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Hydropower plays a vital role in reducing the world's dependence on fossil fuels. As a renewable energy, it is essential that hydropower is developed sustainably.

The International Hydropower Association (IHA) has played a leading role in the development of the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol, which is today governed by a multi-stakeholder council.

IHA continues to act as the Protocol's management body, overseeing training and accreditation, and supporting its governance committee.


Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol

The Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol offers a framework for assessing hydropower projects against a comprehensive range of social, environmental, technical and economic criteria.

The Protocol was shaped by representatives from governments, commercial and development banks, social and environmental NGOs, and the hydropower sector.

The Protocol was updated in July 2018 to cover climate mitigation and resilience.

Find out more about the Protocol.


ESG Gap Analysis Tool

The Hydropower Sustainability Environmental, Social and Governance Gap Analysis Tool enables hydropower project proponents and investors to identify and address gaps against international good practice.

Launched in July 2018, the ESG Tool is based on the framework of the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol. It assesses projects against the requirements of the Protocol’s environmental, social and governance topics. 


Find out more about the ESG Tool.


Better Hydro

Our Better Hydro initiative showcases proven good practice in sustainable hydropower.

Our Sustainability Team has developed a compendium of case studies demonstrating excellence in sustainable hydropower development, based on assessments carried out under the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol. 

The case studies focus on specific aspects of development, such as indigenous people, cultural heritage, economic viability, and water quality (23 topics are covered in total). Read more.

Activities 2017-2018

To find out more about our sustainability programmes, download IHA's Activity and Strategy Report 2017-2018.

Case study: Costa Rica

The Reventazón Hydroelectric Project in Costa Rica was assessed using the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol in 2017. Learn more.

Watch our short documentary:

Assessing hydropower projects against good practices in sustainability