Nam Theun 2 Dam Inauguration Hides Project’s Real Costs
More Than 100,000 People Continue to Suffer ImpactsNam Theun 2 Hydropower Project in central Laos was inaugurated this week, although there is little reason to celebrate. As tens of thousands of people continue to suffer the impacts of the project, 34 civil society groups and individuals from 18 countries have called on the World Bank and Asian Development Bank to take immediate action to meet their promises to affected communities.
The project has displaced 6,200 indigenous people on the Nakai Plateau and affected more than 110,000 people downstream who depend on the Xe Bang Fai and Nam Theun rivers for their livelihoods. The most urgent unresolved issues that must be addressed include:
- Communities on the Nakai Plateau still have no means for a sustainable livelihood, threatening their long-term food security
- Tens of thousands of people living downstream along the Xe Bang Fai River have suffered poor water quality, diminished fisheries and flooding of their riverbank gardens, and the project’s funding is inadequate to restore their livelihoods
- The Nam Theun 2’s reservoir has opened up access to the Nakai-Nam Theun National Protected Area, exacerbating logging and poaching and threatening its ecological integrity
- Whilst the project was supposed to improve standards for hydropower development more generally in Laos, there is little evidence that this has happened.
International Rivers will continue to monitor the Nam Theun 2 Dam and ensure that the project’s developers and funders are held fully responsible for addressing the project’s impacts on people and the environment.
- Press Release : Nam Theun 2 Dam Inauguration Hides Real Costs of the Project (December 7, 2010)
- Civil society letter to the World Bank and ADB (December 6, 2010)
- Fact sheet on the Nam Theun 2 Hydropower Project (December 2010)
- 9 minute video program on Nam Theun 2: “Risky Business”
- Read Science magazine's article (23 April, 2010)