IFC and The Nature Conservancy Call for a New Approach to Achieve Sustainable Hydropower

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Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, May 10, 2017–IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and The Nature Conservancy today jointly called for a new system-scale approach to hydropower development to ensure more sustainability in projects across the world.  Participating at the ongoing World Hydropower Congress here, they said this approach encourages planning beyond a single project’s immediate, site-level impacts.


“Traditional approaches to understanding environmental and social risks of hydropower projects are evolving to achieve sustainability,” said Morgan Landy, Director, Environment, Social and Governance, IFC. “Experience shows that hydropower projects that operate in isolation are falling short in achieving their potential and could face unforeseen risks.”


Globally, 1.4 billion people live without access to electricity. Two-thirds of this population lives in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. If developed sustainably, hydropower could be an important part of the renewable mix to help meet growing energy demands.


“Constructive dialogue among stakeholders is essential for both water and energy security,” said Giulio Boccaletti, Chief Strategy Officer and Global Managing Director, Water, The Nature Conservancy. “System scale planning for hydropower offers an opportunity for such a dialogue and improves the delivery of sustainable development goals, increasing the benefits that countries can derive from their water resources while minimizing impacts to environmental and social values. It also reduces risks associated with projects and increases financial revenues when compared to a project by project business as a usual approach."

As stated by IFC and The Nature Conservancy, system-scale, or “landscape” planning approaches for sustainable hydropower development allow for comprehensive and simultaneous hydropower planning and management that fully integrates other sectors and environmental and social issues from the earliest stages. The approach sustains ecosystem services and offers the potential for broad economic benefits to countries in addition to energy generation, such as water supply, flood-risk management, irrigation, and habitat for migratory fish and biodiversity. Additionally, it provides a platform to better engage projects with stakeholders, including government, project-affected communities, and other projects operating in the same basin.

IFC and The Nature Conservancy have led sustainability efforts in the hydropower sector for decades. From 1990 to date, IFC has financed a total of 82 hydropower projects globally totaling 9.3 gigawatts. The Nature Conservancy has been working hands-on for the past 65 years to protect rivers due to their immense value to riverine communities, economies, and the environment.  The two organizations are working jointly to achieve more sustainable hydropower in the Republic of Congo and Myanmar.

To read the joint statement, click here.

About IFC  
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. Working with 2,000 businesses worldwide, we use our six decades of experience to create opportunity where it’s needed most. In FY16, our long-term investments in developing countries rose to nearly $19 billion, leveraging our capital, expertise and influence to help the private sector end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org and www.ifc.org/hydroadvisory

About The Nature Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at unprecedented scale, and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in more than 65 countries, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit https://www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.


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