Vientiane, 23 July 2014 – The Khammouane Provincial Governor, Mr Khambay Damlath, Chairman of the Nam Theun 2 Resettlement Committee, has signed the Decision No. 252 in January 2014 stating that the Household Income Target for Nakai resettlers has been achieved in accordance with the Concession Agreement. This achievement is a major milestone for the NT2 Project and serves as evidence that the resettlers have benefitted from the environmental and social programs put in place by the Nam Theun 2 Power Company (NTPC) in cooperation with the Government of Lao PDR.
Exceeding the Household Income Target (defined as above the poverty line) is an important project milestone for NTPC’s Environment and Social Program. Prior to the project, the majority of the Resettlers were below the poverty line. According to survey data (round 7 of the Living Standards and Measurement Survey) conducted in 2013, 97% of the Resettlers are above the poverty line with average consumption levels being three times higher than the poverty line without any significant corresponding levels of household debt. NTPC and the Government have separate support programs for any Resettlers who are classified as vulnerable. NTPC’s resettlement program will be ongoing until the Resettlement Objectives and Provisions have been met, of which the Household Income Target is one of the main objectives.
Project progress reports and external independent monitors’ evaluation reports indicate that other provisions and entitlements as well as technical and social assistance have been provided to the resettlers.
Resettlers have increased access to, and control over, land resources, improved access to markets and public services and have secured exclusive rights over fisheries and defined forest areas.
According to H.E Mr Khambay Damlath, Khammouane Governor, the Nam Theun 2 Project is a major contributor in lifting the Nakai District out of poverty by providing financial resources and technical support to improve the Nakai people’s living standards. At the same time, it has contributed to capacity building of government staff at both the local and national level. “Before Nam Theun 2, there were very few business and employment opportunities on the Nakai Plateau. The local economy is now flourishing since the Project started. Nam Theun 2 is a key factor of economic development at the district level but also at the provincial and national level”, he added.
The project’s commitment to resettled communities extends beyond compensating them for the move and includes helping villagers to develop a variety of livelihood options backed up by technical support.
NTPC is operating a 1,070 MW hydropower project in central Laos, Khammouane Province. Nam Theun 2 necessitated the resettlement of around 6,300 people in 16 villages on the Nakai Plateau to allow the creation of the reservoir.
Prior to the Project, the Nakai Plateau was home to some of the poorest people in Laos: limited infrastructure, little access to health and education services and few trade and employment opportunities, villagers lived a subsistence lifestyle and were not engaged in the market economy.