The aim of WMPA is to restore, maintain and enhance the biodiversity, habitats, conservation values and cultural values of the Nakai Nam Theun National Protected Area. WMPA actively engages in capacity building of the key district stakeholders and local communities to achieve this aim. The initial focus of management is to reduce the intensity of extractive uses of the national protected area over time. A combination of measures involving the enforcement of strict rules, the involvement of local communities in resource management, and the promotion of community development is required, particularly targeting areas in proximity to areas of high biodiversity. Particular care is required to ensure balanced implementation of conservation and development objectives. Many management actions should be implemented as successive steps meant to result in improved protection through agreements with the local communities. In this way, most, if not all, extractive uses can be reduced to sustainable intensities. The Watershed Management Protection Authority (WMPA) was established under the Prime Minister’s Decree No. 25/PM (26 February 2001) and amended by the Prime Minister’s Decree No. 39 (23 February 2005) to protect and manage the Nakai Nam Theun National Protected Area. Prime Ministerial Decree 471 (11/11/2011) has established 8 objectives for the management of the Nakai-Nam Theun National Protected Area/NT2 watershed. These are:
- To guarantee sufficient volume of water with low sediment load, flowing into or from the Nam Theun 2 Reservoir by protection and rehabilitation of forest areas in the Nam Theun 2 Watershed Area;
- To fulfill the commitments of the Government under Government Letter of Implementation Policy, No. 198/CPI, dated 7 March 2005;
- To perform the obligations of the Government as defined in the Concession Agreement of Nam Theun 2 Power Project specified as being the responsibilities of the WMPA NT2;
- Preserve, and protect the natural biodiversity system and facilitate the maintenance and increase in naturally occupied populations of plants and animals in the Nakai- Nam Theun National Protected Area and Nam Theun 2 Watershed Area, particularly the conservation or multiplication of habitat of rare, endangered or near extinct bird and aquatic life species;
- Capacity building and strengthening of the Authority and other parties concerned that are involved in the management and implementation of the Authority’s activities;
- Contribute towards and facilitate the improvement of the livelihoods of the multi- ethnic people living in the Nakai-Nam Theun National Protected Area and Nam Theun 2 Watershed Area, with a view to poverty reduction by defining activities and sustained development plans in a manner that does not exert a net impact on the environment, with the participation and consent of different ethnic groups in these areas;
- Protect and acknowledge freedom of the multi-ethnic people that live within and around the Nakai-Nam Theun National Protected Area and Nam Theun 2 Watershed Area in their place of residence and movement as defined by the law; the Authority acknowledges the customary rights of the multi-ethnic people to use natural resources within the area that are consistent with regulations, laws and binding agreements with the Authority; and
- Strictly manage the fund, (income, expenditure, cash reserve and other assets) and effectively use the fund in order to realize the Authority’s above-mentioned objectives.
The Nam Theun 2 Power Company (NTPC) was formed by the Lao Government and private shareholders to build and operate the Nam Theun 2 Hydro-power Project. NTPC contributed US$6.5 million to WMPA during the construction and development phases, and in addition will contribute funding of US$1 million annually (plus inflation adjustments) for 25 years of its operations. The funding contributes to WMPA’s management of the watershed, based on the integration of conservation objectives with development activities.