Tajikistan’s Sebzor HPP world’s first project to be certified against independent sustainability standard
Pamir Energy’s Sebzor hydropower project in Tajikistan has been announced today as the world’s first project to be certified against the Hydropower Sustainability Standard. The Hydropower Sustainability Standard is the hydropower sector’s independent sustainability certification scheme which accredits hydropower projects that meet and exceed good practice in a wide range of sustainability topics.
Ashok Khosla, Chair of the Hydropower Sustainability Governance Council and sustainable development expert says:
“I cannot commend Pamir Energy enough for the Sebzor Hydropower project becoming the world’s first project certified against the Hydropower Sustainability Standard.
Their tenacity and dedication to implementing good sustainability practices has paid off. We look forward to seeing their continued leadership in sustainable hydropower development, as they work towards applying the same standards across all their operations.”
Pamir Energy is already taking steps to exceed good practice in all 12 topics to achieve further certification at Gold level.
Amrikhon Raimov, General Director of Pamir Energy said of the certification:
“We are proud to be leading the way in sustainable hydropower development in Tajikistan and beyond. As part of our efforts in continuing to achieve the highest standards of sustainability, we are now already working towards obtaining the Gold certification against the Hydropower Sustainability Standard.
Sebzor is just the beginning of our journey to provide clean, reliable, and affordable energy while protecting the environment and supporting the communities we serve.”
The assessment of Sebzor, a hydropower project in Tajikistan, was made possible in part thanks to the support of the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and its Hydropower ESG (HESG) Assessment Fund. Sebzor was one of the first recipients of this fund, which aims to promote sustainable hydropower development by supporting the assessment of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) risks and opportunities.
Daniel Menebhi, Program Manager at SECO, stated that:
"Sebzor is a good example of why we created the HESG fund. We want to make sustainability assessments accessible to hydropower projects and help them identify their gaps and work towards closing them. This should also help developers get access to finance including through green bonds. SECO supports the Hydropower Sustainability Standard because hydropower has an important role to play in the energy transition and by applying the Standard the sustainability of hydropower investments is improved."
João Costa IHA’s Head of Sustainability commented:
“We are thrilled to be celebrating Sebzor’s accomplishment becoming the world’s first project to be certified against the Hydropower Sustainability Standard. With more than 30 projects currently in the assessment pipeline, we look forward to acknowledging many more in the years to come.”
This world first was celebrated at an event jointly hosted by the International Hydropower Association, ITAIPU Binacional, the Executive Committee for the International Fund for saving the Aral Sea, the Aga Khan Foundation and the Ministry of Energy and Water Resources of the Republic of Tajikistan with Minister H.E. Daler Jum’a Shofaqir attending.
The event focused on exploring the interface between water, energy and the environment and how they can provide benefits to water, agriculture and the environment sectors with an emphasis on collaboration between countries.
Notes to editors
About the Hydropower ESG (HESG)Assessment fund
The Sebzor Hydropower Project has previously used the Hydropower Environmental, Social and Governance (HESG) Tool, which informed gaps to help improve the project’s overall sustainability. This assessment was part financed by the Hydropower ESG (HESG) Assessment fund, an initiative managed by the International Hydropower Association’s Sustainability Team and funded by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).
The CHF 1 million fund is open to over 40 countries and can be used to cover up to 50% (or up to CHF 25’000) of the cost of an HESG assessment, which can inform improvement to the sustainability performance of a hydropower project in what can be a vital stepping stone on the journey to certification.
About the Hydropower Sustainability Standard
The Hydropower Sustainability Standard is here to ensure that hydropower takes its place as a key player in the energy transition, providing clean, renewable energy for generations to come. Find out more at https://www.hydrosustainability.org/standard.
About the International Hydropower Association
The International Hydropower Association is a non-profit membership association. It is the voice for sustainable hydropower and its membership manages and operates around a third (450GW) of global installed hydropower worldwide.
Its Sustainability team are the Secretariat of the Hydropower Sustainability Council, who work to tangibly increase the sustainability of the hydropower sector encouraging the uptake of the independent, internationally recognised Hydropower Sustainability Standard.
About Pamir Energy
Pamir Energy (PE), established by the Government of Tajikistan in collaboration with the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2022. AKFED and IFC are the shareholders of the integrated energy utility company, which operates in Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region (GBAO). PE's inception marked the inception of the first Public Private Partnership (PPP) in Central Asia, with the Government of Tajikistan transferring the operation and management of energy assets in the region to PE in 2002 while retaining ownership. The United Nations Economic Council for Europe has recognised Pamir Energy as one of the top 5 PPP models in 2009 and one of the top 10 PPP models in 2016.
PE’s goal is to bring light and warmth to GBAO by providing clean, reliable, and affordable electricity to every household and creating a sustainable, resilient energy network that will be handed back to the Government of Tajikistan at the end of the 25-year partnership. Pamir Energy has invested over USD 223 million since 2002 to repair electrical infrastructure, expand hydroelectric capacity, and establish a metering system in the region. Following its rehabilitation, roughly 98% of GBAO's 227,000 population have gained access to electricity, and the remaining 2% are expected to be covered by the end of 2023.
Sebzor is a project of the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan, implemented with the financial and technical support of the European Union and the Government of Germany through German bank, KfW, the United States Agency for International Development, the Swiss Secretariat for Economic Affairs, and the World Bank.
More about the IHA’s UN Water Conference event can be found here: https://www.hydropower.org/events/the-water-energy-food-environment-nexus
Certifications awarded under the Hydropower Sustainability Standard reflect the sustainability performance of individual hydropower projects at a specific stage of development and/or operation. The Hydropower Sustainability Standard Certification is a recognition that a specific project has met the rigorous ESG criteria set forth in the Hydropower Sustainability Standard, and it does not constitute an endorsement or representation of the hydropower project's owner company.
Senior Communications Officer
International Hydropower Association