25 Oct 2012

Researcher says better communication needed in Vanuatu hydro project

3:28 pm on 25 October 2012

A researcher of a hydro energy project in the north of Vanuatu says greater communication is needed between the project co-ordinators and the public.

Leisande Otto has been undergoing a study, co-funded by AusAid and the World Bank's Justice for the Poor programme, on the Sarakata River hydroelectric Power Station on Santo Island.

She says many lessons can be learned from the project, which began in the 1980s, including the need for better communication.

"As a recommendation there needs to be a clear role as to who should be responsible to be the point of contact for the communities. And if the communities could have a place to access maybe information or a place where they could access advice to try and make sure that what they negotiate with regards to the development projects serves their best interests."

Leisande Otto says there are also ongoing land issues as a result of the hydro project, including arguments over land ownership and water rights.