, ICOLD places great importance on capacity building and professional development.
  • The organization supports education and training initiatives in dam engineering and management, offering scholarships, sponsorships, and specialized courses.
  • By investing in the skills and expertise of individuals involved in the dam sector, ICOLD contributes to the continuous improvement of the industry’s capabilities and fosters a new generation of dam professionals.


The International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD) plays a vital role in advancing the field of dam engineering and management worldwide. Through its collaborative approach, knowledge sharing, and commitment to safety and sustainability, ICOLD drives innovation, promotes best practices, and contributes to the responsible development of large dams. With its international reach and diverse membership, ICOLD continues to shape the future of dam engineering, ensuring the effective and sustainable use of water resources for the benefit of societies around the globe.

Dam Safety Bill for Sustainable Water Management

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