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August 2014

The World Bank has published a review of the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol providing recommendations on its usage.

The review, entitled The Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol for use by World Bank clients: lessons learned and recommendations, which you can read in full here, describes the protocol as “a useful tool for guiding the development of sustainable hydropower in developing countries”.

The protocol is a tool for measuring the environmental, social, technical, financial, and economic aspects of a hydropower project’s performance. It was developed by a multi-stakeholder forum featuring representatives from industry, civil society, donors, developing country governments and the finance sector over a three-year period.

Among its findings, the review concludes that:

  • Developers that have applied the protocol have experienced that protocol assessments deliver value for money
  • The protocol complements the World Bank’s policies and procedures for social and environmental performance, but does not replace them
  • The protocol has a range of other potential uses, including a transparent framework for stakeholder dialogue and conflict resolution

The review also features a set of recommendations for World Bank clients, including that:

  • A full commitment from the developer is crucial to the success of assessments, given the reliance on evidence provided
  • Basic good practice defined by the protocol may not reflect standard practice in a client’s country, so managing expectations is key to successful implementation
  • Achieving basic good practice across all topics is difficult in the short term, and so the focus should be on the process of continuous improvement and not a measure for comparison between countries and projects

You can read the full report here, and you can find out more about the protocol at www.hydrosustainability.org.