1,000 Hectare Commercial Plantation, Laos
SLP Environmental was appointed to provide Social Impact Assessment and Management services as part of a wider Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) study being undertaken for a large commercial plantation in Southern Laos. Our client was considering leasing an economic land concession (ELC) from the government for conversion to the commercial cultivation of coffee and in accordance with the their corporate social responsibility commitments appointed SLP to assess the potential socio-economic impacts of the planned project activities.
As part of the planning stage social due diligence assessment, SLP Environmental utilised rapid social survey techniques to identify potential stakeholders, gauge public opinion to the proposed project and build relationships with the community at the outset of the project.
Stakeholder mapping identified the project affected people and in accordance with the principle of informed consultation and participation (ICP), SLP instigated multi-tiered stakeholder engagement activities which included public meetings and workshops at the local, district, provincial and national levels as well as focus group discussions with vulnerable groups at the local level.
Unfortunately some physical and economic displacement of PAP was unavoidable and SLP worked with the client to secure negotiated settlements and avoid forced evictions. Asset Registration of PAP was undertaken and a Resettlement Action Plan and Livelihoods Restoration Plan were prepared to ensure that all displaced peoples were resettled on suitable land (with security of tenure), suitably compensated for loss of assets and income and that their standard of living was improved relative to the baseline benchmark. All negotiated settlements were signed off by PAP and the relevant authorities. The approach for the overall social impacts assessment and management process followed national law as well as guidance presented in: