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Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol

Overview

The Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol (HSAP) is a tool for assessing projects across a range of social, environmental, technical and economic criteria.

The assessment protocol provides an international common language on how these criteria can be addressed at all stages of a project's lifecycle: planning, preparation, implementation and operation.

Assessments use objective evidence to create a sustainability profile, which can be used to identify gaps and drive continuous improvement. These assessments are delivered by fully accredited assessors.

You can find more information about the HSAP at www.hydrosustainability.org.

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How the HSAP was created

The assessment protocol was developed through 30 months of cross-sector engagement between 2007 and 2010, and a review of IHA’s previous sustainability tools, the World Commission on Dams Recommendations, the Equator Principles, the World Bank Safe Guard Policies and the IFC Performance Standards.

During this period, a multi-stakeholder forum jointly reviewed, enhanced and built consensus on what a sustainable project should look like. This forum included representatives of environmental NGOs (WWF, The Nature Conservancy), social NGOs (Oxfam, Transparency International), development banks (The World Bank), governments (China, Zambia, Germany, Iceland, Norway), and the hydropower sector. 

A draft of the HSAP was released in 2009, which was trialled in 16 countries across six continents, and subjected to further consultation. A final version was produced in 2010. In parallel, a Governance Council was formed to govern the HSAP going forward, using the same multi-stakeholder approach used to create it. 

In 2018 the HSAP was expanded to cover good and best practice in climate mitigation and resilience and updated again in 2020 with new guidance on indigenous peoples.

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