Kathmandu, June 21
International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, has signed an agreement with the Forest Training and Research Centre (FTRC), under Ministry of Forests and Environment, to improve adherence to environmental and social (E&S) standards in hydropower development in Nepal.
Under the pact, IFC will provide advisory services to increase private sector compliance with E&S standards by improving development and implementation of regulatory frameworks for hydropower sector, including trainings in all seven provinces. The programme will also facilitate investments in hydropower sector by providing guidance on E&S standards and supporting inclusive development of hydropower in Nepal.
As a part of its support, IFC will focus on development and adoption of best practices, including capacity to implement the new Hydropower Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Manual, released last year by the ministry and supported by IFC.
“To implement the EIA manual, we need to train our staff at all levels. This support will help us build our capacity as an oversight agency for environmental impact and to ensure effective compliance with environmental standards,” Deepak Kumar Kharal, director general of FTRC, has been quoted as saying in a media release issued here today.
Given the vast environmental and social challenges Nepal faces, capturing the impacts and risks associated with hydropower development remains critical to ensuring sustainable development in the country.
“This will enable both the public sector as well as the private sector to have a clear guidance on what is expected to identify risks and manage the impact associated with hydropower projects as well as assess cumulative the impact while managing river basins holistically, particularly where multiple hydropower projects are being planned,” Mohammad Rehan Rashid, IFC’s resident representative in Nepal, said.
The programme, funded by the governments of Australia, Japan and Norway, has a strong social inclusion component focused on building resilience in communities affected by hydropower projects.
A version of this article appears in print on June 22, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.