VIENTIENNE, LAO PDR – 12 February 2015: ICEM workshop on Nam Ngiep 1 climate vulnerability brings with it a number of firsts

In 2014, Nam Ngiep 1 Power Company (NNP1PC) commissioned ICEM to undertake a climate change risk and vulnerability assessment (CRVA) of their Nam Ngiep 1 hydropower facility. The NNP1 CRVA was to be the first comprehensive assessment of climate change impacts to a hydropower facility in Lao PDR and the Mekong Region, and one of the first few comprehensive studies worldwide. The overall objective of the study was to assess the climate risk of the proposed Nam Ngiep Hydropower 1 Project (NNP1) in Lao PDR, and to identify measures to increase its climate resilience.

Nam Ngiep 1 is the southern-most hydropower project in a cascade of projects in the Nam Ngiep catchment. Each project is being developed independently, and though they are all connected by the same basin, many of the professionals and officials involved with each project had never met. In February 2015, ICEM brought together key government, hydropower development, and donor stakeholders to present the study’s findings and discuss cascade coordination in the context of climate change. It was the first time all key stakeholders developing hydropower in the Nam Ngiep basin could sit together and discuss their shared interest in sustainable management of the basin’s water resources.

Workshop participants found common ground on:

  • the importance of cooperation and coordination in the Nam Ngiep basin,
  • the benefits of meeting economic needs in an environmentally and culturally sustainable way,
  • prioritizing coordinated approaches to risk mitigation in the face of climate impacts, and
  • the need for better, more comprehensive and shared hydromet data.

In a cascade of hydropower projects, how releases are coordinated will have a big influence on flood propagation and risks. On this issue, we are pleased to have participation of all four hydropower projects in the Nam Ngiep including our colleague from Electricity Du Lao. Nam Ngiep basin is a pioneer in addressing this issue of cascade management in Lao, and we at Department of Energy Business are watching closely to see how the model you all are developing could be upscaled to other basins.

We hope that the spirit of cooperation that has brought us all here will carry through the discussion; and that the issues of cascade coordination and flood management will be discussed openly. This meeting is the first step in this discussion and on behalf of DEB we encourage the Nam Ngiep hydropower stakeholders to agree on tangible next steps which can help ensure the discussion continue long after this meeting is finished…

Mr. Sichard Boutchakittilath, Deputy Director of the Department of Energy Business, Ministry of Energy and Mines, Lao PDR

Download the Workshop Report here.
For more information on ICEM findings, read the Nam Ngiep CRVA Final Report.