A Joint Statement The False Promises of Hydropower: How dams fail to deliver the Paris Climate Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals by Civil Society Organizations on occasion of the 2019 World Hydropower Congress in Paris, France.

The organizations called on the members of the International Hydropower Association, governments and international financial institutions to implement the following urgent actions:

  • Steer priorities, investments and financial incentives away from additional hydroelectric projects and towards energy efficiency and truly sustainable renewable energy options (solar, wind and biomass and, when appropriate, micro-hydro). Special attention should be given to opportunities for technological innovation, decentralized generation and improving energy access among isolated, off-grid communities.
  • Eliminate financial incentives for new hydroelectric projects within climate change mechanisms, such as the Green Climate Fund and Nationally Determined Contributions, and within programs to promote implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (with the possible exception of micro-hydro projects).
  • Commission independent audits of controversial existing dam projects and basin-wide cascades in terms of their social and environmental consequences, identifying steps to mitigate impacts and ensure just reparations for affected communities, based on direct consultations. When such measures are prohibitively expensive or otherwise inviable, the de-commissioning of dam projects should be undertaken.
  • Ensure the alignment of operational procedures for existing hydroprojects with relevant territorial plans at the basin level, such as integrated water resource management and protected areas that ensure key ecological processes and the rights of local communities, based on the concepts and tools of participatory, adaptive management.
  • Ensure that renewable energy policies and projects adopt, across the board, robust guidelines to safeguard human rights and environmental protections, such as ILO Convention 169 and the UN Principles on Business and Human Rights. No energy facilities that potentially impact the territories and livelihoods of indigenous peoples and other traditional communities should be authorized without obtaining the free, prior and informed consent of the community and ensuring the cooperative design of co-management strategies.
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