Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol stakeholder training workshop takes place in Laos
by IHA, M-POWER, CPWF (2012)
A four-day workshop providing training on the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol followed by stakeholder training preparation took place in Vientiane, Laos from 18-21 February 2012. The workshop was co-hosted by the International Hydropower Association (IHA) and M-POWER, Challenge Program on Water and Food (CPWF) as part of an initiative to encourage better understanding and use of the Protocol among a wide range of hydropower stakeholders.
"This training workshop has been a great opportunity to demonstrate the value and applicability of the Protocol to a wide group of hydropower stakeholders in the region, as well as to get their feedback on both the training and the Protocol. It's important to be working with all stakeholders in efforts to advance hydropower sustainably." said Cameron Ironside, of the IHA.
The Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol, a comprehensive tool to assess the sustainability of hydropower projects globally, was launched on 16th June at the International Hydropower Association (IHA) 2011 World Congress on Advancing Sustainable Hydropower in Iguassu, Brazil. It provides a rigorous, evidence-based assessment of between 19-23 relevant sustainability topics, depending on the development stage of the project.
The Protocol topics cover the three pillars of sustainability: social, economic, and environmental, and include issues such as downstream flow regimes, indigenous peoples, biodiversity, infrastructure safety, resettlement, water quality, and erosion and sedimentation.
The assessment tools are used as a framework to produce a sustainability profile for a hydropower project. In so doing, multiple stakeholders can become better informed on the sustainability profile of a project, and develop strategies to address any weaknesses.
"In the Mekong Region, M-POWER and CPWF have been building awareness of the Protocol as a tool for dialogue about hydropower. This training workshop provided Mekong stakeholders with further in-depth knowledge to assess the Protocol's applicability in assessing hydropower projects. Mekong stakeholders were able to ask critical questions about its use and to discuss and impress upon the Protocol Governance Committee representatives the important role of NGOs, civil society, government, academics and other individuals in encouraging its application." said Pech Sokhem, Co-Chair of M-POWER, and the CPWF Representative to Cambodia.
In Vientiane, participants agreed on the need to translate the Protocol into Mekong languages, continuing to build understanding on the potential uses of the Protocol, trial the Protocol in a number of hydropower sites; and continue to use the Protocol as a dialogue tool to improve energy planning and hydropower.