The Policy on Sustainable Hydropower Development in Lao PDR, approved through the Decree of 12 January 2015, supersedes the 2006 National Policy on Environment and Social Stability of the Hydropower Sector (No. 561/CPI).
It offers policy guidance to agencies that oversee investment projects in the hydropower sector, in close cooperation with the Interministerial Committee set up by the Ministry of Energy and Mines. The policy also aims to raise awareness among project developers and investors of the regulations imposed by the policy.
It applies to all hydropower plants larger than 15 MW generation capacity. Purpose of the reviewed law is including technical, engineering, economic/finance, environmental and social impacts in its analysis. These comprise feasability studies, information disclosure, public consultations, compliance monitoring and benefit sharing throughout the project development stages.
Reflecting the previous law of 2006, the hydropwer project developers have to hold free, prior and informed consultations with affected communities before any project is implemented. They further have to recognise project-affected communities (as defined in the law) based on various impact assessments and studies. Based on these, the developer is obliged to elaborate a resettlement and livelihoods’ improvement plan, an ethnicity development plan, a gender development plan.