IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has signed an agreement with the Forest Training and Research Centre (FTRC), under Nepal’s Ministry of Forest and Environment, to improve adherence to environmental and social (E&S) standards in hydropower development in Nepal.
Under the agreement, IFC will provide advisory services to increase private sector compliance with high E&S standards by improving development and implementation of regulatory frameworks for the hydropower sector, including trainings in all seven provinces. The program will also facilitate investments in the hydropower sector by providing guidance on environmental and social standards and supporting inclusive development of hydropower in Nepal.
As a part of its support, IFC will focus on development and adoption of best practices, including capacity to implement the new Hydropower Environment Impact Assessment Manual (EIA), released last year by the Ministry and supported by IFC.
“To implement the EIA manual, we need to train our staff at all levels. This support will help us build our capacity as an oversight agency for environmental impact and to ensure effective compliance with environmental standards,” said Deepak Kumar Kharal, Director General of FTRC.
Given the vast environmental and social challenges Nepal faces, capturing the impacts and risks associated with hydropower development remains critical to ensuring sustainable development in the country.
“This will enable both the public sector as well as the private sector to have a clear guidance on what is expected to identify risks and manage the impact associated with hydropower projects as well as assess cumulative the impact while managing river basins holistically, particularly where multiple hydropower projects are being planned,” said Mohammad Rehan Rashid, IFC’s Resident Representative in Nepal.
The program, funded by the governments of Australia, Japan and Norway, has a strong social inclusion component focused on building resilience in communities affected by hydropower projects.