Situated in rural Myanmar is the Bawgata River - the proposed location for a 51MW hydropower project which is anticipated to provide electricity, strengthen community resilience and grow the regional economy.
Making this a reality was a partnership between the Norwegian and New Zealand Governments. Together they have funded the design of the scheme for Thoolei, a company of the Myanmar Karen National Union.
Completing the design is a team effort. Norway developed the engineering design, while we were responsible for completing the social impacts assessment (SIA) for GHD, with funding through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. GHD were responsible for developing the ESIA.
The ESIA is an important step to take in any international development project. It ensures there are no unacceptable environmental, social or cultural impacts, and that the outcomes are supported by stakeholders including local communities, NGOs and government agencies.
To make this happen, well organised and robust community consultation and engagement is critical. We engaged a local consultant and our team in our Myanmar office to work collaboratively with local communities. Together we identified how communities may be affected, as well as possible mitigation strategies for the construction and operation of the hydropower plant and associated facilities.
The local consultancy team were invaluable in our consultations; allowing us to work through differences in language, culture and background, to gain and share crucial information and understanding.
It is hoped the project will serve as best practice for future projects in Myanmar and support the peace process between the ethnic Karen People and the Government.