At the end of August 2015, IHA provided a three-day training course on Hydropower Sustainability to the China Society for Hydropower Engineers in Chengdu, China. The workshop was co-hosted with representatives from The Nature Conservancy who providing an additional perspective on the sustainability challenges faced by hydropower developers. The workshop was well attended, with over 50 participants. These individual represented abroad range on interests, from developers, government institutions and NGO’s.
The workshop had multiple objectives, primarily it aimed to build the participants understanding of the Protocol background, structure, content and how it is applied. From this basis it aimed to help participants understand how Chinese companies could use the Protocol at home and internationally. A secondary objective was that following the workshop participants will inform other organisations in China of the approach of the Protocol and its advantages.
The three-day workshop provided an introduction to the Protocol, built understanding of its content, and prepared participants to organise their own assessment. Day 1 provided a basic understanding of the Protocol, its multi-stakeholder evolution, governance and scoring methodology. Participants got the opportunity to test their learning through a number of practical exercises by taking on the roles of assessor and project stakeholders in fictional projects and assigning scores to Protocol topics. These fictional exercises were compared with real case studies from around the world. Day 2 explored the Protocol content in detail. Giving the participants the opportunity to examine the language used in each topic and to understand what the Protocol considers basic good practice at each project stage. Theoretical learning was backed up with case studies and practice exercises. David Harrison from TNC also introduced some important learning on how the Early Stage tool can be used to manage risk through improved project selection. Day 3 began with a focus session on downstream flow regimes – a topic of particular interest to the participants. The day continued by focusing on the logistics of organising a Protocol assessment, preparing the participants to commission an assessment in the near future. The workshop was rounded off with the Protocol quiz, giving everyone the chance to show off what had been learnt over the intensive three days.
The workshop provided an excellent opportunity to bring together representative from IHA, TNC and CHSE to discuss the role of each organisation in improving hydropower sustainability in china and abroad. No doubt the lessons learnt and relationships built will lead to positive improvement in hydropower sustainability in the coming years.
28 August 2015