On April 19, 2011, government representatives from Laos, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia met to conclude the regional decision-making process on the Xayaburi Dam, the first dam proposed for the Lower Mekong Mainstream. At this meeting the four lower Mekong Basin countries agreed that the decision on the Xayaburi Dam be deferred and elevated to the Ministerial level. The April 19 decision brings a much needed, if temporary, reprieve to the mighty Mekong River.
Whilst Laos proposed to proceed with the dam, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam called for an extension to the decision-making process, citing concerns about transboundary impacts and knowledge gaps that require further study and public consultation. There has been widespread public opposition to the project both regionally and internationally, including criticism of the flawed decision-making process and poor Environmental Impact Assessment.
The Xayaburi Dam is the single greatest threat currently facing the Mekong River and its people. The project would resettle around 2,100 people and directly affect a further 202,000 people living near the dam due to impacts on the river’s ecology and fisheries. The dam threatens 41 fish species with extinction, including the critically endangered Mekong Giant Catfish. A further 23 to 100 migratory species will also be threatened. Due to the devastating and irreversible risks the dam poses to the river’s ecosystem and to food security in the region, International Rivers believes that the project should be canceled. In the coming months, we will continue to pressure the Lao government to cancel the Xayburi Dam, and protect the Lower Mekong Mainstream.
For further information see:
- April 19 Press Release: Lao Disagrees with Neighbors on Xayaburi Dam
- April 19 msnbc Article: Mekong River Dam at Center of High-Stakes Conservation Fight
- April 19 Financial Times Article: Mekong River Dam Decision Delayed
- April 19 Reuters Article: Pressure Mounts to Delay «Dangerous» $3.5 Bln Mekong River Dam
- Read the Mekong River Commission’s April 19 Press Release
- April 18 Press Release: Outrage over Secret Xayaburi Dam Construction
- Factsheet on the Xayaburi Dam
- Factsheet on the Strategic Environmental Assessment
- Ame Trandem’s blog «The Pandora’s Box of Mekong Dams«
- Our webpages on Mekong mainstream dams and the Xayaburi Dam
- Media Kit on Xayaburi Dam