World Bank reports how countries can use Hydropower Sustainability Tools

Commissioning an assessment using the Hydropower Sustainability Tools is likely the "most powerful existing tool" for improving a hydropower project’s sustainability performance, says a new World Bank report.

Recognising the sector’s importance to global decarbonisation, the report entitled Using the Hydropower Sustainability Tools in World Bank Group Client Countries encourages developers and operators to adopt the tools, undertake training and commission independent assessments.

Governed by a multi-stakeholder council, the set of good practice guidelines and assessment tools were recently updated to align with World Bank and IFC performance standards.

The Hydropower Sustainability Tools comprise Guidelines on good international industry practice, an Assessment Protocol to measure performance against good and best practice, and an ESG Gap Analysis Tool for assessing gaps against good practice.

The Hydropower Sustainability Tools can be used “beyond project audit” says the report, they can also be used for “capacity building, screening early-stage investments or modelling regulatory reform”. In addition, developers and operators can use the tools to showcase project performance or to obtain climate financing and framing discussions for licencing agencies.

The World Bank report highlights as especially valuable the use of the tools in low- and middle-income countries, which may have less strong regulatory environments, to support the growth of hydropower sustainability globally.

The Hydropower Sustainability Tools' alignment with the World Bank’s Environmental and Social Framework mean they serve as a framework to help the banks' hydropower sector clients meet lending requirements, while supporting bank staff in their due diligence and supervision.

“The tools can be used to develop the capacity of hydropower companies and other stakeholders in managing environmental and social issues during hydropower development and operation,” says Kimberly Lyon, the author of the report.

The World Bank has been involved in the tools' development since their creation, observing the forum that drafted the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol between 2007 and 2010, and taking a place on the tools’ governance council.

Find out how you can use the Hydropower Sustainability Tools to benchmark the sustainability performance of your project.

Read the report.

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