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Sustainable Hydropower in the Mekong Region

Sustainable hydropowre develpoment can be done better. Experts agree that three areas needing improvement are addressing environmental and social risks upfront, improving sustainable lending, and strengthening regional cooperation.
“What we want is to unlock private sector solutions for hydropower development,” said Morgan Landy, speaking at the 2015 World Hydropower Congress held in May in Beijing.
“Affordable hydropower is critical as we work toward increasing access to electricity for the 1.3 billion people who live without it,” said IFC Executive Vice President and CEO Jin-Yong Cai.
There is a need to get hydropower companies into the discussions that shape policy and regulations. Together, says Kate Lazarus, Senior Operations Officer at the International Finance Corporation, we can play a role in driving change in this sector.
During his presentation at a two-day mid-January workshop in Naypyidaw, Director U Min Khaing announced an ambitious vision for the country’s power sector – to fulfill [Myanmar’s] electricity demands by 2030.

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IFC offers tailor-made advisory services, technical expertise, and training opportunities to stakeholders in the hydropower industry.


With hundreds of hydropower projects planned throughout the Mekong region, IFC supports environment, water, and energy ministries 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, neighboring financial institutions are increasingly investing in the region’s 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.


IFC has 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. The working group has a chapter in Lao PDR and is planning to establish one in Myanmar.

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