Project Affected Communities and Livelihoods

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Project affected communities are the interacting population who are affected either positively or negatively by a nearby hydropower project and its associated infrastructure.

At each stage of the project, steps should be taken to identify issues relating to project affected communities and to develop and implement management and stakeholder engagement plans and processes.

Good practice seeks an outcome in which livelihoods and living standards are improved relative to pre-project conditions, and commitments to project affected communities are fully delivered over an appropriate period of time.

Understanding good practice

International industry good practice in project affected communities and livelihoods for hydropower projects is defined in the Hydropower Sustainability Guidelines on Good International Industry Practice (HGIIP).

The guidelines were published by the International Hydropower Association and are governed by the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Council, a multi-stakeholder group of representatives of civil society, industry, governments and financial institutions.

Assessing project performance

Two assessment tools are available to measure hydropower project performance:

The Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol (HSAP)  is used by independent accredited assessors to consider whether a project has achieved good and best practice at different stages of its life cycle. Project Affected Communities and Livelihoods is addressed in P-13 for the preparation stage, I-9 for the implementation stage and O-9 for the operation stage.

The Hydropower Sustainability ESG Gap Analysis Tool is used by independent accredited assessors to help project teams address any gaps against good practice in environmental, social and governance topics across 12 assessment sections. Project Affected Communities and Livelihoods is addressed in Section 4.

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