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Groups slam dam go-ahead

Groups slam dam go-ahead

Advocacy groups yesterday voiced their “strong disappointment” over the approval of the concession agreement for the controversial Don Sahong hydropower dam in Laos.

The huge dam was given the go-ahead by the Laotian parliament in August, despite outstanding requests from affected communities, governments and civil society groups in Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand.

The requests were “yet to be meaningfully responded to”, and should have been before a decision was made, according to a prior consultation agreement reached last year, a statement from the Rivers Coalition of Cambodia said yesterday.

It added that Laos “does not abide by the spirit of” an agreement reached in June in which the four Mekong River Commission members decided that a decision on the dam should be taken to the government level because they could not decide how to proceed.

Situated just 2 kilometres upstream from the Laos border with Stung Treng province, the 260-megawatt dam is expected to have a significant impact on Cambodia’s fish stocks, which are the main source of protein for many in the country.

Laos says it has devised sufficient mitigation measures.

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