A multi-stakeholder group

The Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Tools are governed by a multi-stakeholder body, the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Council. 

This governing body includes representatives of social, community and environmental organisations, governments, commercial and development banks and the hydropower sector.

This inclusive approach to governance ensures that all stakeholder voices are heard in the shaping of the use of the Tools. The International Hydropower Association (IHA) acts as management entity to the Council and is responsible for overseeing training and accreditation and co-ordinating governance activities.

All hydropower stakeholders are welcome  

All hydropower stakeholders are welcome to join the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Council. New members join one of the council's seven chambers, allowing them to participate in the dialogue and decision making.

The application will be processed by the Management Entity, housed within IHA, and after a period of four weeks, if no objection is raised to the application, an acceptance letter will be sent to the applicant. This letter will give details of the applicant’s chamber coordinator and will confirm the responsibilities of a chamber member. If objections are raised then the application will be discussed in the next governance committee meeting. For more information, please feel free to contact the Management entity, housed within IHA:


The mission of the Council is to ensure multi-stakeholder input and confidence in the Tools and their application.

The Council welcomes and encourages input from, and engagement with, all stakeholders involved in the development of hydropower. All decision-making in the Chambers and by the Governance Committee is undertaken by consensus.  

Council Charter

The Charter sets out the objectives, membership and modus operandi of the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Council.

The objectives of the Governance Committee as laid down in the Charter are to:

  1. Approve any modifications to the Protocol, and to consider recommendations for changes in the Protocol;

  2. Ensure that assessments constitute appropriate application of the Protocol;

  3. Ensure that an appropriate mechanism to address comments or complaints is in place regarding any issue relating to the Protocol or its use;

  4. Consider and approve any translations of the Protocol;

  5. Consider and approve formal training material for use with the Protocol;

  6. Decide on any revisions to the Terms and Conditions for use of the Protocol (T&C);

  7. Decide on the principles and approve the processes for accreditation of assessors (including any sanction or removal of accreditation licences);

  8. Ensure that the Council Chambers follow this Charter; and

  9. Review and comment on budgets and any work plans with respect to overall strategic direction.


The Council consists of a series of Chambers, each representing a different segment of hydropower stakeholders. These are:

Multi stakeholder governance of the Hydropower Sustainability Tools

Multi stakeholder governance of the Hydropower Sustainability Tools

  • Hydropower consultants, contractors or equipment suppliers.

  • Hydropower operators or developers.

  • Environment or conservation organisations.

  • Social impacts, project affected communities, and indigenous peoples'organisations.

  • Development, public or commercial banks, financial organisations, and private investors/ investment funds.

  • Emerging and developing economy country governments (as classified according to the most recent publicly-available International Monetary Fund World Economic Outlook).

  • Advanced economy country governments (as classified according to the most recent publicly-available International Monetary Fund World Economic Outlook).

The chamber chairs come together regularly to form the decision-making Governance Committee.

Reasons chambers are important

Chambers allow for multi-stakeholder input and confidence in the Protocol content and its application. The Chambers, through their open structure, ensure that the Protocol governance takes place through democratic decision-making processes. 

The Chambers ensure that there is broad representation across different segments of stakeholders providing input into the ongoing development of the Protocol. The Chambers allow a diverse range of actors from the same stakeholder group to formulate positions for their Chamber representative on the Governance Committee. Chambers allow permeation of best practise ideas and projects across all topics in the Protocol.

Reasons to get involved

Hydropower has a key role to play in development, and significant potential to contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation. However, it is vital that it is developed in an environmentally and socially sustainable manner.

The Chambers offer a great opportunity to contribute to ensuring that it does so. Linked to this, Chambers choose their own representatives on the Governance Committee. Participation ensures chamber members have their voice heard in electing representatives to speak for their stakeholder group. The Chambers are open to all – members participate in a global democratic process. Chambers represent a fantastic opportunity for members to network with other organisations working in the same area of focus, from all over the world. 

Responsibilities of chamber members

Chamber members act as a source of opinion and develop positions for their Governance Committee representatives, which may involve reading and providing written contributions.

Members are requested to react to and contribute discussion papers and participate in webinars, teleconferences, and in person meetings on an ‘as needed’ basis. Ideally, members sould be able to participate in General Meetings of the Council, which are  held at least every two years in conjunction with the IHA Congress. Depending on the financial development of the Council, some funding to support participation from developing country members may become available. Members act as experts contributing positions and learning to the Council and its working groups. Members participate in democratic processes to elect representatives on the Governance Committee.