Southeast Asia

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New Players Push Development Banks Aside in the Mekong

Saturday, June 16, 2007
The Mekong region has seen its share of "hydro-prospectors" set up stakes with the hopes of tapping the great river for hydroelectric dams. Over the years, the basin has been invaded by foreign agencies such as the US Bureau of Reclamation and Army Corps of Engineers (who proposed turning the Mekong into a series of reservoirs), UNDP (which said in 1995 that "the naturally flowing Mekong is destructive... if not dammed, the Mekong flows wasted to the sea"), French utilities, and of course big development banks such as the World Bank. Now, a new set of actors are developin

Dam the consequences: Big, bad dams return to South-East Asia

Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Article from TWO years ago the World Bank returned, after a decade's absence, to the business of financing giant hydroelectric dams. This was in spite of a damning (pardon the pun) report in 2000 from the World Commission on Dams, which had been set up to investigate the many concerns of economists, environmentalists and civil-society groups about big hydropower projects. The commission's report confirmed many of their fears about the underestimated costs and over-hyped benefits of such schemes. However, the project that the World Bank, along with the Asian Development B

Nam Theun 2 Investigation Exposes Project Failings

Wednesday, May 23, 2007
"Model" Project Leaves Lao Villagers in the Lurch The Nam Theun 2 (NT2) hydropower project in central Laos, touted by the World Bank and others as a "model" dam and development project, is in danger of becoming yet another failed effort, according to a report released today by International Rivers.The report, based on a recent site visit by International Rivers staff, shows that as Nam Theun 2’s construction hits the halfway point, the dam’s social and environmental programs lag critically behind. The failures revealed by International Rivers are in three impact

Strangling the Mekong

Monday, March 19, 2001
Newsweek, March 19, 2001, Atlantic EditionSECTION: ASIA; Pg. 26HEADLINE: Strangling the MekongBYLINE: By Ron Moreau and Richard Ernsberger Jr.; With reporting by Kevin Platt in Beijing HIGHLIGHT: A spate of dam building has stopped up Southeast Asia's mighty river and may threaten the livelihood of millions who live along its banks. Great civilizations have flourished along the banks of the Mekong River. The Cambodian kings who once ruled most of Southeast Asia built their glorious temples near the shores of the Tonle Sap lake, the Mekong's pumping heart. Later the kingdoms of Thailand, Laos a

Nam Theun 2’s First Year Marked by Delays in Implementation

Thursday, March 30, 2006
One year after World Bank approval for the Nam Theun 2 Hydropower Project in Laos, delays in implementation are causing concern amongst NGOs monitoring the project.While construction is proceeding rapidly, key elements vital to reducing the project’s negative impacts on people and the environment are behind schedule. International Rivers is concerned about the following aspects of project implementation: Many key documents have not yet been completed, including wildlife management plans for critically endangered species living on the Nakai Plateau, the Project Implementation Plan, and detail

World Bank Moves Forward on Nam Theun 2: Project’s Ability to Reduce Poverty Still in Question

Friday, January 28, 2005
The World Bank announced today that it is beginning appraisal of the proposed US$1.3 billion Nam Theun 2 Hydropower Project in Lao PDR. This decision marks an important milestone and indicates that World Bank Management intends to bring the project before the World Bank Board of Directors soon, likely by the end of March. Technical reviews commissioned by International Rivers and Environmental Defense have revealed serious flaws in the project’s environmental impact assessment and social development plan which call into question the project’s viability and scale of impact. "It

Nam Theun 2 Project Viability in Question: Plans Based on Inadequate Hydrologic Data

Wednesday, January 26, 2005
A technical review for the Nam Theun 2 Hydropower Project in Laos has found that the analysis of hydrologic data for the project is so deficient that it is impossible to predict how much water is available for power generation. The review, conducted by two professional hydrologists, examined the project’s Environmental Assessment and Management Plan and supporting data. The reviewers found that the lack of long–term stream flow and rain flow monitoring, coupled with questionable statistical analysis techniques, makes the project "high risk for meeting its power generation pred

Lao Hydropower Developer Terminates Agreement with IRN

Wednesday, April 7, 2004
International Rivers Network Response to Theun-Hinboun Power Company DecisionAn unusual cooperation agreement between US-based river protection organization International Rivers Network (IRN) and Lao dam developer Theun-Hinboun Power Company (THPC) was abruptly ended on March 23, 2004 by THPC.IRN and THPC signed an agreement last year to develop a review of the company’s work in mitigating impacts of the Theun-Hinboun Hydropower Project in Laos. THPC notified IRN of its decision to end cooperation three weeks after the month-long review began, based on concerns that the agreement did not fol

World Bank Urged to Quit Lao Dam Following Thai Crash and Critical Independent Review

Monday, September 22, 1997
Non-government organizations today called on the World Bank to reconsider its plan to support the Nam Theun 2 dam in Laos.1 Following recent events in Thailand - the proposed export market for the power produced by the dam - and a critical independent economic review of the project, NGOs say it represents an unacceptable risk for Laos, one of the world's poorest countries. The World Bank is due to decide in the next few weeks whether to move forward with preparing loan, equity and risk guarantee backing for the project. The project consortium - led by Australian company Transfield - are not ab


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