UNDP Implements GEF Hydropower Project in Lao People’s Democratic Republic

7 April 2011: Funding from the Small Grants Programme of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), implemented by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), has allowed villagers in Lao People's Democratic Republic to access clean electricity from a 7.5kW hydro-power turbine.

The villagers in the northern part of the country are benefiting from the construction of the micro-hydropower system and have participated in constructing the small water-catchment area, installing the pipes and transporting the building materials. Along with direct benefits in terms of reducing families', especially women's, costs and effort of finding fuel, the hydropower project has also resulted in improved environmental protection of the surrounding area. The villagers use electric-powered stoves and no longer need to cut down trees to burn for cooking. In addition, the watershed forest is now a protected area as it holds the water resource for the hydropower. To ensure the sustainability of the project, 6,000 Lao Kip (about US$0.75) is paid by each household monthly to maintain the hydropower turbine and protect the watershed forest. [GEF Press Release]