Archive for ‘Dams in Laos’

September 26, 2014

Call on Laotian people to save our Land, Very Soon Mekong dam will destroying the region’s lifeblood

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The Mekong River is under threat. The governments of Cambodia, Laos and Thailand are considering plans to build 11 big hydropower dams on the river's mainstream

Mekong Dams: Opposition Grows to Laos’ Mega Dams

Key Issues:
Xayaburi, Don Sahong, and Lower Mekong Mainstream Dams

A renewed push to build hydropower dams on the lower Mekong mainstream is threatening the river’s ecosystems, aquatic resources and the fishery-dependent livelihoods of millions of people.

แม่น้ำโขง

แม่น้ำโขง – สายน้ำที่ยาวที่สุดในอุษาคเนย์ และยาวเป็นอันดับสิบของโลก จากต้นกำเนิดบริเวณเทือกเขาหิมาลัย แม่น้ำโขงไหลผ่านถึง 6 ประเทศ จากที่ราบสูงทิเบต ผ่านภาคตะวันตกเฉียงใต้ทางมณฑลยูนนาน ประเทศจีน ไหลสู่ พม่า ลาว ไทย กัมพูชา ก่อนจะออกสู่ทะเลจีนใต้ที่ดินดอนสามเหลี่ยมปากแม่น้ำประเทศเวียดนาม รวมความยาวทั้งสิ้น 4,909 กิโลเมตร

Click on the link to get more news and video from original source:  http://www.terraper.org/mainpage/key_issues_detail_en.php?kid=8&langs=en

The international community should not let the Lao government get away with such a blatant violation of international law. We are calling on donor governments and the governments of Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia to take a firm stand against Laos. 

More information from http://www.internationalrivers.org/
“The international community should not let the Lao government get away with such a blatant violation of international law,” said Ms. Ame Trandem, Southeast Asia Program Director for International Rivers. “We are calling on donor governments and the governments of Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia to take a firm stand against Laos. The Xayaburi Dam is the first of a cascade of devastating mainstream dams that will severely undermine the region’s development efforts. The food security and jobs of millions of people in the region are now on the line.”
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Xayaburi Construction’s Photo

Click on the link to get more news and video from original source:  http://www.bangkokpost.com/multimedia/photo/257475/laos-river-life/embed

Click on the link to get more news and video from original source:  http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/236558/activists-call-to-scrap-lao-dam-project

Activists are unhappy with Laos’ pledge to study the environmental effects of the controversial Xayaburi hydro dam.  Click for more

Click on the link to get more news and video from original source:  http://www.nationmultimedia.com/opinion/laos-evades-responsibility-with-dam-construction-30193861.html

Ame Trandem, Pianporn Deetes
November 8, 2012 1:00 am

In clear defiance of its neighbours and a regional agreement, the Lao government announced that it would hold a groundbreaking ceremony at the Xayaburi Dam site on the Mekong River on Wednesday, November 7. Viraphonh Viravong, Laos’ deputy minister of energy and mining, said “It has been assessed, it has been discussed the last two years. We have addressed most of the concerns.
After the ceremony, the project developers are expected to begin construction on the cofferdam, which diverts the river while the permanent dam wall is built. The cofferdam is expected to be completed by May 2013.

The international community should not let the Lao government get away with such a blatant violation of international law. We are calling on donor governments and the governments of Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia to take a firm stand against Laos.

The Xayaburi Dam is the first of a cascade of devastating mainstream dams that will severely undermine the region’s development efforts. The food security and jobs of millions of people in the region are now on the line.

Construction activities at the dam site began in late 2010. In April 2011 the Cambodian and Vietnamese governments asked the Lao government for further studies on the project’s trans-boundary effects. In December 2011 the four governments of the Mekong River Commission met and agreed to conduct further studies on the effects of the Xayaburi Dam and 10 other proposed mainstream dams. To date, no regional agreement has been made to build the Xayaburi Dam despite the 1995 Mekong Agreement’s requirement that the governments of Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand and Laos cooperate and seek joint agreement on mainstream projects.

Laos said it would cooperate with neighbouring countries, but this was never genuine. Instead, the project always continued on schedule and was never actually delayed. None of Vietnam and Cambodia’s environmental and social concerns have been taken seriously. Laos has never even collected basic information about the ways that people depend on the river, so how can it say that there will be no impacts?

On October 22, Vietnam’s minister of natural resources and environment met the Lao prime minister and requested that all construction on the Xayaburi Dam be stopped until necessary studies to assess the effects of Mekong mainstream dams were first carried out.

Laos continues to deny that the dam will have trans boundary impacts and is applying the recommended mitigation measures made by Finnish consulting company Poyry and French company Compagnie Nationale du Rhone, despite the fact that the project has never carried out a trans-boundary impact assessment. The Cambodian government, Vietnamese government, and scientists throughout the Mekong region have disagreed with the work of these companies.

Laos is playing roulette with the Mekong River, offering unproven solutions and opening up the Mekong as a testing ground for new technologies. When the Mekong River Commission stays quiet and tolerates one country risking the sustainability of the Mekong River and all future trans-boundary cooperation, something is seriously wrong.

As Thai companies serve as the project’s developers and financers, and the Thai government will purchase the bulk of the Xayaburi Dam’s electricity, Thailand has the responsibility to call for a stop to construction immediately and cancel its power purchase agreement until there is regional agreement to build the dam. This move by Laos sets a dangerous precedent for the future of the Mekong region. If Laos is allowed to proceed unhindered, then in the future all member governments will proceed unilaterally on projects on the Mekong River. The Mekong Agreement will become yet another useless piece of paper.

Unless the Mekong dam crisis is tackled immediately, the future of the region is in great danger. With the Asian and European heads of states gathered in Vientiane, Laos for the Asem Summit, it’s time that the international community takes a strong stand and makes it clear that such actions by Laos will not be tolerated.

Ame Trandem is Southeast Asia programme director, International Rivers. Pianporn Deetes is Thailand campaign coordinator, International Rivers.

http://www.internationalrivers.org/resources/laos-evades-responsibility-and-plows-ahead-with-xayaburi-dam-7714

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Credits: International Rivers

September 20, 2014

Green Groups Tell Mekong Leaders Lao Dam Evaluation Process Flawed

Green Groups Tell Mekong Leaders Lao Dam Evaluation Process Flawed

2014-09-19

Click on the link to get more news and video from original source: http://www.rfa.org/english/news/laos/fishermen-09192014174244.html

laos-xayaburi-dam-jan-2014.jpg

Construction work begins on the Xayaburi dam on the Mekong River in northern Laos, Jan. 2014.

Nearly 50 environmental groups have written to the leaders of countries along the Mekong River to revamp a regional official evaluation process for the controversial Don Sahong dam project in southern Laos, saying the current mechanism is flawed.

Their letter to the prime ministers of Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Thailand said the concerns of local communities impacted by the project are not being included as required by the Procedures for Notification, Prior Consultation and Agreement (PNPCA) for hydropower projects in the Mekong River Commission (MRC).

The PNPCA requires transboundary impact assessments and discussions among member countries, as outlined in a 1995 agreement that led to the formation of the MRC, which supervises development along Southeast Asia’s artery.

The Sept. 10 letter from 45 groups, including U.S.-based International Rivers, Japan’s Mekong Watch, Thailand’s Northern River Basins Network, and Vietnam Rivers Network, was sent more than two months after Lao authorities decided to open the 260-megawatt Don Sahong project to consultations and scrutiny among MRC members.

The Lao authorities said it would suspend construction of the project, the second dam to be built on the Mekong after the Xayaburi dam, but the developer, Malaysia’s Mega First Corporation Berhad, said work was continuing.

Regional threat

The Xayaburi and Don Sahong dams pose a regional security threat for the 60 million-some people in Southeast Asia who rely on fish and other products from the Mekong for their nutrition and livelihoods, environmental and conservation groups say.

“We are concerned that, as they stand, the PNPCA procedures cannot allow for a legitimate and participatory consultation process for the Don Sahong dam, and the project is set to follow the same destructive path of the Xayaburi dam, bringing further severe impacts to the Mekong and its people,” the letter said.

It said the prior consultation process for the Xayaburi dam, which is under construction, had been a “failure.”

“The limited stakeholder consultation both in number of participants and areas involved excluded many critical voices, including those of local communities in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam,” the letter said.

“The voices of communities must be the priority in the process related to the development of dams on the Mekong River,” it said.

The letter also said many studies indicate that if the Don Sahong dam is built, it will have “severe impacts on Mekong fish and their migration throughout the Lower Mekong River Basin.”

“This threatens the food security and livelihoods of millions of people as well as the economic and political stability of the region, due to increased tension between governments over the failures of regional cooperation,” the letter said.

“As the MRC’s mandate is not for local Mekong communities, there needs to be clarification on how local communities affected by Mekong dams can meaningfully participate in the decision-making process and how their participation will inform decisions made about whether or not a project will proceed,” it said.

“The rights of communities must be recognized.”

United they stand

Following the letter’s issuance, fishermen and villagers from Cambodia’s Tonle Sap and along the Mekong joined representatives from Thailand’s Pak Mun dam area at a conference in Bangkok this week to announce their opposition to dam construction in the Mekong Basin as well as support for including locals’ voices in transboundary impact reviews.

Residents of the Pak Mun dam area, situated nearly six kilometers (about 3.5 miles) west of the confluence of the Mun and Mekong rivers, must negotiate every year to have the dam gates opened to allow in fish from further upstream, said Somphong Viengchan, an activist who represents fisherman from the Ubon Ratchathani province in northeastern Thailand.

“If the Don Sahong is built, there won’t be fish to return to the Mun River anymore,” she said, according to a press release issued after the conference.

Fishermen from Cambodia and Thailand threw their support behind Laotians in riparian communities who want their views included in ecological impact reviews of dam projects, including Don Sahong.

A separate statement issued by the fishing community networks said the Lao government must immediately revise the decision to build the Xayaburi and Don Sahong dams and allow a cross-border study that would involve all people from Mekong communities.

“We insist that any act to prevent the people in Mekong countries from knowing about the dams or prohibiting them from raising their voices against the projects is a complete violation of human rights and our rights,” said a joint statement issued by the fishermen.

As the Lao government already has made the decision to build the Don Sahong dam, Laotians can’t do anything about it, Viengchan said at the conference.

Laotians risk arrest if they voice opposition to hydropower projects, she said.

“It is impossible for them to come out and exercise their rights,” Viengchan said. “Therefore, after the discussion, we six Thai Mekong riparian provinces have to do something to give voice via the Thai government to the Lao government about the [dam project’s] transboundary impact.”

International Rivers says the Don Sahong dam will block fish migration routes, destroy the Mekong River ecosystem and cut off the flow of sediments and nutrients.

Reported by RFA’s Lao Service. Translated by Bounchanh Mouangkham. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.

 

 

September 11, 2014

Cambodians oppose Lao dam

Cambodians oppose Lao dam

  • Published: 11 Sep 2014 at 20.03
  • Writer: Kyodo News Service

Click on the link to get more news and video from original source:  http://www.bangkokpost.com/most-recent/431752/cambodians-oppose-don-sahong-dam-in-laos

PHNOM PENH – Cambodians staged a protest Thursday to share the concerns of more than a quarter of a million people who are calling on Laos to suspend construction of the Don Sahong hydropower project on the Mekong River.

Cambodian activists hold placards and banners on a boat during the handover of petition signatures against the Don Sahong dam, in Phnom Penh on Thursday. (AFP photo)

At the protest Chhith Sam Ath, country director of the World Wide Fund for Nature, said Don Sahong Dam, a 260-megawatt hydropower project, could bring about the demise of important fisheries and critically endangered Mekong dolphins.

Chhith Sam Ath said around 85 dolphins are now restricted to a 190 kilometre stretch of the river between southern Laos and northeast Cambodia, with the dam project in southern Laos just 1 kilometre upstream of the dolphins’ core habitat.

In June, Laos announced its decision to have the Don Sahong project undergo a Mekong River Commission consultation process.

The process requires Laos to hold intergovernmental consultations before proceeding with the dam and conduct and share studies on the project’s environmental and social impact.

The process will take at least six months to complete.

The WWF said since May this year, 12,404 concerned Cambodians have added their names to a WWF public petition opposing the dam.

The local action, supported by members of the River Coalition in Cambodia under facilitation of the NGO Forum on Cambodia, was bolstered by a global online petition signed by 255,596 people representing more than 200 countries.

Chhith Sam Ath said, “more than a quarter of a million people around the world are sending a strong and clear message to Mega First. Stop Don Sahong Dam or risk the dubious ‘honor’ of precipitating the extinction of a species. Don Sahong Dam is a dangerous experiment and Mega First is gambling with the livelihoods of millions.”

Mega First is a Malaysian utility conglomerate.

The Stop Don Sahong event, organised by the WWF, included 25 community members from the Mekong and Tonle Sap, 50 youths from Phnom Penh, NGO representatives and Buddhist monks working on conservation awareness along the river.

As part of the event, boats travelled along the Mekong displaying banners calling on Mega First to respond to the huge public opposition to their project.

WWF said the dam builders intend to excavate millions of tonnes of rock using explosives, creating strong sound waves that could potentially kill dolphins who have highly sensitive hearing structures.

Increased boat traffic, changes in water quality and habitat degradation represent other risks.

It added that the dam will block the only channel available for dry-season fish migration, putting at risk the world’s most productive inland fisheries and the livelihoods of 60 million people living in the Lower Mekong Basin.

An Hou, chief of Community Fishery Network in the Sambor district of Kratie province in Cambodia, said, “Without fish and dolphins, our livelihoods will be destroyed.”

“We are helpless and we do not know what to do if the dam goes ahead. We ask Mega First’s executive chairman, Mr Goh (Nan Kioh), to stop the dam construction and rethink this project, and consider carefully the lives of millions of people who depend on the Mekong River,” he added.

The WWF called for an immediate halt to any further development of the Don Sahong project until the developers have addressed significant gaps identified in the project documents, such as the feasibility studies and the Environmental Impact Assessment.

Additionally, an independent and sound assessment of the Don Sahong project against more sustainable alternatives must be conducted.

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September 11, 2014

Public event held in Cambodia to oppose Laos’ Don Sahong dam

Public event held in Cambodia to oppose Laos’ Don Sahong dam

Public event held in Cambodia to oppose Laos’ Don Sahong dam

Click on the link to get more news and video from original source:  http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/xinhua-news-agency/140911/public-event-held-cambodia-oppose-laos-don-sahong-dam

PHNOM PENH, Sept. 11 (Xinhua) — World Wildlife Fund (WWF) held a public event in the capital city of Cambodia on Thursday to share the concerns of more than 250,000 people who are calling on Mega First Corporation to suspend construction of the controversial 260-megawatt Don Sahong hydropower project on the Mekong River in Laos.

Since May this year, 12,404 concerned Cambodians have added their names to a WWF public petition opposing Don Sahong dam. The local action was bolstered by a global online petition signed by 255,596 people representing more than 200 countries, the WWF said in its news statement.

Laos’ Don Sahong dam could herald the demise of important fisheries and critically endangered Mekong dolphins, the statement said, adding that around 85 dolphins are now restricted to a 190 km stretch of the Mekong River between southern Laos and northeast Cambodia, with the dam project in southern Laos located just 1 kilometer upstream of the dolphins’core habits.

“More than a quarter of a million people around the world are sending a strong and clear message to Mega First. Stop Don Sahong dam or risk the dubious honor of precipitating the extinction of a species,” said Chhith Sam Ath, country director of WWF-Cambodia. “Don Sahong dam is a dangerous experiment and Mega First is gambling with the livelihoods of millions.”

The public event on Thursday was attended by about 100 community members, NGO partners, youths and monks to reiterate their concerns of the impacts of the Don Sahong construction. As part of the event, a boat traveled along the Mekong River displaying banners calling on Mega First to respond to the huge public opposition to their project.

WWF said the dam will block the only channel available for dry- season fish migration, putting at risk the world’s most productive inland fisheries and the livelihoods of 60 million people living in the Lower Mekong Basin.

“Without fish and dolphins, our livelihoods will be destroyed,” said An Hou, chief of Community Fishery Network in Cambodia’s Kratie province. “We are helpless and we do not know what to do if the dam goes ahead.”

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September 4, 2014

Gate installation begins at Laos’ 1,285-MW Xayaburi hydropower plant

Gate installation begins at Laos’ 1,285-MW Xayaburi hydropower plant

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