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International Hydropower Association emphasizes sustainability in COP17 discussion

DURBAN, South Africa 12/7/11 (PennWell) -- The International Hydropower Association took part in the first of three events at the 17th Conference of Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC), with hopes of addressing hydro-related issues in front of a global audience.

COP17, which began Nov. 28, is an "opportunity for world decision-makers to make positive steps towards addressing the interrelated challenges of climate change, poverty reduction and sustainable development,” according to IHA.

IHA is participating in three discussions before COP17's conclusion on Dec. 9.

The first, titled, "Mobilising Finance and Investment for Water Security and Climate Resilience", took place Dec. 5 and was a joint effort between IHA, the African Ministers Council on Water, the Climate and Development Knowledge Network, the Stockholm International Water Institute, and the Global Water Partnership.

The event's goal was to emphasize the importance of prioritizing low-carbon investments in sustainable water infrastructure, according to IHA programme director Cameron Ironside. "Sustainable water infrastructure is critical to global water security," Ironside says. "That's where the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol has much to offer in helping to inform policy.

The Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol is a comprehensive tool that assesses the sustainability of hydropower projects based on a number of topics -- including their social, economic and environmental impacts. Downstream flow regimes, indigenous peoples, biodiversity, infrastructure safety, resettlement, water quality, erosion and sedimentation are also examined.

IHA adopted the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol in Nov. 2010 before officially launching the program at the 2011 World Congress of Advancing Sustainable Hydropower in Iguassu, Brazil, in June 2011.

IHA's other COP17 presentations take place Dec. 7 and Dec. 9.

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