Kathmandu, September 25
The Ministry of Forests and Environment, with technical support from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), has launched the Hydropower Environmental Impact Assessment Manual, today. The manual will help streamline existing regulatory and review processes, and guide developers on how to minimise negative impacts on the ecosystem while maximising development benefits.
“Nepal’s efforts to develop more hydropower projects to meet the growing energy needs of the country must go hand-in-hand with doing more to avoid, mitigate, and better manage environmental and social risks,” said Minister for Forests and Environment Shakti Bahadur Basnet. “This manual provides the guidance that hydropower proponents and developers need to better identify and manage environmental and social risks and impacts.”
Energy continues to take precedence as an important sector for the government with an ambitious target to harness 10,000 megawatts by 2030. Hydropower is the dominant source of power in the country. Sustainable hydropower development is the key to the long-term success of Nepal.
Following an extensive gap analysis, stakeholder engagement and review of international best practices, the manual emphasises the importance of identifying and engaging a range of stakeholders, conducting baseline studies, and enabling better prediction of project impacts, among others.
“The IFC is pleased to have been part of this technical collaboration with the Ministry of Forests and Environment. We will work together to develop hydropower projects sustainably and provide capacity to the government and the private sector to use the manual,” said Wendy Werner, the IFC country manager for Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan.
IFC’s support to the Ministry of Forests and Environment is part of a larger effort in Nepal to improve the environmental and social standards of the hydropower sector. The programme is supported by the governments of Australia and Japan and was carried out in collaboration with the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD).
A version of this article appears in print on September 26, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.