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IFC Works to Improve Hydropower Standards in Pakistan


Media Contact:
Tiffany Noeske
E-mail: TNoeske@ifc.org  

Islamabad, Pakistan, April 18, 2016—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, held events last week to encourage broad support for improved environmental and social standards in Pakistan’s hydropower sector in an effort to reduce development impact and risk.

Pakistan has been suffering from a severe power deficit resulting in an average load shedding of over 6 hours per day hampering the country’s economic growth and development. IFC is supporting significant investments in low-cost and renewable energy generation aimed at benefiting over 12 million people by funding several hydropower projects in the Jelhum-Poonch River Basin. These projects include operations by Laraib New Bong Hydropower and Star Hydro. Additionally, IFC has an equity investment in China Three Gorges South Asia Investment Limited (CSAIL), which plans to develop mid to large-sized hydropower plants in the same basin. Most recently, IFC approved funding for the Gulpur hydropower project operated by Mira Power on the Poonch River.

“Our project is challenged by biodiversity impacts and the associated cumulative impacts of other developments in the same basin,” said Jahanzeb Murad, Environmental Manager from Mira Power. “With IFC’s support we’ve developed a comprehensive biodiversity strategy that helps our company better manage impacts and engage stakeholders effectively.”

As the Gulpur hydropower project is located in Mahaseer National Park, IFC required project developer Mira Power to update their environmental and social impact assessment in order for the project to reach financial closure.
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The assessment for Mira Power confirmed that the endangered Golden Mahaseer and critically endangered Kashmir Catfish were present in the same river as the planned hydropower project. The Golden Mahaseer is an important source of protein for the local population, while the
Kashmir Catfish is endemic to the Jelhum-Poonch watershed and inhabits a very restricted distribution range. To ensure the continued health and survival of these crucial local species, IFC and Mira Power are building fish hatcheries.

IFC is also developing an advisory program to improve the sector’s environmental and social standards. With the consulting firm Hagler Bailly and support from the Australian government, the events this week aimed to gain commitments from stakeholders to implement the biodiversity strategy for the Jhelum-Poonch watershed to responsibly guide project development. Attended by hydropower companies, top officials, researchers, scientists, power planners, and environmental NGOs, the event mapped out ways to collectively manage the basin.

“Our environmental and social experts are working to build capacity. They are identifying key issues hydro projects face and forming innovative ways to manage the Jhelum-Poonch watershed collectively,” said Moazzam Ahmed, IFC Senior Country Officer based in Karachi. “We urge companies to continue to work with authorities to improve environmental and social management. Public-private collaboration on biodiversity conservation will make a real difference.”

About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. Working with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, we use our capital, expertise, and influence, to create opportunity where it’s needed most. In FY15, our long-term investments in developing countries rose to nearly $18 billion, helping the private sector play an essential role in the global effort to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.

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