The International Hydropower Association (IHA) has issued guidelines for hydropower planners to design and implement projects that carefully coexist with and support protected conservation areas.
The good practice guide was developed following consultations with a multi-stakeholder protected areas working group, which included the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), UNESCO World Heritage Center, but also hydroelectric developers and operators such as EDF.
The publication of the guide comes after the IHA, representing around 100 public and private developers, operators and manufacturers, announced earlier this month new guarantees for hydropower development in protected areas, including a pledge of no -right on World Heritage sites.
As part of the IHA’s new due diligence commitment for protected areas, association members must implement high standards of performance and transparency when affecting protected areas, as well as candidate protected areas and corridors between protected areas.
This should be demonstrated by a systematic application of hydropower sustainability tools or by certification against the new hydropower sustainability standard.
The new guide will help IHA members, non-members and broader stakeholders understand and meet the due diligence commitment. This covers the best way to avoid, minimize, mitigate or compensate for potential impacts around protected areas during the life cycle of a project, from design to development and operation.
Joerg Hartmann, author of the guide, said: “In our work as environmental and social consultants, we often see unnecessary conflicts between hydropower and protected areas – conflicts that could easily be avoided with greater awareness. in the choice of site and design of the project, and even turned into positive relationships.
“For example, protected areas can protect watersheds on which hydropower depends.
“I hope this guide will help protected area developers and managers find common ground. “