World Bank seeks study of benefits of its hydropower program

The World Bank invites expressions of interest from consultants to perform a study aimed at enhancing development benefits of World Bank-financed hydroelectric projects. Responses are due April 26.

The bank plans to develop an operational framework for enhancing development benefits of hydro projects with a focus on benefits to local communities as well as a broader range of benefits sharing. It seeks a consultant to review past and current practices and to assess development benefit mechanisms.

“After a hiatus of nearly a decade — and much debate as per its legacy and contribution to poverty and development — the World Bank is scaling up its investment in hydropower,” the project terms of reference said. “Lending has doubled and the bank’s portfolio has broadened geographically and by project type.”

The bank said poverty cannot be eradicated without providing developing countries needed infrastructure, of which hydropower is a basic component in several parts of the developing world. It said hydropower also is likely to play a key role in climate change mitigation as a renewable source of energy that can contribute to reduction of greenhouse gases.

“However, it is also widely recognized that for hydropower infrastructure to effectively contribute to poverty and development, the quality of projects must be enhanced and driven by imperatives of sustainable development with a strong focus on broader development goals,” the bank said. “Historically, one of the main criticisms toward hydropower projects — in terms of social development — is that in many cases local and regional communities are often the most adversely impacted by developed projects while benefiting the least from the projects.”

The bank said its Social Development Department (SDV) and Water Anchor (ETWWA) program are partnering in the two-year program to develop a framework for enhancing development benefits from bank-financed hydro projects. Phase 1, the subject of the current solicitation, includes developing an analytical framework and raising awareness. The subsequent Phase 2 includes case studies to refine the framework, and lessons learned.

For Phase 1, the bank seeks a consultant for two months to: review and document state-of-the-art approaches and mechanisms for enhancing benefits of hydro projects; and provide an analytical framework for good practices for enhancing development benefits. Work is to include preparation, delivery, and documentation of a technical workshop, tentatively scheduled for May 13-14.

Terms of reference may be obtained from the World Bank’s eConsultant Internet site at http://econsult.worldbank.org/suite/public/viewPublishedNotifications.do under Selection Number 100016462.

Expressions of interest and qualifications, in English, are to be submitted by April 26 on the Internet at www.worldbank.org/econsult. A short list of firms is to be invited to submit proposals.

For information, contact Navin K. Rai, World Bank, 1818 H St., N.W., Washington, DC 20433 USA; (1) 202-458-1298; E-mail: nrai@worldbank.org.

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