Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Clinton calls for pause on dams

Clinton calls for pause on dams

Clinton calls for pause on dams

United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called for a “pause” on controversial hydropower dams proposed for the Mekong main stream at a summit in Bali at the weekend.

“This is a serious issue for all the countries that share the Mekong River, because if any country builds a dam, all countries will feel the consequences in terms of environmental degradation, challenges to food security, and impacts on communities,” Clinton said on Friday during a meeting between the US, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.

“I want to urge all parties to pause on any considerations to build new dams until we are all able to do a better assessment of the likely consequences.”

As many as 11 hydropower dams, nine in Laos and two in Cambodia, have been proposed for the Mekong main stream.

A study conducted for the Mekong River Commission, a regional body created to jointly manage the river, recommended a 10-year delay on decisions to build such projects due to a lack of information about potentially devastating consequences for the fish-dependent basin.

Clinton’s comments come on the heels of a resolution introduced last month by three leading US senators calling on the US to wield its influence to delay the proposed dams.

In April, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam failed to agree on whether to end discussions on Laos’ plans to build the first such proposal – the US$3.8 billion, 1,285 megawatt Xayaburi dam – instead deferring a decision on the matter until later this year. Both Cambodia and Vietnam have called for further study of the project’s impact.

Letters leaked last month from the Lao Ministry of Mines and Energy and Xayaburi Power, a subsidiary of the Thai company backing the project, indicate that Laos has given the go-ahead on a power purchasing agreement with the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

  • Breaking: PM says prominent human rights NGO ‘must close’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the Interior Ministry to investigate the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and potentially close it “because they follow foreigners”, appearing to link the rights group to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party's purported “revolution”. The CNRP - the

  • Rainsy and Sokha ‘would already be dead’: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday appeared to suggest he would have assassinated opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha had he known they were promising to “organise a new government” in the aftermath of the disputed 2013 national elections. In a clip from his speech

  • Massive ceremony at Angkor Wat will show ‘Cambodia not in anarchy’: PM

    Government officials, thousands of monks and Prime Minister Hun Sen himself will hold a massive prayer ceremony at Angkor Wat in early December to highlight the Kingdom’s continuing “peace, independence and political stability”, a spectacle observers said was designed to disguise the deterioration of

  • PM tells workers CNRP is to blame for any sanctions

    In a speech to workers yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen pinned the blame for any damage inflicted on Cambodia’s garment industry by potential economic sanctions squarely on the opposition party. “You must remember clearly that if the purchase orders are reduced, it is all