PR – Regional Dispute Continues over Don Sahong Dam

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

For Immediate Release

Bangkok, Thailand: Today, the Mekong River Commission’s Joint Committee held a special meeting in Vientiane to discuss the Prior Consultation process for the Don Sahong Dam.  At the meeting, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam were unable to reach a common agreement on how to proceed with the Don Sahong Dam and therefore the decision will be deferred to the Ministerial level.  While Laos insisted that the Don Sahong Dam’s Prior Consultation process is complete, its neighbors called for an extension of the process until further studies and additional consultation are carried out.

In response to this news, International Rivers released the following statement from Southeast Asia Program Director, Ame Trandem:

“The requests made by Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam to extend the prior consultation for the Don Sahong Dam are not unreasonable given the significant knowledge gaps that still exist and the high level of risk that the project’s proposed mitigation measures carry should they fail. As cooperation is a two-way process, Laos has the moral imperative to comply with neighboring requests.  With the dispute between all four Mekong countries ongoing, it is absolutely essential that all construction activities are halted immediately and that staff and equipment are withdrawn from the site. 

People from the Mekong region, as well as internationally, have spoken out against the Don Sahong Dam and the threat that it poses to the Mekong River. Communities in the Mekong deserve a voice in the decision-making process and have repeatedly called for the cancellation of the Don Sahong Dam.  Given the proximity of the Don Sahong Dam to the Cambodian border, and its inevitable transboundary impacts, which threaten the sustainability of the shared resources, agreement must be reached between all four countries and their people before proceeding. 

In the case of the Don Sahong Dam, the risks to regional fisheries, to the Irrawaddy dolphins, and to the livelihoods and food security of millions of people go beyond the borders of Laos. With such risks and high stakes for the Mekong, the Don Sahong Dam should not be built.”

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