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The 2011 World Hydropower Congress took place in Iguaçu, Brazil, close to the site of the Itaipu dam, a binational project which is home to the world’s second-largest hydropower station by installed capacity.

The 2011 congress covered a broad range of topics, including policies and market initiatives to advance sustainable hydropower worldwide, strategies to mitigate and adapt to climate change, and project investment and financing.

This event brought together delegates from government agencies, industry, research institutes, environmental groups and civil society to help shape the future strategy for the hydropower sector. High-level speakers and experts addressed the key topics of the congress: sustainability, water, energy, climate and investment.

Key initiatives such as the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol and the UNESCO/IHA GHG Measurement Guidelines for Freshwater Reservoirs were also discussed at the congress, bringing this crucial work in sustainability to a wider audience.

Study and networking tours before and after the congress provided delegates with unique insights into Brazil’s advanced hydropower sector. Other highlights included a visit to the world-famous Iguaçu falls by moonlight and a light and sound show at the Itaipu dam.


IHA 2011 World Congress

In 2013, the fourth World Hydropower Congress took place in Sarawak, Malaysia, under the patronage of the Government of Sarawak. It was the first time the event was hosted in the Southeast Asian region. The theme of the congress was “Advancing Sustainable Hydropower”. 

More than 500 participants from 60 countries gathered in Kuching, including ministers, high-level decision makers from the hydropower, water and energy sectors, heads of organisations, experts, representatives of civil society and community leaders.

The varied plenary sessions addressed a broad range of issues, including directions for hydropower development, water and energy policy, the concept of modern hydropower, roles for the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol in decision-making, and incorporating sustainability into business practice.

The 2013 World Hydropower Congress was also an excellent opportunity to raise the profile of Sarawak among the international hydropower community. Networking tours gave the opportunity for delegates to explore Sarawak’s cultural attractions and get a better understanding of the recent hydropower developments in the region.

In May 2015, the International Hydropower Association hosted one of the most important gatherings for hydropower decision-makers and professionals in Beijing, China.

The fifth World Hydropower Congress brought together over 1,000 delegates from more than 60 countries to discuss the future of sustainable hydropower. They comprised representatives from governments, financial institutions, non-governmental organisations, research institutes, and private corporations. 

The congress provided an opportunity for meaningful reflection on the milestone of 1,000 GW of installed hydropower capacity worldwide, which was achieved in 2014. Considering that this figure is set to more than double by 2050, many congress sessions addressed the need for the sustainable development of hydropower through in-depth and interdisciplinary discussion and debate.

Taking place at the new Yanqi Lake complex in north-eastern Beijing, the 2015 congress provided international participants with a unique insight into the unparalleled successes of the Chinese hydropower sector. In his closing remarks, Richard Taylor, the chief executive of IHA, acknowledged China as the leading country in hydropower development, and noted its increasing importance at an international level. 

2015 World Hydropower Congress

In May 2017, the International Hydropower Association hosted one of the most important gatherings for hydropower decision-makers and professionals in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The sixth World Hydropower Congress brought together over 700 delegates from government, business, finance and civil society from over 60 countries to discuss how to help deliver better hydro in an interconnected world.

The Congress met for the first time in Africa with the support of the African Union Commission, the UN Economic Commission for Africa and the World Bank Group.

2017 World Hydropower Congress: highlights from Addis Ababa