News / Asia

Laos Agrees to Studies for Second Mekong Dam

Villagers hold fish-shaped signs and placards while they pose for photographers at Thailand's Administrative Court in Bangkok, June 24, 2014.
Villagers hold fish-shaped signs and placards while they pose for photographers at Thailand's Administrative Court in Bangkok, June 24, 2014.
Reuters

A Laotian official said on Friday his government would allow environmental assessments before proceeding with construction of a dam on the Mekong River that activists and neighboring states say could hurt the livelihoods of fishermen and farmers.

Laos went ahead with the much bigger Xayaburi dam despite opposition from Vietnam and Cambodia. It was more conciliatory over the Don Sahong dam at a meeting in Bangkok of the Mekong River Commission Council grouping countries along the river.

Officials from Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam agreed on Thursday to the consultation process for the dam, which is still in the planning phase.

Viraphone Viravong, Laos's vice minister of energy and mines, told reporters that construction would not start during  the six-month consultation process.

“No, we will not start building. That is courtesy. Laotians are courteous,” he told reporters.

Don Sahong is the second of 11 hydroelectric dams planned for the Mekong mainstream and forms part of Laos's ambitions to become the “battery of Southeast Asia”.

It will generate 260 megawatts of electricity, mainly for export to Thailand and Cambodia compared to Xayaburi's 1,260 megawatts, around 95 percent of which will go to Thailand.

Ame Trandem, Southeast Asia program director for the environmentalist group International Rivers, welcomed the decision, but said further action was needed “to ensure that the rapid progress of dam building on the Mekong ... does not go unchecked”.

Laos's dam projects have raised concern about disturbance of fish migration as well as the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of fishermen.

Viraphone said Laos was addressing such concerns.

“No matter what happens to Don Sahong, whether it is delayed or stopped, we will continue to improve fish migration because that is the only way to have a substainable fish industry in Laos,” he said.

Laos accepted environmental and other studies for the Xayaburi dam after pressure from its neighbors, but went ahead with construction even while they were being conducted.

Xayaburi is now almost 40 percent finished, Viraphone said.  “Everything has gone according to plan.”

The recommendations resulting from the studies of the Don Sahong project would not be binding on Laos.

“It is still a sovereign decision by the member country whether they go ahead with the project or not,” Hans Guttman, head of the Mekong River Commission, said after the meeting. 

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Christmas Gains Popularity in Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid