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River council to discuss dams

MEKONG River hydropower dam developments are expected to be on the agenda during the 16th meeting of the Mekong River Commission’s (MRC) Council, which kicks off in Hua Hin, Thailand, on Thursday.

Pich Dun, secretary general of the Cambodian National Mekong Committee, the local branch of the commission, said in addition to discussions of the MRC’s strategic plan for 2011-15, the meet would also address the environmental impacts of large hydropower projects on the Mekong mainstream in Cambodia and Laos.

“We will discuss how to assess and how to mitigate the impacts from the development of mainstream dams,” he said on Monday, adding that the MRC had already held many workshops to help developers understand the effects of mainstream dam development.

NGOs have expressed particular concern that effects from the Don Sahong dam project, planned on the Mekong just inside the Laotian border, will spill over into Cambodia.

A report released by US-based advocacy group International Rivers last year found that the construction of the dam would block migratory fish channels and trigger “devastating consequences for fisheries and fishery-based livelihoods locally and throughout the wider Mekong region”.



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