Media Briefing: Thai-Lao Hydropower Projects

International Rivers
Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Thursday December 13th, 10 am, Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand (FCCT)

In September, officials from Thailand and Laos joined the World Bank at a High-Level Forum on Sustainable Hydropower Development. Both countries affirmed the need for environmental and social standards when designing, building and implementing hydropower projects. But can their words be matched by deeds?

Laos has put hydropower center stage in its development goals, as a source of foreign-currency income and sustainable energy. Its government has vowed to strength its regulatory institutions and policies to secure maximum benefits for Lao people. In turn, Thailand's energy ministry, project developers, financiers, and the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) have acknowledged their responsibility to ensure that the Lao dams they support meet international environmental and social standards.

EGAT and the Lao government have announced plans to finalize agreements for four new Lao dams before the end of the year. At least two of these dams - the Theun-Hinboun Expansion Project and Nam Theun 1 - appear likely to cause significant social and environmental harm, thus making a mockery of the governments' pledges regarding "sustainable" hydropower development.

This press briefing by US-based campaign group International Rivers (formerly International Rivers Network, or IRN) will provide timely updates on Lao-Thai hydropower projects, including Nam Theun 2 and Theun-Hinboun, and an overview of proposed new dams, such as the Theun-Hinboun Expansion Project and Nam Theun 1. The speakers will include two consultants with extensive experience working in the hydropower sector in Laos and Shannon Lawrence, International Rivers' Lao Program Director. All media are invited to attend.

Media contacts: 

Shannon Lawrence,, +216 23 456 969
Carl Middleton,, +1 510 848 1155

More information: 

Statement by Dr. R.M Watson, Resource Management and Research.

Statement by Shannon Lawrence, International Rivers.

Read related opinion piece in Bangkok Post, 14 December