Southeast Asia

Scientists Warn of Catastrophe for Food Security in the Mekong

To everyone who is nervously watching the Mekong governments gamble with the region’s food security: the situation just became more complicated. Scientists, journalists, and activists have worked for years to raise concerns about 11 proposed dams on the Mekong River that would leave millions of people without enough food to survive. Numerous studies have shown that these 11 dams would block fish migrations, inundate agricultural lands, and uproot communities on an unprecedented scale. A global movement has rallied around the message that these dams should not be built on the Mekong River

Thailand Defies Neighbors on Contentious Xayaburi Dam

For Immediate Release February 29, 2012 Government moves forward with project despite regional oppositionBangkok, Thailand – As the governments of the Mekong region continue to deliberate on the proposed Xayaburi Dam in Laos, the Thai government has defied the regional decision-making process and pushed ahead with the project’s implementation. Recent oversight hearings by the Thai Senate and the National Human Rights Commission confirm that the government has joined Laos in concluding that the regional process is complete, thereby allowing Thai developer Ch. Karnchang to proceed with const

Indigenous Leaders in Malaysia Launch Campaign Against 12 Dams

February 21, 2012 For Immediate Release Representatives from affected communities in Sarawak, Malaysia gathered to kick off their campaign against 12 planned dams in Sarawak with a demand for consultation and a public referendum Miri, Sarawak, Malaysia - For the first time in Sarawak’s history, 150 indigenous representatives from areas already affected or to be affected by dam projects came together to share their experiences at a conference organized by the newly founded ‘SAVE Rivers Network’. The conclusion to be drawn from the conference, which took place from 16th to 18t

Xayaburi Dam: What Next?

On December 8th, we watched the future of the Mekong River hang by the threads of a single meeting. Government ministers from Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam met to decide whether to approve Laos’ controversial Xayaburi Dam, the first of 12 large dams across the Mainstream Mekong River. Scientists warn that the dams would decimate the Mekong River’s fish population and threaten the food security of more than 2 million people, but the projects have crept forward nonetheless. After hours of deliberation, the four governments issued a vaguely worded statement calling for “further

Mekong Governments Delay Xayaburi Dam Pending Further Study

Thursday, December 8, 2011
Civil society demands clear commitment from Laos to stop all construction activitiesSiem Reap, Cambodia – In a crucial decision for the people and ecosystems of the Mekong River Basin, the governments of Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam agreed today to delay the Xayaburi Dam, the first of eleven dams proposed for the Mekong River, pending further study on the impacts of the proposed Mekong mainstream dams. Japan and other international donors will be asked to assist in conducting the studies. No timetable for the delay was announced. The government representatives did not give a joint p

Dams of destruction threaten Mekong

Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Originally published in The Bangkok Post This week a decision will be made in Siem Reap, Cambodia, that could shape the future of the mighty Mekong River and fundamentally alter the lives of 60 million people. The Mekong River at the site of the planned Xayaburi hydropower project in Laos. Experts say the dam will wreak havoc on the ecology of the entire Lower Mekong region. The governments of Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam will meet tomorrow and Thursday near the ancient temple of Angkor Wat, to discuss the controversial Xayaburi Dam in Laos, which threatens to become the first dam on

Guilty as the Getaway Driver? Thailand and the Xayaburi Dam

Dam construction
On December 7-8th, the governments of Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam will meet and are likely to decide if the controversial Xayaburi Dam will go forward. The dam would be located in Laos, but would cause significant harm in Cambodia and Vietnam – so who takes the blame? The dam would drastically reduce the number of fish that are able to migrate upstream to their breeding grounds, depriving people in the region of an essential source of food and jobs. It would also prevent nutrients from traveling downstream to farmers who grow rice and other crops in Cambodia and the Mekong River De

Laos Uses New Report to Greenwash the Xayaburi Dam

Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Biased and incompetent Pöyry report makes mockery of Laos’ international obligations regarding the Xayaburi Dam Bangkok, Thailand: Ahead of a December regional ministerial meeting to decide whether or not to approve the proposed Xayaburi Dam, the Lao government is using a report by Swiss company Pöyry Energy AG in a desperate bid to gain approval from neighboring countries for the first lower Mekong Mainstream Dam. Despite acknowledging major uncertainties about what harm the project will bring to Lao people and neighboring countries, the Pöyry report recommends that the dam should be bu

Southeast Asian Dam Still a Carbon Source Ten Years Later

Nam Leuk Reservoir, an ADB-funded project
Nam Leuk Reservoir, an ADB-funded project China International Water & Electricity Corp One of the first reservoir emissions studies ever to be conducted in Southeast Asia has just been published, and the results may be a wake-up call to dam builders trying to win carbon credits for hydropower projects in Southeast Asia. The international team of researchers spent two years measuring the greenhouse gas emissions from two sub-tropical reservoirs in Laos, the Nam Ngum and the Nam Leuk reservoirs (the latter of which diverts water from the Nam Leuk River to the Nam Ngum Reservoir). What they f

Technical Review of the Xayaburi Environmental Impact Assessment

The site of the proposed Xayaburi Dam In April 2011, five international Mekong specialists carried out a critical analysis of the Xayaburi Dam Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). The experts described the EIA as flawed and substandard. The five specialists in the fields of fisheries, livelihood restoration, consultation and water quality expressed surprise that an EIA of such poor quality was being submitted for a project with such far-reaching impacts as the first dam on the lower Mekong Mainstream. The reviews were submitted to the Mekong River Commission as part of the regional consult


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