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Dear Phoutthasinh, Thank you so much for posting your comment on my blog- I was starting to feel a little lonely here! I think your excellent question goes to the heart of the challenges facing NT2. In my opinion, the improvement in infrastructure and services is an impressive achievement. It is clear that households value health, education and quality of life as well as income. In order to make sure that the resettlers see themselves as better off in the long term, it is essential that this infrastructure is maintained, and that high quality services continue to be provided. Now that they are happy with these physical investments, however, the answers to “what got worse” show that the resettlers are starting to think about the complicated issues of livelihoods and their sustainability. Although you note that wage employment is one of the top 4 concerns, in fact only 12 resettlers mention this. Employment was important during the project’s construction phase, but it is unlikely to provide a sustainable livelihood source for many of the resettled households- formal wage jobs employ only a tiny proportion of the Lao workforce, and Nakai is still a relatively remote rural area. Even if off-farm livelihoods develop rapidly (i.e. if the potential for tourism on the plateau can be explored), they are likely to provide more opportunities for small-scale household businesses than for formal employment. The sustainability of livelihoods therefore remains dependent on natural resources: forests, agricultural land and water. In this context there are two main challenges for achieving sustainable livelihoods. Firstly, the resettlers need to feel secure about the resources available to them in their new environment. Secondly, the resettlers are in the process of adapting to a very new environment. This involves a complicated and gradual process of social and behavioural change, for example as they move to new techniques appropriate to the land and resources at their disposal, such as crop rotation and fertilizer use, and diversify their livelihood sources. I’m personally very interested in this transition, and we’re in the process of analyzing some of the data that gives insights into how it’s going. Finally, I think it is important to note that these concerns are not particular to the villagers in Nakai but in fact are mirrored in other Lao communities. In the national LECS survey, for example, many rural village leaders talked about lack of land as a constraint to growing incomes. But, interestingly, even more mentioned lack of irrigation and infertile land. In the most remote areas lack of market access and transport were noted as a problem, but lack of jobs appeared to matter a lot less. Villagers there were more likely to be concerned about natural disasters, particularly pests and animal disease. As a post script, note that I’ve only presented the results from May/June 2009. It is also interesting to see how the perceptions of resettlers have changed over time. During the transitional period, for example, a few households said that housing and infrastructure had deteriorated (although even at this point many more said that it had improved). Now that concern has largely been dealt with, and since impoundment, households are starting to think more about their access to land and forest products.