Citing broken regional agreements and a lack of due process, two international organisations are sitting out regional public discussions on the Don Sahong Hydropower Dam today.
International Rivers and the WWF, both vocal opponents of Laos’s 260-megawatt dam, criticised the project’s prior consultation process as going through the motions rather than evoking meaningful debate on potential hazards to the shared waterways.
“[Today’s] meeting is one more box to check within a regional consultation process which is already shown to be broken, and will be used by the Government of Laos to legitimize a project which is already under construction,” said International Rivers in a statement.
The dam’s six-month prior consultation process, which involves discussions and forums in the four Mekong countries, was announced in October, but backdated to begin on July 25th.
“Given that there is no clear indication from the MRC of the scope and expected outcome of the consultation process, and that all indications point to the dam being constructed anyway, we see limited benefit to participating in this consultation,” said Teak Seng, WWF’s Greater Mekong conservation director.
In an op-ed in October, Laos’s Vice Minister of Energy and Mines Viraphonh Viravong asserted Laos’ right to build dams on the Mekong, saying the Mekong River Commission “is not a building permits office”.