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Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, January 19, 2015
—The World Bank Group and the International Hydropower Association (IHA) are helping Myanmar develop a more sustainable hydropower sector by promoting best practices in technical, environmental, and social standards. A sustainable hydropower sector will help mitigate environmental and social risks while realizing the country’s huge energy potential, contributing to economic growth and shared prosperity.
Supported by the Australian government, the World Bank Group and International Hydropower Association are hosting a two-day hydropower workshop January 19-20 in Myanmar’s capital Nay Pyi Taw to foster knowledge and encourage exchange between about 100 representatives from government, the private sector, and civil society. Participants from Myanmar and neighboring countries will discuss sustainability approaches, sustainable financing mechanisms, and hydropower planning with a focus on lessons learned from managing river basins with cascading hydropower operations.
“Around the world, different approaches are applied to hydropower development to make sure hydropower is developed sustainably and for the benefit of all stakeholders,” said Cameron Ironside, IHA’s Sustainability Director. “What they all have in common is that it is essential to put a good political and technical framework in place to promote regional collaboration and make projects successful.”
Myanmar has enormous hydropower potential of up to 100,000 megawatts, more than 30 times the currently installed capacity of 2,600 megawatts if realized. Currently less than 30 percent of households in Myanmar have access to electricity, and electricity consumption per capita is among the lowest in the world. The World Bank Group is working to turn on the lights in Myanmar by helping the country develop a greener energy mix that is environmentally sustainable and socially sound.
“Electricity is fundamental to reducing poverty and improving living standards for Myanmar’s people, and hydropower is an important part of Myanmar’s energy future – but it has to be done in an environmentally and socially sustainable way,” said Karin Finkelston, Vice President for Global Partnerships at IFC, the member of the World Bank Group focused on private sector development in emerging markets. “Done well, hydropower offers cleaner, affordable, and reliable electricity access to help drive economic growth, poverty reduction, and sustainable development.”
Workshop discussions will center on the opportunities and challenges of Myanmar’s hydropower development. Participants will talk about the urgent need for a policy framework that encourages sustainable hydropower development and the adoption of good international environmental and social practices in the industry.
The workshop is an essential part of the World Bank Group’s strategy to engage a range of different stakeholders on key topics relevant to the hydropower sector, which will be taken forward in the World Bank Group’s support of sustainable hydropower development in Myanmar. Highlights of the workshop will be presented in other global and regional forums on water and energy, including the World Hydropower Congress 2015 in Beijing, China
Myanmar’s government recognizes that expanding the quantity and quality of electricity supply and improving access to modern energy is crucial to both economic growth and poverty reduction. To set the energy sector on a sustainable development path, the government recently adopted a national energy policy which focuses on developing energy sustainably while balancing continued energy exports as a source of public revenue with the need to improve security, reliability and quality of energy supply in the domestic market.
With the assistance from development partners, the government initiated preparation of its power sector master plan and the national electrification plan, aiming to achieve universal access to electricity by 2030. With help from the Sustainable Energy for All initiative, led by the World Bank and the United Nations, the government is preparing a national electrification plan which will include the assessment of least cost solutions for achieving universal access to electricity by 2030.
About the World Bank Group
The World Bank Group plays a key role in the global effort to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. It consists of five institutions: the World Bank, including the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA); the International Finance Corporation (IFC); the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA); and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Working together in more than 100 countries, these institutions provide financing, advice, and other solutions that enable countries to address the most urgent challenges of development. For more information, please visit
About the International Hydropower Association
The International Hydropower Association (IHA) is a non-profit organisation, working with a network of members and partners to advance sustainable hydropower. IHA's mission is to build and share knowledge on the role of hydropower in renewable energy systems, responsible freshwater management and climate change solutions. IHA champions continuous improvement in the hydropower sector through dialogue with all stakeholders. Membership is open to individuals and organisations that support its mission. IHA networks include: public and private companies, governments, NGOs, financial institutions, communities and academia.
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