Social and Environmental Impacts of Selected Hydropower Projects

Evaluation Document | 31 December 1999

This evaluation assesses whether ADB is adequately emphasizing the mitigation measures for adverse environmental and social impacts of hydropower projects and to provide recommendations for improving their design and implementation.

This study recommends ways to improve the design and processing of ADB-funded hydropower projects to minimize adverse environmental and social impacts.

Case studies of hydropower projects in Malaysia, Indonesia, People's Republic of China, and Lao People's Democratic Republic were assessed for the accuracy of identifying potential impacts, appropriateness of mitigation measures, effectiveness in implementing them, and the procedures for monitoring and evaluating progress.

Among the study's findings was that the preparation of the projects in terms of environmental and social concerns was weak due to the quality of baseline data. It also found that the communication and consultation process with affected people was weak, resulting in improper identification of impacts and inadequate implementation of mitigation measures.

The study noted the limited use of environmental and social experts during planning, and suggests that environmental and social scientists need to be an integral part of the design team for such sensitive projects, supplemented by a panel of experts, as needed.

It also recommends, among other things, that agencies in developing countries and ADB be more rigorous in screening the capacity of construction firms bidding on large hydropower projects.


  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • Findings and Impacts
  • Key Issues
  • Main Conclusions and Recommendations
  • Appendixes