The Lao government has long recognised that it does not have adequate personnel or monetary resources to prevent the potential future degradation of the forest and wildlife resources in the Project area from uncontrolled human activity. It sees the Project’s implementation as one way to obtain these resources and implement an environmental protection and conservation plan.
The Project is directly contributing funding of US$1 million per year in each of the 25 years after the beginning of commercial operations in order to support the action of and provide technical management to the Watershed Management Protection Authority (“WMPA”), a special purpose Government entity established under the Prime Minister’s Office responsible for the management of the conservation in the Project watershed. An additional US$6.5 million is being contributed during the construction phase. Detailed conservation plans are provided in Social and Environmental Management Framework and Operational Plan (SEMFOP).
Conservation is a prime objective of NBCA management and villagers’ livelihood and community development is an important way in which to achieve this objective. All development activities are being fully integrated with conservation. In this respect, NBCA managers and villagers are working on specifying clearly how each development proposal will benefit the long-term conservation agenda for the area. Officials concerned are continuing to pay attention to wildlife trade, and a special focus is paid to educate the local people on these issues. Villagers have already established during previous consultations that the laying down of the rules in the conservation area should start at the village level – although national and international conservation guidelines and regulations would are providing the overall framework.
The management of the area is based on the integration of conservation objective with development activities. This means that certain areas in the NBCA are being zoned as totally protected, while other areas authorise a controlled use of lands for agriculture or other development. In addition, villagers are full participants in the management of the areas’ biodiversity and that farming and livelihood systems are in balance with the surrounding nature.
Patrolling and sensitisation of the population under the management of the WMPA has also started with anticipated funding of NTPC.