NGOs against Mekong dams

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Article from Bangkok Post

More than 200 civil and environmental groups from 30 countries have called on the Mekong River Commission (MRC) to block the planned construction of six dams on the Mekong river.

In a petition sent to the commission's chief executive officer and donors of the MRC, the NGOs said they were concerned about the revival of plans to build dams on the lower Mekong and the failure of the MRC to defend the ecological integrity of the river.

According to NGOs, the governments of Laos, Cambodia and Thailand have granted permission to Thai, Malaysian and Chinese companies to conduct feasibility studies for six large hydro-power dams _ four in Laos, one in Cambodia and one on the Thai-Laos border. ''The Mekong is a vast international resource and therefore decisions affecting its use and management cannot be undertaken without due decision of the countries sharing the river,'' said the letter.

The NGOs urged the MRC to conduct a technical assessment and review the feasibility study of the dam projects.

If the MRC fails to protect the river from unsound projects, the group said, they would urge the MRC donors to review funding of the commission.

The MRC is an international, country-driven organisation that provides the institutional framework to promote cooperation among the countries sharing the Mekong.