World small Hydropower Development Knowledge Platform


by LI Yong, Director General, UNIDO


To address environmental challenges, energy security and volatile fuel prices, and to pursue inclusive and sustainable industrial and economic development, leaders are strategizing ways to shift the economies from relying on traditional energy sources to renewable ones. UNIDO, as a specialized agency of the United Nations, is promoting inclusive and sustainable development and realization of industry-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 9, on building resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization and fostering innovation. UNIDO understands that access to low-cost and reliable energy based on local renewable resources for productive uses can bring economic, social and environmental dividends, such as increasing industrial competitiveness, creating jobs for all and raising incomes.

In this regard, small hydropower is an excellent renewable energy solution to meet the needs of productive uses and to electrify rural areas. It is a mature technology, which can easily be designed, operated and maintained locally. It has the lowest electricity generation prices of all offgrid technologies, and the flexibility to be adapted to various geographical and infrastructural circumstances.

Despite these benefits, the potential of small hydropower in developing countries remains untapped.

It is therefore paramount for UNIDO to foster uptake of small hydropower through awareness building, information dissemination and experience sharing on the use of renewable energy, such as small hydropower, in industries and in small enterprises, in particular. This will boost productivity, industrialization and regional economic development.

This is in line with the objectives of the World Small Hydropower Development Report, namely, to promote the increase of the share of this valuable source of energy in the energy mix, through informing policy on energy planning and guiding investors in entering renewable energy markets, through information and knowledge sharing.

Towards this objective, UNIDO’s Department of Energy collaborated with the International Center on Small Hydro Power (ICSHP) in 2013 to develop a small hydropower knowledge platform and produce the World Small Hydropower Development Report. This flagship initiative of UNIDO is the first compilation of valuable information on global small hydropower. It serves as a crucial guide for policymakers and investors. 

In 2016, UNIDO and ICSHP, along with partners, launched this updated version of the Report and Platform, continuing our mission to inform world leaders on the status and potential of small hydropower development, and encourage stakeholders in the sector to share and disseminate this knowledge.

I would like to congratulate the experts and institutions that have contributed to this Report, making it rich in content and accurate in presentation.