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The increase in the complexity of decision-making for dams, to meet societal demands for transparency and accountability, requires an improved approach for their economical and safe operation, maintenance and overall management. Risk assessment is one technique, which could assist with this type of complex problem. The principles of risk assessment are logical and sound and should be considered by all countries as part of the decision-making on dams. This bulletins aim is to open discussion within the dams engineering profession in order to come eventually to a generally accepted position on the role of risk assessment in dam safety management, and to put forward an additional tool to assist engineers, owners and regulators in meeting their obligations with regard to dam safety in all its aspects.