Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol
The Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol is a tool for assessing projects across a range of social, environmental, technical and economic topics. It provides an international common language on how these considerations can be addressed at all stages of a project's lifestyle: planning, preparation, implementation and operation.
You can find more information about the protocol at www.hydrosustainability.org.
Protocol assessments use objective evidence to create a sustainability profile, which can be used to identify gaps and drive continuous improvement.
Protocol assessments are delivered by fully accredited assessors who have previous experience of the hydropower sector or relevant sustainability issues, and participate in at least two assessments as trainees prior to attending an accreditation course.
How the protocol was created
The protocol was developed through 30 months (2007–10) of cross-sector engagement, 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 Protocol 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 Protocol going forward, using the same multi-stakeholder approach used to create it.
IHA Sustainability Partnerships
As the protocol’s managing body, we have initiated a ‘Sustainability Partnerships’ scheme to promote its uptake and development worldwide. Through these partnerships, we work with our member companies to build capacity and understanding on how the protocol can be used in a range of contexts, through an iterative training process.
The first Sustainability Partnerships were established alongside the launch of the protocol in 2011, and the take-up by members has been extensive. In total, 23 Sustainability Partnerships have been established since the initiative began, 19 of which are with IHA members.
The partnerships cover a wide geography (Austria, Brazil, China, Columbia, Croatia, Ghana, Iceland, India, Malaysia, Nepal, Sweden, Vietnam), projects of many sizes (projects capable of supplying 0.1–6% of the UK’s annual energy demand), and a range of project stages, from early conceptual stages to projects which have been operating for many years.
As a result of our continued engagement, we are working with existing partners to reassess projects to monitor improvements, and some partners are choosing to undertake training on new projects. In 2015 we are applying the protocol for the first time in Africa, through a Sustainability Partnership funded by Swiss government agency SECO.
We are also now working with the first sustainability partner in India (Jindal Power) to apply the protocol on a new hydropower project that will be the country’s largest, and also with the first Chinese sustainability partner (China Three Gorges Corporation) to assess a project in Laos.
You can see a map of IHA Sustainability Partners here.
Latest associated content
For the first time, we are taking the pulse of the hydropower sector at large in a new annual survey. You are invited to take part.Type:Blog postDate:30 November 2015
The 2015 Hydropower Status Report is now available for download, providing comprehensive insights into new global developments in the sector, statistics on new installed capacity, detailed regional analysis, and more.Type:News postDate:1 September 2015
We are pleased to announce the results of the election of the IHA Board to serve for the period to October 2017.Type:News postDate:31 July 2015
The 2015 World Hydropower Congress took place on 19–21 May in Beijing, China, bringing together over 1,000 representatives of government, the finance sector, civil society, academia and industry to discuss a sustainable pathwayType:Blog postDate:12 June 2015
The International Hydropower Association has announced the Blue Planet Prize will be awarded in 2017. The prize will be assessed on its performance in respect of the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol – a tool that measure the sustainability of hydropower projects across a range of environmental, social, economic and technical considerations.Type:News postDate:21 May 2015