World Bank calls for greater use of Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol

The World Bank has reviewed the use of the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol for hydropower development, concluding that developing countries should make greater use of it and that the bank should explore how to strengthen its financial sustainability.

The protocol, developed by the International Hydropower Association (IHA), is a comprehensive tool to determine the sustainability of hydropower projects. It uses evidence-based assessments of between 19-23 topics, depending on the development stage of the project, in areas such as downstream flow regimes, indigenous peoples, biodiversity, infrastructure safety, resettlement, water quality, erosion and sedimentation.

The World Bank issued a report, “The Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol for Use by World Bank Clients: Lessons Learned and Recommendations.” The main purpose of the report is to examine the applicability of the protocol in developing countries based on available cases. It also is to offer direction on how the protocol can be used to improve the performance of hydro projects in World Bank client countries.

“To have a significant impact on the global sector, the protocol must increase its uptake by developing countries, ensure diverse applicability by developers with varying needs, and develop training modules on the broader principles of sustainable hydropower,” the report said. “To ensure the continued success of the protocol, the World Bank should explore how the tool’s financial sustainability can be strengthened in order to maintain high quality and continued updating to keep pace with the changing global landscape.”

The lessons and recommendations in the report are based on a desk review of previous protocol assessments, consultation with World Bank staff, structured interviews with accredited assessors and developers from previous assessments, as well as direct observations during the pilot assessment of the 260-MW Trung Son hydropower project in Vietnam.

The report may be obtained from the World Bank’s Internet site under More information about the protocol may be obtained from the IHA’s sustainability website,


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