Advancing Sustainable Hydropower Development in Nepal

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Hydropower, a sustainable source of energy with almost zero input cost, can play an important role in Nepal’s economic future. The Government of Nepal increasingly looks to hydropower as a means to reduce poverty and help the country grow economically. It aims to ensure that development is aligned with environmental and social safeguards according to international standards and good industry practice. Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) has always played a critical role in Nepal’s hydropower development process, and the need for information on EIA will only grow as hydropower projects scale up and increase throughout the country. 

To address this need, the Ministry of Forests and Environment (previously the Ministry of Population and Environment) recently prepared and approved a hydropower EIA Manual in line with the National Environmental Impact Assessment Guideline. The manual aims to serve as a useful and practical guide for all stakeholders involved in the hydropower industry. It will support practitioners, regulators and developers to understand the importance of existing gaps, such as: 

  • Meaningful engagement of stakeholders 
  • Definition of areas of influence and study 
  • Identification of baseline studies 
  • Knowledge on identifying and quantifying impacts 
  • Need for precision on impact predictions 
  • Suitable alternatives analysis 

In this context, a one-day workshop supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Paani Program and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), in collaboration with Australian Aid, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), will bring together different national stakeholders in Kathmandu. This workshop aims to enhance stakeholder understanding of the content of the Ministry of Forests and Environment’s (MOFE) hydropower EIA Manual and the support needed for its implementation, including future capacity building opportunities.