Mekong Mainstream Dams

Outrage Over Secret Xayaburi Dam Construction

Monday, April 18, 2011
Appeal to Region’s Governments to Reject Dam at Key Mekong River Commission Meeting Tomorrow Mekong activists are outraged to learn that preliminary construction activities have already begun on the controversial Xayaburi Dam, the first dam proposed for the lower Mekong Mainstream, as reported in yesterday’s Bangkok Post. The report was published on the eve of tomorrow’s Mekong River Commission (MRC) meeting in Vientiane, which is supposed to decide whether to approve the project. “That project preparations have already commenced on the Xayaburi Dam demonstrates the company's and

Mekong Under Threat

Site of the proposed Xayaburi Dam
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Governments to Decide on First Mainstream Dam April 19Site of the proposed Xayaburi Dam In September 2010, the Xayaburi Dam was the first of eleven proposed dams for the Lower Mekong River's mainstream to be submitted for approval by the region’s governments through a regional decision-making process hosted by the Mekong River Commission (MRC). Although the process has been severely flawed and the project's Environmental Impact Assessment of extremely poor quality, the decision date for this process is Tuesday April 19, 2011. The Xayaburi Dam is the single greatest threat

Media Kit on the Xayaburi Dam

Mekong River downstream of the Xayaburi Dam Site
Mekong River downstream of the Xayaburi Dam Site The Xayaburi Dam is the first of eleven dams proposed for the Lower Mekong River in Southeast Asia. It officially began construction in 2012 and as of May 2017 is more than 70% complete. As the first dam on the Mekong mainstream, there is serious concern it will open the way for further dam development, with significant consequences for the Mekong River and its people. Despite ongoing and unaddressed concerns regarding the transboundary impacts of the Xayaburi dam, especially on fish migration, the Lao government has moved forward with plans fo

Official Review of the Xayaburi Dam Reveals Project Flaws

A long-brewing regional debate over whether or not to build the proposed Xayaburi Dam on the Mekong River has hit boiling point. If there were any delusional fantasies remaining that mainstream dam building could be sustainable, the Mekong River Commission’s new independent technical review of the proposed Xayaburi Dam has surely dissolved them. The MRC Secretariat’s expert review of the Xayaburi Dam’s key project documents – released a few days ago – highlights the grave environmental and social harms associated with the project, while also identifying considerable knowledg

263 NGOs Call on Mekong Governments to Cancel Plans for Xayaburi Dam

Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Bankgkok, Thailand – 263 non-governmental organizations from 51 countries submitted a letter yesterday urging the Prime Ministers of Lao PDR and Thailand to immediately cancel the proposed Xayaburi Dam on the Mekong River’s mainstream in Northern Laos.   The letter urges the Government of Lao PDR to cancel its plans to build the project and for the Thai Government to end plans to import its electricity.  The letter is submitted in advance of the Mekong River Commission’s (MRC) 33rd Joint Committee Meeting, scheduled for 25-26 March in Sihanoukville, Cambodia, where the four member c

Fate of Mekong River Hangs in the Balance

Monday, March 14, 2011
In less than two weeks, the Governments of Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam will meet to discuss whether to approve the massive Xayaburi Dam, proposed for the Mekong River’s mainstream in Northern Lao PDR. Despite the advanced stage of decision-making, the project’s Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report was released to the public just days ago. "It’s little wonder that the EIA report hasn’t been made public until now given its abysmal quality,” says Ame Trandem, Mekong Campaigner with International Rivers. “The Mekong River is an international river and an internat

The Pandora's Box of Mekong Dams

When Zeus warned Pandora never to open the box given to her, the temptation proved too strong and Pandora forever unleashed into the world misery, suffering and sorrow. Today, much like this mythical Greek tragedy, the decision-makers of the Mekong sub-region face a similar temptation in the form of a cascade of hydropower dams proposed for the Mekong River's mainstream. As one of the first of the Mekong mainstream dams that could be unleashed from Pandora’s Box, the decision on whether or not to proceed with the Xayaburi Dam in Northern Laos is one of the most pressing challenges

Foretelling the Mekong River's Fate

Friday, January 21, 2011
Key Findings of the MRC's Strategic Environmental Assessment on Mekong Mainstream DamsThis International River's fact-sheet is on the Mekong River Commission's (MRC) Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) report on Mekong mainstream dams. Published in October 2010 by the MRC, this report offers a critical appraisal of the eleven large dams planned for the Mekong River's mainstream. As these dams threaten to irreversibly undermine the ecology of the Mekong River and will place at risk the livelihoods and food security of millions of people who depend upon the river's resources, the main rec

The Xayaburi Dam

Friday, January 21, 2011
A Looming Threat to the Mekong RiverThis International River's fact-sheet provides information regarding the threat the planned Xayaburi Hydropower Dam poses to the Lower Mekong River. Located in a mountainous valley in Northern Laos, the Xayaburi Dam is the most advanced of eleven large dams planned for the Lower Mekong River's mainstream. If built, the dam will cause irreversible and permanent ecological change to a mighty river that feeds millions of people, forcibly resettle over 2,100 people and directly affect over 202,000 people, and could push iconic and endangered fish species, such

Report Urges Ten-Year Dam-Building Freeze on Mekong

The site of the Xayaburi Dam, the first of eleven planned Mekong mainstream dams.
Friday, December 10, 2010
From December 2010 World Rivers Review The Mekong region is at a crossroads. A ground-breaking new report urging a 10-year dam-building freeze on the Mekong River mainstream has raised the profile of the risks of a dam- boom on the highly productive and valuable river, while also putting a spotlight on the decision-makers who will determine its fate. The debate is noticeably shifting away from strict belief that dams are the best way to serve regional energy needs, and toward increased recognition of the value of a healthy river that supports millions with its natural abundance. The site of


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