Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol
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.
Hydropower Sustainability Tools
The Hydropower Sustainability Tools were developed by the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Council, a governing council representing industry, government, financial institutions and social and environmental NGOs. The tools are published by IHA as the council’s secretariat.
The tools comprise:
- Guidelines on Good International Industry Practice as well as two assessment tools:
- the Assessment Protocol to measure performance above and below defined good practice
- the ESG Gap Analysis Tool for checking for gaps against good practice and delivering a gap management plan.
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.
Latest associated content
The Reventazón Hydroelectric Project (RHP) is one of the first Latin American hydroelectric projects to use a river offset approach.Type:Blog postDate:29 September 2017
The Reventazón hydropower project in Costa Rica has been classed as an example of international good practice according to the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol.Type:News postDate:28 September 2017
The International Hydropower Association (IHA) is embarking on an ambitious new strategy and work plan to support socially and environmentally responsible hydropower projects.Type:News postDate:22 September 2017
The Blanda project, owned by Landsvirkjun, carried out one of the largest revegetation and erosion control programmes in Iceland's history. This case study demonstrates how the project's efforts to reduce sedimentation and erosion have benefitted local communities and biodiversity.Type:Blog postDate:7 September 2017
This case study is featured in Better Hydro: Compendium of Case Studies 2017, which highlights examples of good practice in hydropower sustainability across all aspects of project development.Type:Blog postDate:17 July 2017