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May 2015

The International Hydropower Association has announced the Blue Planet Prize will be awarded in 2017.

The prize recognises projects for their contribution to sustainability in hydropower. Roy Adair, IHA vice president and chair of its sustainability committee, made the announcement during the closing ceremony of the 2015 World Hydropower Congress in Beijing.

Recognising the challenges facing projects developed within different contexts, the award will be made to a project that has either demonstrated excellence in sustainability, or has significantly improved the manner in which projects are developed in the country or region. Only projects from Least Developed Countries will be eligible for consideration under the second alternative.

The prize will be assessed on its performance in respect of the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol – a tool that measure the sustainability of hydropower projects across a range of environmental, social, economic and technical considerations. Find out more here. Full details of the criteria and processes for the Blue Planet Prize will be announced in June 2015.

RMT commitmentsThe International Hydropower Association has outlined ten commitments at the closing of the World Hydropower Congress in Beijing.

On Thurdsay 21 May, Richard Taylor, chief executive of IHA, addressed an audience of international delegates from over 60 countries during the closing ceremony of the 2015 World Hydropower Congress in Beijing.

During his closing remarks, he outlined the ten commitments which IHA has pledged to deliver in the next two years: 

  1. Share the knowledge that has been pooled through the Congress and the related work programmes
  2. Continue to strengthen the interaction between all partners of the Congress and advance hydropower where it is most needed, in particular in Africa.
  3. Implement the tools that are available to measure and report on the performance of the sector
  4. Promote planning of future projects that fit strategically within the water and energy systems to which they contribute
  5. Make information available to enable hydropower decision-making to be more transparent and predictable
  6. Encourage project design that integrates the multiple water and energy services that hydropower can bring
  7. Call on the hydropower community to utilise the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol
  8. Work with the public and private sectors to motivate investment through the equitable sharing of responsibilities, risks and benefits
  9. Demand that hydropower development becomes a win-win for our society, environment and economy
  10. Share widely IHA’s vision for a world where water and energy services are delivered to all in a sustainable way

These pledges will comprise the association’s priorities during the next two years, as IHA looks forward to the next World Hydropower Congress in 2017.

These commitments represent a firmly collaborative stance, which will involve key stakeholders across governments, financial institutions, research institutes, and private sector corporations.


The 2015 World Hydropower Congress has opened in Beijing, China, with 1,000 representatives of government, civil society, finance, academia and industry gathering to discuss the future direction of the sector.

Ken Adams opening ceremony speechIn an opening speech to delegates, Ken Adams said: “If we are to meet the challenges of a changing climate and global freshwater management, the contribution of hydropower and the multiple benefits it provides cannot be ignored.”

The first part of the opening ceremony focused on recent and planned hydropower development in China, with a number of VIP speakers from the country’s thriving sector addressing participants.

Liu Qi, director of the National Energy Association of China, commented on the challenges faced by the hydropower sector in the 21st century. He spoke of the need for the industry to meet the growing demands for affordable and renewable sources of energy, saying that “hydropower is inseparable from human life and social development”.

Wang Shucheng, president of the Chinese National Committee on Large Dams, spoke of the challenges in meeting growing demand for energy while addressing environmental impacts. He said: “The international hydropower community needs to join hands and work out effective solutions.”

Wang Lin, president of China Three Gorges Corporation, spoke on both the successes and challenges faced by the China Three Gorges project. He discussed issues surrounding resettlement, suggesting that future development could learn from the model of compensation and assistance which the project pioneered.

He said that “hydropower sustainability is associated with the wellbeing of the whole of society”.

The second part of the opening ceremony brought together high-level representatives from some of the sector’s most active countries for a panel discussion on international collaboration.

Jin-Yong Cai, CEO of the International Finance Corporation, said: “Middle income and large emerging economies are influencing the development of hydropower worldwide through demonstration effects – by showing how these projects can be managed well to the benefit of their populations."

Mike Muller, commissioner of the National Planning Commission in South Africa, spoke about the challenges for developers in the southern Africa region, particularly in the Zambezi river basin. 

He noted how development has been stalled by the diversion of funds away from hydropower, saying that “banning hydropower from global public funds to mitigate climate change is disgraceful”.

Arun Kumar Verma, joint secretary (hydro) of the ministry of power in India, Wencai Zhang, vice president of the Asian Development Bank, and Gil Maranhão Neto, vice president of the International Hydropower Association, also provided regional insights.

You can find out more about the 2015 World Hydropower Congress here

Luiz Gabriel Azevedo, Jean-Étienne Klimpt and Dr Helen Locher have been announced at the winners of the 2015 Mosonyi Award for Excellence in Hydropower. 

Mosonyi Award 2015 winnersThe award recognises outstanding contributions to the hydropower sector. 

Mr Azevedo and Dr Locher were presented with the award by IHA president Ken Adams at the opening banquet of the 2015 World Hydropower Congress in Beijing, China. Mr Klimpt was unable to attend the event.

Mr Azevedo has been involved with infrastructure development and environmental management projects in some 30 countries. 

On presenting the award, Mr Adams paid tribute to Mr Azevedo’s “consistent commitment to sustainable hydropower” through the many diverse organisations he has worked for, including WWF, the World Bank and Odebrecht (where he is now working).

Helen has 25 years’ experience working on environmental, social and sustainability issues in many contexts. She is currently principal consultant for sustainability at Hydro Tasmania. Mr Adams spoke of her “instrumental role in the creation of the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol”. You can find out more about the protocol, which is a tool for measuring the sustainability of hydropower projects, here.

In the absence of Mr Klimpt – a former employee of Hydro-Québec – Mr Adams said that he had a “key role in the development of IHA in special subjects related to sustainability and the development of sustainability guidelines.

The award is named after Emil Mosonyi, the founding president of the International Hydropower Association. Prof Mosonyi, who passed away in 2009 aged 98, made major contributions to hydropower during his long career.