This briefing presents findings from data gathered over the last 10 years alongside illustrative case studies from the region. Key findings include:
– 265 human rights and environmental issues recorded relating to 32 hydropower projects in the four countries included in our analysis.
– Impacts on communities (98) were the most frequently reported issue.
– Sixty-seven environmental issues were recorded. Others raised include governance and transparency issues (55), impacts on human rights defenders (HRDs) and civil society (25), and impacts on labour rights (20).
– Of 32 hydropower projects assessed, 17 received funding from international financial institutions (IFIs), including four HPPs which received funds for rehabilitation purposes.
– All of the investee companies have been linked to allegations of human rights and/or environmental abuses.
– None of the investee companies has a publicly available human rights policy.
The data demonstrates local communities are facing major risks amid increasing demand for hydropower. A considerable number of cases with impacts on livelihoods of communities are followed by another problem – the issue of access to water. There is an urgent need to address the harms in this sector if a just transition to renewable energy is to mitigate the worst effects of the climate crisis.