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Open letter regarding the use of GCF resources to support large hydropower

The 272 undersigned organizations write to express our significant concern regarding the use of GCF resources to support large hydropower, and, in particular, the following proposals in the GCF’s pipeline: (i) Qairokkum Hydropower Rehabilitation, Tajikistan; (ii) Upper Trishuli-1, Nepal; and (iii) Tina River Hydro Project, Solomon Islands.

The GCF can and should help pay for the incremental costs of renewable energy sources, which are often less “bankable” (though less so all the time). However, we wish to highlight that large dams are different from wind, solar and other technologies because they fail to fulfill the GCF Investment Criteria. For example:

(i) Impact potential: Dams emit significant amounts of greenhouse gases, particularly methane, and damage carbon sinks;

(ii) Paradigm shift potential: Large hydro is a non-innovative technology that has not seen significant technical or financial breakthroughs in decades;

(iii) Sustainable development: Dams have high negative co-impacts with regard to the environment, human rights, and economic cost. By interrupting rivers and flooding lands, they irreversibly harm livelihoods and ecosystems. Because they routinely cost double their estimates, large dams stretch government budgets and increase borrowing costs;

(iv) Needs of the recipient: Hydropower projects are particularly vulnerable to climate change, and many countries are already alarmingly over-dependent on hydropower (as is the case with Tajikistan and Nepal). GCF should support efforts in these countries to diversify their energy mix, helping them improve their resilience and adaptive capacities; and,

(v) Efficiency and effectiveness: Dams all over the world are losing generation capacity because of climate change-induced droughts.


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