Over Sixteen Thousand Call on Regional Governments to Save the Mekong

Thursday, June 18, 2009

In a bold outpouring of public concern for Southeast Asia’s Mekong River, more than 16,000 people from within the six-country Mekong region and around the world have signed a “Save the Mekong” petition urging governments to abandon plans for hydropower development along the river’s mainstream.

On June 18, representatives from the Save the Mekong coalition handed the petition to Thailand’s Prime Minister, H.E. Abhisit Vejjajiva, and asked him to work with regional leaders to protect the Mekong River and to pursue better ways to meet the region’s electricity needs.

Over the past two years, 11 big hydropower dams have been proposed for the Mekong River’s lower mainstream. These dams threaten migratory fish stocks, regional food security, and the livelihoods and incomes of millions of people.

The petition, signed by thousands of farmers and fishers, as well as the wider public, demonstrates the widespread public concern about these dams. Many people wrote personal messages for the region’s leaders on their postcards:

“I love my country. I don’t want to see some people destroy my home country for greed. So I would like to do my best to protect our Mekong!” wrote Sneampay from Laos.

The Save the Mekong coalition is a partnership of local and international groups, academics, journalists, artists, fishers, farmers and ordinary people – including International Rivers – that is working to protect the Mekong River, its resources and people's livelihoods.

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