San José Declaration
on Sustainable Hydropower

An ambitious set of principles and recommendations to guide the future of sustainable hydropower development

Express your support here.

An ambitious set of principles and recommendations to guide the future of sustainable hydropower development

The San José Declaration on Sustainable Hydropower, issued on 24 September 2021 at the conclusion of the World Hydropower Congress, outlines a vision for hydropower’s contribution to meeting global climate and development goals.

The declaration arrives as world leaders seek to identify pathways to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050; a target that cannot be realised without the flexibility and balance that sustainable hydropower provides to clean energy systems.

Public consultation

The San José Declaration provides a framework for enhancing hydropower’s role in the clean energy transition. It has been shaped by a wide-ranging public consultation with participation from hundreds of organisations and individuals, including representatives from hydropower industry, NGOs, international financial institutions, NGOs, academia and research institutions.

At the heart of the Declaration is a recognition that sustainable hydropower is a clean, green, modern and affordable solution to climate change. It says that going forward, the only acceptable hydropower is sustainable hydropower.

The Declaration was presented to world leaders at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in November. Add your voice by expressing your support.

Read the press release:

International leaders back bold new blueprint for sustainable hydropower

Download the San José Declaration on Sustainable Hydropower

Statements of support

Expressions of support for the San José Declaration on Sustainable Hydropower were given at the conclusion of the World Hydropower Congress during a high-level stakeholder forum. Watch the videos below to see the full collection of statements by government ministers, industry CEOs and NGO leaders.

“The San José Declaration on Sustainable Hydropower is going to provide the blueprint for the new generation of hydropower, the construction and delivery of which is so critical if we are going to achieve the cut in emissions that we need.”

Malcolm Turnbull, 29th Prime Minister of Australia

“This Declaration is a first vital step in increasing the global deployment of hydropower, with solid principles to guide the developments of projects, and sound recommendations for governments and policy-makers developed in consultation with businesses, financial institutions and civil society.

Alok Sharma, President of COP26

“The San José Declaration seeks to promote sustainable hydropower development, and it is a call for best practices and to maximise positive impacts amongst governments, the private sector and stakeholders.”

Andrea Meza Murillo, Minister of Environment and Energy, Costa Rica

“Switzerland plans to officially endorse the San Jose declaration. […] It underscores the necessity to more than double the development of hydropower if we want to meet the Paris Agreement objectives."

Benoît Revaz, Secretary of State for Energy, Switzerland

“Ahead of COP26, it is crucial to have such a global declaration recognise and acknowledge hydropower's essential role in decarbonising the energy system, helping mitigate impacts of climate change, its ability to complement, integrate and accelerate growth in other renewables, and support numerous other UN Sustainable Development Goals.”

Rt Hon Lord Barker of Battle, Executive Chairman, En+Group

“At EDF we do support the San José Declaration on Sustainable Hydropower and we call on policy-makers to act swiftly on these recommendations, notably on promoting investment”.

Jean-Bernard Lévy, Chairman and CEO, EDF

“The San José Declaration shows the way forward in making net zero by 2050 possible with clean, green, sustainable and affordable hydropower. I particularly welcome the Hydropower Sustainability Standard as a key pillar of the San José Declaration. To me this is the foundation of our credibility as an industry.”

Pascal Radue, President and CEO, GE Renewable Energy Hydro Solutions

“I want to commend the International Hydropower Association for their work on sustainable hydropower for many years, as demonstrated by the work on sustainability standards, and now culminating in the San José Declaration.”

Oivind Johansen, Assistant Director General, Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy

Read all statements of support

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