Promoting Sustainable Dam Development at River-Basin-Scale in the Southern Caucasus (Pilot Phase)
The Southern Caucasus, a global biodiversity hotspot, is covered by a freshwater network of more than 43,000 rivers and 7 Ramsar Sites. The ecoregion harbours more than 70 fish species (at least 14 endemics). However, unsustainable development of dams and HP is disrupting environmental flows at river-basin-scale. This negatively impacts on habitat connectivity and conditions, species interactions, water quality. As knock-on effects biodiversity and ecosystem services degrade. While renewable hydropower is pivotal for mitigating climate change, the sustainability of all dams and HPP combined at river-basin-scale has not been assessed yet and is at question. Though the Southern Caucasus countries have high potential for hydropower development it poses a high cumulative threat to biodiversity/ecosystem services.
The complete prevention of the cumulative negative impacts on environmental flows, consequently on biodiversity and ecosystem services, occurred as a result of HPP exploration, is possible exceptionally in case of the river-basin-scale work on whole level. This will also significantly reduce the related reputational and financial risks for investors.
This regional project is being implemented by the WWF-CauPo, WWF Armenia and WWF-Azerbaijan in the Kura-Aras River Basin (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia) and the Black Sea Catchment Basin (Georgia).
This project is a pilot phase of the initiative on sustainable dam and HPP development. The pilot phase aims to mobilize key stakeholders and ensure their support, which will serve as a foundation for this initiative.
The second phase will be focused on dispersal of the sustainable dam and HPP development across the region.
To secure stakeholders acknowledgement on the need to promote best practices for dams and HPP to safeguard biodiversity and ecosystem services for local people at river-basin-scale, and have established a regional initiative on sustainable dam and HPP development.
Project Expected Deliverables:
1. Government/Stakeholders Engagement is secured
- analysis of investors/donor agencies are conducted
- country level advisory group is formed and operationalized
- regional round table of the key stakeholders is conducted
- Caucasus Sustainable Dams Initiative (CSDI) is launched under the umbrella of Caucasus Biodiversity Council.
- Desk studies on assessment of biodiversity/ecosystem services of rivers are conducted
- National expert workshops to review and complement the data of studies are conducted
- High-profile publication on the results is launched
- Expert review of existing methodologies is conducted
- Methodological approach suitable for the Southern Caucasus is agreed at the regional stakeholder meeting.
Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA)
Project Implementation Location:
Kura-Araqs river basin
For Further Information:
Mr. Karen Karapetyan
Tel: (+374 10) 54 61 56 (ext. 17)
Mr. Gera Voskanyan
Partnership & Communications Manager
Tel: (+374 10) 54 61 56 (ext. 14)