Benefit Sharing in Hydropower

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MHI study tour from Kenya

This May, we will present progress on a new best practice guide for benefit sharing in the hydropower sector at the 2019 World Hydropower Congress held in Paris. The report – commissioned by the International Finance Corporation – will provide a step-by-step outline to benefit sharing with local communities for private developers and private financiers.

“It’s all about long-term sustainability for local communities and the hydropower projects,” said Ed Wojczynski (MHI Project Manager on the report). “It’s about treating communities fairly and about reducing project risks.”

In 2012, the World Bank Social Development Department published a guide for local benefit sharing. The report explained how the benefit-sharing model helped renew interest in developing new hydropower projects.  

According to the paper, during the 1990s, the World Bank significantly reduced its investment in new hydropower projects due to concerns over the social and environmental impacts of dams. In response, organizations in the hydropower sector followed opportunities toward social and sustainable development, placing a higher priority on environmental protection and social conditions.

Many studies have been carried out on the positive effects of benefit sharing. MHI’s new report provides a real-world, utility perspective on how to create new, successful opportunities for communities.

“Sharing benefits from a project can enhance the livelihoods and wellbeing of community members,” adds Ed. “We want to leave communities in a better position than they were before.”

Along with reviewing all the existing materials on benefit sharing within the hydropower sector and relying on its expertise, MHI is interviewing over 25 experts in the field. Our staff also visited sites in Laos and Colombia to compile the report.