International Hydropower Association
  • Date submitted: 1 Nov 2011
  • Stakeholder type: Major Group
  • Name: International Hydropower Association
  • Submission Document: Download
Keywords: Implementation (10 hits),

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The International Hydropower Association (IHA) was founded in 1995 under the auspices of UNESCO. It is an international not-for-profit organisation, established to further knowledge on all aspects of hydropower. IHA?s mission is to advance sustainable hydropower by championing continuous improvement and sustainable practices, building consensus through strong partnerships with other stakeholders and driving initiatives to increase the contribution of renewable energy.

The International Renewable Energy Alliance (REN Alliance) was formed during the Bonn 2004 International Renewable Conference and has been established to advance policy and information on renewable energy by providing a combined voice for renewable energy technologies and practice. The REN Alliance goal is to advance policies that favour the increased deployment and use of renewable energy by fostering collaboration, removing barriers, promoting successful Implementation strategies, enhancing business conditions and developing markets.

Renewable energy resources will be critical in meeting climate change mitigation and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Furthermore, hydropower has a key role in both mitigating against further climate change and assisting in adapting to the effects of climate change: in mitigating further change, it is the largest renewable energy by capacity and a valuable renewable energy in its own right, and a key enabler, as the only viable energy storage technology, of the integration of other renewable energies. In adapting to climate change, multi-purpose storage projects provide significant water infrastructure benefits, often only paid for through the hydro generation element.

IHA presents the following key messages as input to Rio+20:

1. Expectations for the outcome of Rio+20 and the associated outcomes document

1.1 The role of renewable energies is identified as key to achieving sustainable development and climate change targets

1.2 The role of hydropower in contributing to both adaptation and mitigation is recognised; in mitigating against further climate change, a valuable renewable energy and a key tool in the integration of other renewable energies at required scales.

2. Key actors for Implementation of Rio+20 goals

Current opportunities for non-governmental, non-public-sector finance actors from the renewable energy and water sectors, to influence and provide guidance to policy-making on UN-level is limited, specifically private sector actors expected to contribute significantly to the Rio +20 goals.

Recognition of the key role of the private sector, and the facilitation of its involvement in system design and Implementation, is proposed as fundamental to achieving the Goals. This involves recognition that the private sector cannot be treated as a single homogenous entity ? key actors will be private sector players directly engaged with renewable energy, and, separately, water.

3. What are specific Implementation tools and relevant time frames for Implementation of Rio+20 goals? Implementation tools require frameworks designed to ensure that they are effective. Ensuring engagement of appropriate private sector representatives will facilitate Implementation tools effective in delivering Rio+20 goals.

Specific to the hydropower sector, this technology must be developed in a sustainable manner to ensure that it realises its significant potential in contributing to the Rio+20 goals

The Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol (the Protocol) is an enhanced sustainability assessment tool to measure and guide performance in the hydropower sector. The Protocol assesses the four main stages of hydropower development: Early Stage, Preparation, Implementation and Operation. Assessments rely on objective evidence to create a sustainability profile on some 20 topics depending on the relevant stage, and covering all aspects of sustainability. The Protocol is the result of intensive work from 2008 to 2010 by the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Forum, a multi-stakeholder body involving representatives from social and environmental NGOs (Oxfam, The Nature Conservancy, Transparency International, WWF); governments (China, Germany, Iceland, Norway, Zambia); commercial and development banks (Equator Principles Financial Institutions Group, The World Bank); and the hydropower sector. More information can be found at:

4. Suggested objectives of the conference

Developing countries require significant increases in current energy capacity to meet MDG?s. A key objective of the conference is to ensure that this increase in capacity is delivered in a manner that contributes to both climate change goals and MDG?s. It is proposed that this will require recognition of the following objectives:

- A recognition of the fundamental role of renewable energies in achieving the goals;

- Facilitation of appropriate systems to ensure that renewable energies are able to meet these goals without perverse outcomes ( a systems approach to the integration of renewables energies into existing grids);

- Financing systems that allow for both large scale centralised integration of renewable energies, and that recognise the role that small scale renewable energies systems can play in addressing the MDGs in least development countries/ remote areas.

Adaptation will require significant investment in water infrastructure, investments that can be financed through appropriate hydropower development. A further objective should be facilitation of financial mechanisms to aid this investment, specifically incentivising traditionally non-financial elements of water infrastructure development, such as irrigation and flood control.

5. Suggestions for the two conference themes

a) Green Economy

The Green Economy requires appropriate energy generation systems to support its Implementation. The integration of renewable energies, as fundamental to the Green Economy, must be ensured. This integration must also be technology neutral, and focussed on systems that guide Implementation without resulting in perverse outcomes.

b) Institutional Framework for sustainable development

Appropriate energy systems (and especially the required increases in capacity in developing regions) are fundamental to achieving the Rio+20 goals. Institutional frameworks to realise these systems demand increased collaboration between existing environmental, social, energy, economic, and climate change agencies. This entails recognition of the fundamental nexus between water, energy and food.

Furthermore, there needs to be stronger collaboration between different government bodies within countries, and also between national governments at the regional/international level, including collaboration between agriculture, energy, environment, development, finance, and water ministries and agencies. There also needs to be more opportunity for regional power pools and river basin organisations to play an increased role in future institutional frameworks.

Official pathways for public-private partnerships should be initiated and promoted by governments.
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