Government of Laos’s policy on National Biodiversity Conservation Areas
- The Government of Lao PDR’s Decree on the Establishment of National Biodiversity Conservation Areas (“NBCAs”), nr. 164/PM on October 29th 1994 aimed to limit the human population within designated forest conservation areas by resettling the villages outside the NBCAs.
- In the framework of the NBCA and independently from the Houay Ho Project, the Government of Laos’s environment protection programme required the resettlement of 12 villages (~ 640 households or ~ 2700 persons), including the Ban Nam Han village (35 households, 130 persons), which is the only village otherwise directly affected by the existence of the Houay Ho reservoir
Environmental & Social Impact Assessment – EIA
- Feasibility studies including appropriate Environmental and Socio-economic Impact Studies were performed in good time by international specialist consultants.
- These studies concluded that one village (Ban Nam Han) with a total population of approximately 130 inhabitants (35 households), would be submerged by the Houay Ho reservoir and therefore had to be relocated
Environmental Impact Assessment – EIA
The main topics concluded from the studies and that needed to be addressed were:
Health of local population before resettlement:
- The principal causes of illness for the local inhabitants prior to resettlement were malaria and diarrhoea. The leading causes of mortality in order of decreasing importance were: malaria > diarrhoea > broncho-pulmonary diseases.
- Malaria, the most common water related disease, is endemic in the area. In the rural communities, nutritional standards and hygiene are poor; most of the inhabitants have not received immunization and infant mortality is high.
Settlement & populations (situation prior to resettlement)
- Economy: dominated by subsistence agriculture. Low fertility, base-poor sandstone soils characterize the Houay Ho catchments slope.
- Education: illiteracy among the population is highest within rural communities which lack education facilities and teaching resources. The main problems facing the educational system are the lack of buildings, teachers and equipment.
HHPC’s community development programs have addressed these areas of concerns and have improved the situation significantly.