Evaluation of community engagement in Nam Theun 2 hydropower project in Lao People’s Democratic Republic
Thesis DisciplineWater Resource Management
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Water Resource Management
The Nam Theun 2 (NT2) hydropower project has been considered as a means to reducing poverty in Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) through supporting social and economic development. With many more proposed hydropower projects, there are upcoming challenges for the Lao government in terms of managing sustainable hydropower throughout the nation.
This research makes use of a qualitative single case study approach to evaluate the effectiveness of the Multi-Stakeholder Process (MSP) applied in a case study of NT2. This research seeks to find effective ways of engaging communities for future hydropower developments in Lao PDR. Primary data were gained through semi-structured interviews with ten key institutions and four focus group discussions with affected communities. Secondary data were also collected by extensively reviewing available documents.
This study found that the development of the NT2 project enabled communities to be involved and communicate their opinions and concerns during the different stages of project development. The NT2 project also involved a wide range of stakeholders to oversee the implementation of the project.
Weaknesses were identified in the MSP practice of the NT2 project. Ongoing monitoring needs to cover the project life span, and stakeholders, such as the NGOs, should be involved in these activities.
Clearer lines of communication need to be established both ways to increase transparency and reduce misunderstandings. The institutional memory of each stakeholder group also needs to be improved so that the project activities can be smoothly implemented from time to time.
Host villagers share the community with the relocated people, therefore they need to be included in the project development and management process. To ensure effective engagement of the communities, key stakeholder must regularly review the reports provided by the monitoring agencies so that the concerns of each stakeholder group are addressed.