Mountains offer ideal conditions for the development of hydropower, but often, the uneven distribution of benefits emerging from project development can create friction and development disputes between mountain communities and project developers. How can hydropower projects be designed and implemented in such a way that affected mountain communities derive benefits beyond mere compensation and mitigation? Is there any evidence that benefits can be shared fairly and equitably with these communities? This is particularly important for Nepal, with an estimated technically and economically feasible hydropower potential of over 40,000 MW, of which only a fraction has been developed so far.
Though a variety of interpretations exist, the term ‘benefit sharing’ references a new set of programmatic methods to reconcile the uneven incidence of costs and benefits resulting from hydropower development, an attempt to recognise the diverse claims of differently situated stakeholders, and a way of increasing long-term socioeconomic impact of hydropower development in the project area. As such, benefit sharing is often presented as ‘a core concept related to implementation of the principles of sustainability’ - a vital and practical method for promoting cooperation, improved stakeholder engagement, and social and spatial equity.
This workshop is designed to bring the discussion of benefit sharing from hydropower development to the forefront of policy discourse among relevant stakeholders in Nepal, including communities, power projects, civil society organisations, and the government. This will also draw from experiences of other policymakers and practitioners from the regional and global level. The final output of this two-day engagement will be to bring an increased clarity over the concepts of benefit sharing, which will allow for a better understanding of the relationship between the development of hydropower projects in Nepal and the sustainable and inclusive development of the country.
The event is being jointly organized by ICIMOD and the Niti Foundation.