Mekong panel didn’t approve power deal

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Mekong panel didn’t approve power deal

August 27, 2012 1:00 am

Ref: “Xayaburi hydro project on schedule, Energy Ministry says”, Business, August 25.

I am writing to correct misleading statements in the article on the references to the Mekong River Commission.

The article says the power purchase agreement for the hydropower project has been signed by Egat and the developer and approved by the Mekong River Commission (MRC). I would like to clarify that the MRC does not and cannot approve any power purchase agreements for hydropower development projects proposed by its member countries. Consideration and approval of such agreements, project financing and other business aspects do not fall under the MRC’s role and responsibilities.

The MRC is not a regulatory or supranational body. As a regional, inter-governmental body, the role of the MRC in the prior consultation process for the proposed Xayaburi hydropower project is to facilitate regional dialogue and provide technical input and advice for the discussion on risks and benefits of such projects. We provide a platform for member countries to raise their concerns on, for example, impacts of the project on the livelihoods of the people and the environment and sustainability of the project. Through MRC the member countries can raise these concerns and work together to address issues of common interest.

The article also says the Laotian government suspended project construction on the Mekong but allowed inland work based on the MRC’s advice. I would like to clarify that the Lao delegation has informed other MRC member countries that the construction at the project site is the preparatory and exploratory work, not the construction of the dam itself. Laos has not stated that there was ongoing construction of the dam on the Mekong.

Hans Guttman

CEO, Mekong River Commission Secretariat

Vientiane

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