New partnership to boost sustainable hydropower in Commonwealth countries

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Commonwealth Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland QC and President of International Hydropower Association (IHA), Roger Gill

LONDON, England – The Commonwealth Secretariat and International Hydropower Association (IHA) are teaming up to advance sustainable hydropower in member countries, in line with the Commonwealth Sustainable Energy Transition Agenda.

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by the Commonwealth Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland QC, and the chief executive officer of IHA, Eddie Rich, outlines several key areas of cooperation to help Commonwealth countries reach their sustainability goals.

These include promoting policies that support investments in sustainable hydropower; encouraging the use of the Hydropower Sustainability Standard to certify environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance; and enhancing access to green finance for new projects.

The MOU also enables both parties to share information about training opportunities and new technologies, while exploring innovative joint projects with a range of stakeholders through the Commonwealth Innovation Hub.

Untapped potential

Secretary-General Scotland said: “There is a great deal of untapped potential in renewable sources of energy within the Commonwealth, including hydropower. Harnessing renewable energy is central to our efforts to achieve the targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Paris Agreement on climate change.

“This partnership offers our organisations the opportunity to leverage our combined networks and extensive expertise to enhance the role of hydropower in achieving decarbonisation goals, enhancing energy security, and boosting sustainable development in the Commonwealth.”

The president of IHA, Roger Gill, said: “The Commonwealth represents such a broad spectrum of countries that we believe we can help in terms of understanding how hydropower can be implemented on a very wide level. IHA represents one third of the stored capacity of hydropower in the entire globe.

“Our members operate in some 120 countries, with experience that stems back to the beginning of establishing hydropower. We think we can bring to the Commonwealth the ability to get it right, learning from the broad and deep experience of our members that span across all the world.”

Clean energy transition

Also attending the signing ceremony was IHA Board member, Malcolm Turnbull, the former prime minister of Australia, who welcomed the unique role of the Commonwealth family in rallying 54 diverse nations around the clean energy transition, and the leadership of Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland on these issues.

The new partnership will build on the work of the Commonwealth Sustainable Energy Transition Agenda, which supports cooperation amongst member countries to accelerate an inclusive, just and equitable energy transition, and the Commonwealth Climate Change Programme.

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