Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Halt building of dams on Lower Mekong: NGOs

Halt building of dams on Lower Mekong: NGOs

Halt building of dams on Lower Mekong: NGOs

More than 140 NGOs have called on the Mekong River Commission to freeze all hydropower dam construction in the Lower Mekong River.

“The degradation of fish production in the river can’t be replaced and the blockage of sediment will affect the fisheries resources in the river’s flood plain areas and the Great Lake of Cambodia,” notes the open letter, released late last month and signed by 149 international and local groups including Adhoc, the 3S Rivers Protection Network, and the Fisheries Action Coalition Team.

“[We] would like to request to the four MRC governments of the Lower Mekong mainstream not to construct any hydropower dam in the Mekong mainstream now or in the future,” the letter says.

An estimated 80 per cent of the 60 million people living in the Lower Mekong River rely on it as a source of livelihood and food.

Clearly, the stakes are high, said Youk Senglong, a program director at FACT, who pointed out that there has been insufficient research by the companies involved in delineating the impacts of the dam construction.

“We need a more high-quality impact assessment, which is why we asked [in the open letter] for a delay in construction,” Senglong told the Post.

Though environmental groups have lambasted their construction and a 1995 Mekong Treaty requires consensus from the four affected governments, hydropower projects on the river’s mainstream have been moving forward.

Construction has begun on Laos’ controversial Xayaburi dam, while the second of 11 planned mainstream dams – the Don Sahong – has also recently seen development.

Te Navuth, secretary-general of the Cambodia National Mekong Committee, said no notification of any preliminary building at Don Sahong dam had been confirmed or received by the committee.

“We are issuing a request to the committee’s Laos representatives” for further information about any preliminary building at Don Sahong dam, he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh authorities ban march for Human Rights Day

    Phnom Penh authorities have banned a planned march as local NGOs and workers’ unions gear up to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on Monday, with a youth group leader saying they would march nonetheless. The UN

  • Phnom Penh’s Jet’s Container Night Market shuts down

    The famous Jet’s Container Night Market in central Phnom Penh has shut down due to the high cost of the land rental, company representatives claim. Jet’s Container Night Market is the largest such market in Phnom Penh. It operated for just over two

  • Hun Sen rejects ‘rift’ rumours spread by ‘stupid gangsters’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday denied a “rift” among top leaders of the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), and rejected claims that Senate president Say Chhum and Interior Minister Sar Kheng were set to be removed from their positions as rumours spread by “gangsters”.

  • EU ambassador to Cambodia: Rights a ‘work in progress’

    The EU ambassador to Cambodia has called human rights “a work in progress” and said the 28-nation bloc has “carefully” noted last week’s statement by the government on taking further steps to strengthen democracy and the political sphere in the Kingdom. The EU marked