Southeast Asia

Laos' Don Sahong Dam Could Affect Millions: Report

Thursday, August 27, 2009
Open letter reveals widespread concern amongst scientific community An independent scientific report made public last week has revealed that the Don Sahong Dam, proposed for the Mekong River’s mainstream in southern Laos, could threaten the food security of millions of people in Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam. The report was written by Dr. Ian Baird, an affiliate of the Polis Project on Ecological Governance at the University of Victoria, Canada, and a leading expert on fisheries in the Khone Falls area of Southern Laos. According to Dr. Baird’s research, the Don Sahong Dam would blo

Saving the Mekong

Wednesday, May 6, 2009
"Saving the Mekong" produced by Eureka Films portrays the lives of fishers in the Siphandone area of Southern Laos. The documentary reveals how their future is threatened by a plan to build a large dam across the Mekong River that would block major fish migrations and puts at risk already endangered species, such as the Irrawaddy dolphin. Includes an interview with Pianporn Deetes, formerly of Living Rivers Siam, and now the Thailand Campaign Coordinator for International Rivers.

Proposed Lower Sesan 2 Dam, Cambodia Fails to Uphold Best Practice

Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Phnom Penh - Plans to construct a large hydropower dam near the confluence of the Sesan and Srepok rivers in Sesan District, Stung Treng Province may be ill-advised given the project’s poor feasibility process, which has not adequately considered the project’s negative environmental and social impacts and the needs of affected communities living up and downstream of the proposed dam-site, reveals a recently published report “Best Practices in Compensation and Resettlement for Large Dams: The Case of the Planned Lower Sesan 2 Hydropower Project in Northeastern Cambodia.” The report, c

Human Costs of Planned Salween Mega-Dam in War-Torn Shan State

Tuesday, August 4, 2009
A new report released today provides a rare glimpse of communities struggling to survive amidst civil war and abuses in the flood zone of the tallest dam planned for Southeast Asia in southern Shan State of Burma. The report “Roots and Resilience” by the Shan Sapawa Environment Organization focuses on the ecologically unique area of Keng Kham, a community of 15,000 that was forcibly relocated over ten years ago; the majority have fled to Thailand. Today the estimated 3,000 that remain are managing to maintain their livelihoods and culture despite the constant threats of the Burma Army

Upstream or Downstream, We All Have the Same Mother

Thursday, March 26, 2009
MILLIONS in the Southeast Asian region's trans-boundary river basins are facing the devastating effects from planned hydropower development. Sao Rawangsri, a 70-year-old Mekong River fisherman in Thailand's Chiang Khong District may have to give up his occupation. "I am a fisherman, as was my father and his father. There used to be a lot of fish in the Mekong River. That is how we made our living. But the dams far up the river have destroyed it," he says, pointing towards the barriers that have been built upstream in China. Sunday, March 22 was World Water Day, and a time to reflect upon the l

New Coalition Launched to Save the Mekong River

Friday, March 13, 2009
On March 14th, the International Day of Action for Rivers, the Save the Mekong coalition launched a new campaign to protect the Mekong River from eleven dams planned for the river's mainstream. The Mekong River is the region's lifeline. If built, these dams would destroy the river's rich fisheries, placing at risk the livelihoods and food security of millions of people. You can support this new campaign by signing the coalition’s online petition to ask the region's Prime Ministers to keep the Mekong mainstream free of dams. The Save the Mekong coalition is a new partnership of local and

The Sleeping Dragon Awakes: China's Hydropower Developers in SE Asia

Saturday, November 1, 2008
Chinese hydropower developers and financiers have figured prominently in the renewed push for hydro development in the Mekong Region. This feature article published in the journal Watershed introduces the new hydropower proponents, describes the regional context that has seen warming relations between Chinese and the Mekong Region’s political and business elites, and discusses the implications of China’s growing role. Download the full article or the text-only version. Download the full edition of Watershed journal.

Laos dams threaten homes, incomes and fish, say campaigners

Friday, October 3, 2008
[Alertnet] River-rich Laos is known as much for its laid-back culture as its lush scenery. But the landlocked country plans to jumpstart its sleepy image with an ambitious - and controversial - plan to become the "battery of Southeast Asia", harnessing power from the mighty Mekong river and its tributaries. Six big hydropower dams are already in operation, seven are under construction, 12 more are in the pipeline and development deals are pending for another 35, according to a recent report from advocacy group International Rivers (IR). IR warns hundreds of thousands of Lao villagers risk losi

Mekong at Risk: Report Damns Plans to Make Laos the “Battery of Southeast Asia”

Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Report recommends moratorium on damming Mekong mainstream, life-of-project payments to the poor, transparent basin-wide planning, enforcement of environmental laws and exploration of economic alternatives.VIENTIANE, LAOS – An 88-page report released today by International Rivers chronicles the social and environmental debt created by river-rich Laos’ unprecedented dam-building boom. Environmental scientist Dr. Carl Middleton, International Rivers’ Mekong Program Coordinator, will present the report to government and donor representatives today in Vientiane, the Lao capital, at an officia

Power Surge: The Impacts of Rapid Dam Development in Laos

Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Laos has declared it a national priority to catalyze the country's development through the rapid construction of large dams that export high-risk hydropower to neighboring Thailand and Vietnam. With six big dams already in operation, seven currently under construction, at least 12 more in the works and development deals pending on another 35, Laos is in the midst of an unprecedented dam-building boom. A new report from International Rivers, Power Surge, chronicles the social and environmental debt created by this boom. Power Surge's 11 in-depth case studies reveal that Lao villagers are being


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