The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has applauded the government’s decision not to develop a hydropower dam on the Mekong River after confirmation came from the Ministry of Mines and Energy on Thursday.
The ministry statement, sent to the WWF and obtained by The Post on Thursday said there were no plans to build hydropower dams in the main body of the Mekong River in its newly approved 10-year Energy Master Plan 2020-2030.
In a statement, WWF Cambodia country director Teak Seng said: “Maintaining a free-flowing lower Mekong in Cambodia is the best decision for both its people and nature. WWF commends the Cambodian government for ruling out hydropower dam development and instead pursuing other energy sources, such as solar, to meet the Kingdom’s power demand.
“WWF stands ready to work with the government to support the development of a system-wide sustainable energy plan that promotes clean and renewable energy alternatives, contributing to the country’s energy goals without damming Cambodia’s remaining free-flowing rivers.”
The ministry’s director-general of energy and spokesman, Victor Jona told The Post on Thursday that the government has no plans to develop a hydropower dam on the Mekong River mainstream within the next 10 years from 2020-2030.
When asked if the dam would be developed in the future he said: “It depends on the need.”
Marc Goichot, WWF freshwater lead in the Asia Pacific said in the statement that this is the best possible news for the sustainable future of the tens of millions of residents who would have been affected.
“This is crucial for the spectacular biodiversity relying on the river, particularly the Irrawaddy river dolphins, whose highest population is recorded in the area.
“Science clearly shows that dams would significantly reduce wild fisheries and block sediment flows, speeding up the sinking and shrinking of the delta and threatening the future of Vietnam’s major rice basket, countless fishing communities and long-term economic sustainability.
“Cambodia’s correct decision is an example for other countries, recognising free-flowing rivers provide invaluable benefits for people and the countless wild species that they depend on,” he said.