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Sustainable Hydropower in Lao PDR

In the Mekong region, hydropower development is complex. As discussions about its sustainable development heat up, it is essential to involve the private sector
“It is crucial that we understand every project proposal and developer is different,” says Sosouphanh. “When we approach a negotiation, we need to be prepared with solid background information on the developers."
In hydropower development, feasibility studies foretell potential project impact and weigh risks against benefits. While these studies are a requirement for all hydropower developers in Lao PDR, there is limited guidance on what information to includ
Lao officials and province-based lawmakers have been debating revisions of a water resources law in public consultations held around the country, and their biggest concern is how to protect people’s basic water needs and livelihoods.
Thinking about improving your environmental and social performance and managing your risks? Upfront investment in an environmental and social management system (ESMS) is one way to go.



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IFC offers tailor-made advisory services, technical expertise, and training opportunities to stakeholders in Lao PDR’s hydropower industry.


With more than 70 hydropower projects planned throughout the country, IFC supports the Ministry of Resources and Environment and the Ministry of Energy and Mines to improve policies and regulations,  with the aim of developing projects that follow good international industry practices  to protect the environment and local people’s livelihoods.


To meet growing energy demands, financial institutions are increasingly investing in Lao hydropower projects. These institutions can increase overall project and financial performance by putting in place effective environmental and social management systems and mitigating risks upfront, and IFC can help them do that.


An open and transparent dialogue between different stakeholders can help raise environmental and social standards for hydropower projects. That is why IFC seeks to partner with a wide range of stakeholders to ensure all parties are able to better anticipate, evaluate, and manage the cumulative impacts of hydropower development.


Recently, IFC established a platform for hydropower developers to discuss the challenges they are facing and voice concerns to the government. The Hydropower Developers’ Working Group  meets quarterly and is open to all companies interested in improving hydropower standards in Lao PDR.

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