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Talking timelines: To Laos, dam is foregone conclusion

Just before the regional consultation period for Laos’ Don Sahong dam comes to a head at a final meeting in Vietnam on Sunday, Laos government officials are already espousing plans and timelines for the project’s completion.

“The prior consultation will be completed by January 25, 2015. After that, the company will sign some contract agreements with the contractors.… After that, they can start with the excavation and construction work. The project will be completed by 2018,” Daovong Phonekeo, director-general of Laos’ Department of Energy Policy and Planning, told Voice of America.

Phonekeo also insisted that, “For the development of the Mekong River, we don’t need consensus.”

Laos’ deputy minister of energy and mines also claimed a recently concluded expert review found the Don Sahong “would have no significant trans-boundary impacts”.

However, the review, available online, makes a different point, stating that “insufficient attention has been paid to potential cross border impacts on fishery communities in Cambodia”.

The Cambodian National Mekong Committee could not be reached yesterday, but during a meeting to finalise its position earlier this month, members unanimously opposed the Don Sahong dam.

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