PR – Mekong Leaders' Pliancy over Mainstream Dams a Blow for the River

Saturday, April 5, 2014


Second Mekong River Commission Summit in Ho Chi Minh City
Second Mekong River Commission Summit in Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam: In response to the news from the 2nd Summit of the Mekong River Commission that Mekong leaders have reaffirmed their commitment to the sustainable use of the Mekong River and will expedite studies to better address threats facing the basin, International Rivers released the following statement from Southeast Asia Program Director Ame Trandem:

“While International Rivers is pleased that Mekong leaders recognize the negative environmental and social impacts that hydropower development poses to the mainstream, we are disappointed that leaders did not condemn the current rush of dam building on the Mekong mainstream. The ability to make informed decisions, based on sound data and scientific study, should be a prerequisite for starting deliberations over whether to build dams on the Mekong River mainstream. Words without actions are meaningless; the Lao government must stop its free reign of Mekong mainstream dam building. We expect all construction on the Xayaburi and Don Sahong dams to end immediately and that no further decisions or actions be taken until the Mekong River Commission Council Study, Vietnam’s Delta Study, and transboundary impact assessments for each project have been completed and the results have been comprehensively reviewed.”

“In a press conference following the Summit, Vietnam’s Minister for Natural Resources and the Environment, Nguyen Minh Quang, informed reporters that Vietnam and Cambodia had re-iterated their position made at the last MRC Joint Committee meeting that all projects on the Mekong mainstream, including the Don Sahong Dam, should undergo prior consultation according to the MRC’s PNPCA process. Vietnam recommended to the Lao government that the Don Sahong Dam should not move forward until after Vietnam’s Delta Study is finished. Vietnam's statement highlights the backward approach that is currently being taken to dam building on the Mekong. This build first and study second approach is not the path to sustainable development.”

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