Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol
The Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol is a tool for assessing projects across a range of social, environmental, technical and economic criteria.
The 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 Protocol at www.hydrosustainability.org.
Download the Protocol (2018 edition).
How the protocol was created
The 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 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.
In 2018, the Protocol was expanded to cover best practice and good practice in climate mitigation and resilience, and a new ESG Tool was launched.
2018 Protocol and new ESG Tool
The Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol was updated in July 2018, following an 18 month consultation process, to examine hydropower’s carbon footprint and resilience to climate change.
A project that scores well under the new criteria will have a low carbon footprint and be resilient to the impacts of climate change.
A new Hydropower Sustainability Environmental, Social and Governance Gap Analysis Tool was launched in July 2018.Modelled on the Protocol’s evaluation framework, the ESG Tool offers a targeted assessment across 12 core sections, including biodiversity, downstream flows, project affected communities, cultural heritage, working conditions, and infrastructure safety, as well as climate change.
Latest associated content
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
The 2015 World Hydropower Congress has drawn to a close. Here we take a look at the highlights of the final two days of the congress.Type:Blog postDate:20 May 2015