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Case study

Mekong River Commission Sustainable Hydropower Initiative

Countries and regions
Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, East Asia and Pacific
Action area


Case summary

The Mekong River Commission was founded to support intergovernmental planning for water resources that cross national boundaries in the Mekong region of Asia. As a major activity of the Commission, the Sustainable Hydropower Initiative supports management and planning for hydro projects from an integrated, cross-border perspective. The initiative focuses on ensuring hydro development that aligns with environmental, fishery ecosystem, and social priorities in the region. Key actions and good practices profiled in this case study are highlighted below.

  • Design and implementation of knowledge networks to share lessons, good practices, and tools across the participating countries to support successful, sustainable and mutually beneficial hydro development.
  • Development of common hydropower project guidelines to inform sustainable planning and investment, as well as “strategic transboundary assessments” to address key project development issues and provide technical solutions.
  • Collaborative analysis to evaluate inter-dependencies across water and electricity resources, and impacts of hydropower development on fishery productivity and other environmental, climate, and social indicators. Specific analysis has also focused on the gender dimension of hydro development in the region and enabled information sharing on this topic.
  • Evaluation of innovative finance and benefit sharing approaches to enable project implementation and equitable outcomes.
  • Partnership with other intergovernmental river basin organizations and international institutions to improve hydro planning and management.
Planning and implementation activity
Developing Strategies and Plans, Analysis and Data Collection, Developing and Implementing Policies and Measures, Governance and Stakeholder Engagement, Financing Implementation
Institutions involved

Mekong River Commission, Governments of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam, GIZ

Sectors and themes
Gender, Renewable Energy, Rural, Water
Energy sub-sectors
Source details
Mekong River Commission

Results supported byUNDPWorld Resources InstituteTransparency partnership