The Nam Theun 2 (NT2) project reached commercial operations in April 2010 and is now generating revenues for poverty reduction and environmental investments in Lao PDR. Over the next 25 years NT2 will generate around US$2 billion in revenues for the Lao Government, some of which is already being spent on rural roads, education, health and environmental projects. While these national benefits are large, the project is also committed to ensuring that the local people who are directly impacted by the project are fairly treated and compensated. This report summarizes progress to date on one of the most important commitments of the project to build improved and sustainable livelihoods for the people resettled because of the project. The Lao Government's national development priorities are focused on lifting the country from the ranks of least developed nations by 2020. The country faces many human development challenges, not the least of which is that the majority of the population lives in rural and remote areas without access to basic infrastructure and services. Nonetheless, the Lao PDR has made encouraging progress over the last decade, averaging Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of around 7 percent and reducing the percentage of people living below the national poverty line from 46 percent to 28 percent of the population between 1992 and 2007. This publication focuses on the main social impact on the Nakai Plateau: the resettlement of people living in villages impacted by the reservoir inundation.
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|GENERATING INCOME FOR LAO PDR|
In April 2010, the NT2 project reached commercial operations and is now generating revenues for poverty reduction and environmental protection. Over the next 25 years, NT2 will generate around US$2 billion in revenues for the Lao government, some of which are already spent on rural roads, education, health and environmental projects. While these national benefits are large, the project is also committed to ensure that the local people who are directly impacted by the project are fairly treated and compensated. Nam Theun 2 Resettlement: Taking stock at the Halfway Point summarizes progress to date on one of the most important commitments of the project-to build improved and sustainable livelihoods for the people resettled because of the project.
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|SUPPORTING RESETTLED COMMUNITIES|
NT2 required resettlement of around 6,300 people from 15 villages on the Nakai Plateau. Successfully resettling whole communities displaced by a hydropower project is a challenging and long-term task. The NT2 project has taken this challenge seriously from the beginning and designed a resettlement process, including ambitious socio-economic targets to leave everyone better off. NT2 Livelihood programs feature a substantial package of benefits and support to help people build new lives and strong monitoring systems, through external independent monitors, to ensure that these commitments are met transparently.
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|TARGETING SUSTAINABLE RESETTLEMENT|
The physical relocation of all households was complete by mid-2008 and livelihood targets will be measured in 2013. If the targets are reached and if the government, with the advice of the Panel of Experts (independent of the Bank), judges that the broader objectives of the resettlement process are substantially met, then the “resettlement implementation period” defined in the Concession Agreement will come to an end. However, several key elements of the resettlement package, such as secure land rights, privileged access to reservoir fisheries, the community forestry concession, and improved infrastructure will last much longer.
As this publication was finalized in late 2010, the project is half-way through the livelihood development period. It’s therefore not yet the appropriate time to measure whether the resettlement process has been a complete success. While it is apparent that the physical relocation process was completed successfully, and the overwhelming majority of resettled people currently feel that they are much better off, it will be some time before it is clear whether the current progress in building new livelihoods is sufficient and can be sustained over the longer term. As time passes and conditions continue to change, new and unexpected challenges will arise. It’s essential that the project continues to respond quickly and flexibly to these changes, using the principle of adaptive management to pursue the project’s broader resettlement objective: sustainably improved livelihoods for all those who have resettled.
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