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IFC Helps Lao PDR Improve Environmental and Social Standards in Hydropower Sector

Vientiane, Lao PDR, December 5, 2013 —IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is partnering with the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry to promote environmental and social risk management best practices among hydropower developers for them to better contribute to the sustainability of the sector.
Under the memorandum of understanding signed today between IFC and the chamber, the partnership aims to provide a dialogue platform between the Lao government and the business community to ensure that hydropower projects will be developed and operated in a sustainable way that protects the environment and local people’s livelihoods.  
“The collaboration with IFC marks our commitment to developing a hydropower focused working group that channels the sector wide issues and challenges to the government,” said Sisavath Thiravong, President of the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “As a global standard-setter on environmental and social practices, IFC will provide the local hydropower developers with knowledge and experience to effectively manage the sustainability risks of their projects.”
Throughout 2014, IFC and the chamber will organize a series of seminars to introduce to hydropower companies a set of standards, tools and best practices that help develop hydropower projects in a environmentally and socially sustainable manner. The companies will also have opportunity to interact with the Lao government on industry challenges through the Lao Business Forum, a public-private sector structured dialogue mechanism facilitated by the chamber.
“By sharing our expertise on environmental and social best practices with the local hydropower companies, we want to improve the sustainability standards in the sector as a whole and increase the share of new hydropower projects that follow good international industry practices,” said Ian Crosby, IFC’s Sustainable Business Advisory Manager for East Asia and the Pacific. “One of IFC’s strategic priorities is helping the Lao government harness the country’s natural resources as a significant driver of economic growth, while ensuring the protection of communities and the environment.”
IFC has been working with Lao government and the private sector over the last decade to help reduce poverty and promote sustainable economic growth. In Lao PDR, IFC’s advisory work is implemented in partnership with Canada, Finland, Ireland, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Switzerland.
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