A high-level event to chart a global course for hydropower development will be held in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa from 9-11 May.
The 6th World Hydropower Congress (WHC), a multi-stakeholder forum will convene leaders and specialists with hydropower-related responsibilities from government, industry, finance, United Nations agencies, academia and civil society.
Organised by the International Hydropower Association (IHA) with the support of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the African Union Commission (AUC) and other partners, this high-level event will chart the course for hydropower development and operation over the next 10 years, aiming to ensure reliable and resilient water and energy systems in the world and to spur sustainable development for all.
The biennial conference, which is coming to Africa for the first time, will emphasise environmental and social aspects to look into during hydroelectric project planning stages, and a commitment to better hydro in an age when resource management is more important than ever.
Acting ECA Executive Secretary Abdalla Hamdok says the ECA is delighted to co-organise the congress and offer a platform to accelerate the much-needed deployment of renewable energy across Africa.
“Achieving the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goals will require that we demand more from an energy source that has historically been linked to economic growth on the continent,” said Mr. Hamdok.
Ensuring universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services as called for in goal 7 of the SDGs will only be possible in a better-connected world, one where synergies and partnerships are sought among a large number of stakeholders, he added.
Richard Taylor, Chief Executive of IHA said the congress brings together a diversity of perspectives and examines how initiatives from governments, businesses, finance and civil society can converge to help deliver better hydropower and ultimately better development for all.
“Hydropower’s role is a dynamic that calls for an integrated approach, with a strongly connected sector, and a high level of collaboration,” he said.
Mr. Taylor stressed that with the right commitments, better hydropower will play an even greater role in delivering modern energy and water services in the world.
Ethiopia’s Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity, Seleshi Bekele, says his country is the ideal host for the congress as hydropower is its major energy source.
“Ethiopia aims to transform lives by creating economic and social opportunities through access to energy, enabling industrialisation, managing water supply and enhancing agricultural productivity,” he said.
World Bank Group Vice President for Sustainable Development, Laura Tuck, says without secure power, development efforts the world over are at risk.
“Our mission at the World Bank Group is to help eliminate extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. We can only achieve these goals if our clients have universal access to electricity and to a secure and stable power supply,” she said.
The Chair of the Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organization (GEIDCO), Liu Zhenya of China, says accelerating the implementation of global energy interconnections will promote the development, allocation and utilisation of large-scale clean energy, like hydro, wind and solar power.
“It will also provide a new platform, create opportunities, and inject energy into Africa’s economic takeoff,” said Mr. Zhenya.
The event seeks to build on a previous meeting held in 2015 in Beijing by bringing together leaders and specialists to examine how initiatives of governments, businesses, finances, civil society and academia can advance sustainable development.
Hydropower’s role as a global energy source cannot be overstated, with hydro supplying 70 percent of the world’s renewable energy to more than a billion people in 152 countries.
The 2017 World Hydropower Congress is organised by the International Hydropower Association in collaboration with the African Development Bank, the African Union Commission, the Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organisation, the Economic Commission for Africa and the World Bank Group. The Ethiopian Government is co-hosting the congress.