Sharing the benefits of hydropower to improve displaced people’s livelihoods
As the world pivots towards low-carbon energy generation, hydropower is once again in the spotlight. Hundreds of new dams are due to be built this decade. The hydropower industry recognises that new plants will only be viable with strong social acceptance and that benefit sharing is a way to build support. But the concept is not yet widely understood, and successful examples remain rare. Benefit sharing should be thought of as a ‘sustainability intervention’, which has additional and long-term positive impacts on project-affected people, well beyond compensation for lost assets. Increasing the social acceptance of hydropower through benefit-sharing agreements requires building long-term partnerships with resettled people, establishing appropriate institutional arrangements and investing a proportion of hydropower revenues over the long term.