Initiatives in the Hydro Sector Post-World Commission on Dams: The Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Forum

TitleInitiatives in the Hydro Sector Post-World Commission on Dams: The Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Forum
Annotated RecordNot Annotated
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsLocher, Hermansen, Johannesson, Xuezhong, Phiri, Harrison, Hartmann, Simon, O'Leary, Lowrance, Fields, Abadie, Abdel-Malek, Scanlon, Shichun, Nyman
Secondary TitleWater Alternatives
Key themesHydropower, Impact Assessment, Safeguards

The World Commission on Dams (WCD) has called for developers, governments, civil society, etc. to use its Strategic Priorities as a starting point for dialogue and initiatives to address issues regarding the development of dams. One very notable follow-up initiative has been led by the hydropower industry. The International Hydropower Association developed Sustainability Guidelines (IHA, 2004) and a Sustainability Assessment Protocol (IHA, 2006), and most recently has been involved in a two-year process with governments, NGOs and the finance sector to develop a broadly endorsed sustainability assessment tool based on review and update of the IHA Sustainability Assessment Protocol. This cross-sectoral process, known as the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Forum (HSAF), has drawn on the knowledge base and many of the findings and recommendations of the World Commission on Dams, as well as a number of other developments in the last ten years. A fundamental premise of the work of the Forum is that an industry-driven and -owned initiative has far-reaching potential to influence performance in the hydropower sector. At the same time, the potential for the use of a broadly endorsed sustainability assessment tool for hydropower by those in other sectors is well recognised and aspired to by the Forum. This paper describes the work of the Forum up to August 2009 and the contents of the Draft Protocol released publicly in August 2009, and considers some of the commonalities and points of departure between this process and the WCD. The Forum's work on the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol is a work in progress, so this paper can describe but not give a full analysis of the work while it is in train.


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