Archive for ‘Water’

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 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.”

Related News

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

August 29, 2014

Sounding off on ADB’s contentious Laos dam project

By Eliza Villarino, 28 August 2014

Click on the link to get more news and video from original source:  https://www.devex.com/news/sounding-off-on-adb-s-contentious-laos-dam-project-84227

Safety posters around the Nam Ngiep River warn people to watch out for blasting schedules and precautionary measures to prevent accidents. Photo by: International Rivers / CC BY-NC-SA 

The proposed construction of a dam on Nam Ngiep River in central Laos has drawn strong criticism. Recently, the Asian Development Bank approved $50 million for the project, and two international advocacy groups noted the lack of proper consultations with residents and the possible impact on their livelihoods.

“Even though the project has been approved, it should be a point of concern,” Tanya Lee, International Rivers program coordinator for Laos, told Devex this week. “ADB has — in a number of instances — invested in power projects [that] are not sustainable because of the effects on people’s livelihoods, their food security and the river ecosystems they depend on.”

ADB, meanwhile, has affirmed that the project complies with the bank’s safeguard standards.

Our coverage of the dam project prompted many Devex readers to weigh in as well over the past week.

Laos needs “a few good dams” to develop the industrial sector but it has overbuilt some which may result in insurmountable foreign debts, Nkajlo Vangh said.

Saripalli Suryanarayana suggested that the project could to be part of a bilateral trade agreement with neighboring Thailand. If the project won’t benefit Laos in the first place, why build such a massive dam that would displace 3,000 people?

ADB officials should make sure to visit the settlement area and proposed housing and marketing facilities, Suryanarayana said, to determine how much land would be lost and whether residents who are compelled to relocate are compensated sufficiently to establish livelihoods elsewhere. Given those concerns, Saripalli suggested that the bank fund a mid-size plant (a 20-50 MW facility) rather than a massive dam whose output is expected to be mostly exported to Thailand.

Allan Beesey pointed out previous instances when ADB “failed miserably” to ensure projects comply with safeguards.

“The fact that these things happen despite the rhetoric and substantial resources, and years of developing and refining safeguards suggests that there is something seriously amiss, and yes it has been pointed out here that politics is at play, and yes the ADB puts the countries’ political interests (read greed and power) first,” he said. “The ADB goes out of its way to keep good relations with its client countries, and this means vulnerable populations lose out despite the noises made about ethnic minority plans. More transparency is needed.”

Do you have the same concerns about this dam project? Is there anything else ADB should be doing to ensure the project will have a positive impact on Laos? Share your views by leaving a comment below.  

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About the author

Ejv 150x150

Eliza Villarino

 Eliza Villarino manages one of today’s leading publications on humanitarian aid, global health and international development, the weekly GDB. At Devex, she has helped grow a global newsroom, with talented journalists from major development hubs such as Washington, D.C, London and Brussels. She regularly writes about innovations in global development.
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