The World Bank Group and the International Hydropower Association (IHA) are helping Myanmar develop a more sustainable hydropower sector by promoting best practices in technical, environmental, and social standards. A sustainable hydropower sector will help mitigate environmental and social risks while realizing the country’s huge energy potential, contributing to economic growth and shared prosperity.
Supported by the Australian government, the World Bank Group and International Hydropower Association are hosting a two-day hydropower workshop January 19-20 in Myanmar’s capital Nay Pyi Taw to foster knowledge and encourage exchange between about 100 representatives from government, private sector, and civil society. Participants from Myanmar and neighboring countries will discuss hydropower planning, taking regional examples and lessons learned into account on managing river basins with cascades of hydropower, sustainable financing mechanisms, and sustainability approaches.
“Around the world, different approaches are applied to hydropower development to make sure hydropower is developed sustainably and for the benefit of all stakeholders,” said Cameron Ironside, IHA’s Sustainability Director. “What they all have in common is that it is essential to put a good political and technical framework in place to promote regional collaboration and make projects successful.”
Myanmar has enormous hydropower potentials of up to 100,000 megawatt which would be almost 30 times the currently installed capacity of 3,500 megawatt if realized. Currently less than 30 percent of households in Myanmar have access to electricity, and electricity consumption per capita is among the lowest in the world. The World Bank Group is working to turn on the lights in Myanmar by helping the country develop a greener energy mix that is environmentally sustainable and socially sound.
“Electricity is fundamental to reducing poverty and improving living standards for Myanmar people, and hydropower is an important part of Myanmar’s energy future – but it has to be done in an environmentally and socially sustainable way,” said Karin Finkelston, Vice President for Global Partnerships at IFC, the member of the World Bank Group focused on private sector development in emerging markets. “Done well, hydropower offers cleaner, affordable, and reliable electricity access to help drive economic growth, poverty reduction, and sustainable development.”
Workshop discussions will center on the opportunities and challenges of Myanmar’s hydropower development. Participants will talk about the urgent
need for a policy framework that encourages sustainable hydropower development and the adoption of good international environmental and social practices in the industry.
The workshop is an essential part of the World Bank Group’s strategy to engage a range of different stakeholders on key topics relevant to the hydropower sector, which will be taken forward in the World Bank Group’s support of sustainable hydropower development in Myanmar. Highlights of the workshop will be presented in other global and regional forums on water and energy, including the World Hydropower Congress 2015 in Beijing, China.
GNLM/ World Bank Myanmar