News / Asia

Environment Groups Plan to Oppose Laos Mega Dams

FILE - Ethnic Vietnamese fishermen collect catches from the Mekong river near Arey Ksat village at the outskirt of Phnom Penh, Cambodia,  Feb. 6, 2014.
FILE - Ethnic Vietnamese fishermen collect catches from the Mekong river near Arey Ksat village at the outskirt of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Feb. 6, 2014.
Gabrielle Paluch
This week officials from Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand will meet to discuss the impact of planned hydropower dams on the lower Mekong region. But several environmental groups have already concluded the main Xayaburi dam in Laos will devastate communities that depend on the Mekong river for food, and they want to stop the project.
 
Ahead of this week’s meeting of the Mekong River Commission, 39 international environmental groups called on the government to halt construction on the Xayaburi dam before February 2015.  The declaration also called on the government of Thailand to cancel its agreement to buy electricity generated by the dam.
 
The Xayaburi is the first of 11 proposed dams to be built on the Lower Mekong River. The $3.8 billion, Thai-financed dam is intended primarily to produce electricity for the Thai market. Officials from countries in the region have been regularly meeting to discuss the planned dams, and review assessments of their environmental impact on a river basin that is a critical food source for some 60 million people.
 
The World Wildlife Fund's Marc Goichot, who is a regional expert on hydropower says more time is still needed to review these projects.  
 
"The Xayaburi project will only contribute about 2% to the demand of Thailand and the demand of Thailand doesn't really need the project until 2026, so there's no rush," said Goichot. "The suspension of this power-purchasing agreement will give time to all parties to study the impact."

Construction has already begun on the Xayaburi dam, despite objections voiced by downstream countries Vietnam and Cambodia. Activists now hope they can stop the project before a coffer dam is built next February, which would divert water to allow construction of the main dam on the riverbed. The World Wildlife Fund says this would be the first step in the construction process to cause major irreversible damage to the river's ecosystem.
 
The Mekong Agreement, signed by Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam in 1995, precludes construction from going forward without mutual consent from other governments.
 
An initial assessment of the environmental impact was said to fall short of international standards, and further impact assessments are ongoing. At the MRC's last summit, the governments of Vietnam and Cambodia requested that construction be halted for 10 years, or until the impact can be accurately assessed.

You May Like

Sunni-Shi’ite Divide Threatens Middle East Stability

Analysts say ancient dispute that traces back to Islamic Revolution is fueling modern day unrest More

Shifting Demographics Lie Beneath Racial Tensions in Ferguson

As Missouri suburb morphed from majority white to majority black, observers say power structure remained static More

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Restriction is toughest since Soviet era, though critics reject move as patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: brandon from: texas
April 05, 2014 12:31 PM
There is no way to stop them from building The Xayaburi Dam, it's already 30% complete.
Those who try to stop this project will only lose their face and credibility
before you try to stop them, think throughly, put yourself in their shoes, what it's like to be poor, it's their true sovereignty, will you feed them from their hunger or let them progress for their benefits.
besides this is a new era, don't need white people to come oppress the poor people of Laos anymore.
it's very convenient for you to look down on others but not realizing their needs, we are all human beings.
put yourself in their shoes and realize what is your benefits to them, you don't feed them. don't play world police on them, they are poor and need a way out.


by: Anonymous
April 03, 2014 8:38 PM
10 years to long

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid