Lao News

NGO Coalition Boycotts Prior Consultation Process For Proposed Lao Dam

A coalition of NGOs and community-based groups dedicated to raising public awareness about the risks associated with dams on the Mekong River said Friday that it will boycott the prior consultation process for the proposed Pak Lay hydropower project in Laos.

“Save the Mekong coalition is boycotting the Pak Lay prior consultation because serious and outstanding concerns regarding each of the mainstream dams that have undergone the process to date — the Xayaburi, Don Sahong, and Pak Beng dams — remain unresolved,” the coalition said in a statement.

The group said that requests for information about the projects’ impacts expressed during their prior consultations were not formally addressed, including calls for the extension of the consultation periods.

It also cited a seven-year study issued in February, indicating that a series of dams on the Mekong’s mainstream and tributaries poses threats to the region’s ecological health, economic vitality, and food security.

Prior consultation is a required procedure under the 1995 Mekong Agreement by Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand to establish the Mekong River Commission (MRC) as a platform for regional cooperation among the countries along the key regional waterway.

It allows member nations to jointly review proposed dam projects on the Mekong mainstream with the aim of reaching an agreement on whether the project should proceed and under what conditions.

The MRC’s Joint Committee Working Group decided to begin a six-month prior consultation process for the Pak Lay dam on Aug. 8 — a day after the Lao government announced a suspension of new dam projects and independent investigations of existing ones, following the collapse of an auxiliary dam at the U.S. $1 billion Xe Pian Xe Namnoy hydropower project in Champasak province last month.

The July 23 disaster caused severe flooding that claimed the lives of at least 40 villagers, according to official figures, and displaced thousands of others who are living in temporary camps.

“We issued a statement opposing the prior consultation on the Pak Lay dam project, [and] we will not participate in the process set up by the MRC and representatives of the member countries,” Thirapong Poman, director of the Mekong Community Institute and coordinator of the Save the Mekong Coalition told RFA’s Lao Service on Friday.

The main reason that the coalition is boycotting the process is because the Pak Lay dam and other dams in Laos will destroy the environment, ecosystems, and livelihoods of many people in the region, he said.

“Previous prior consultations have been regarded as a rubber stamp to satisfy community consultation obligations,” Wora Suk of the Thai Extraterritorial Obligation-Watch Working Group and a member of Save the Mekong, said in a statement. “In reality, these processes have not taken community concerns into account.”

Despite a recent order by the Lao government to halt new dam investments, the developers of the Pak Lay and Pak Beng hydropower projects told RFA last week that they are pressing ahead with their construction plans because they have not been informed by provincial authorities that they should stop their work.

A series of 11 large hydropower dams on the Mekong’s lower mainstream and roughly 120 tributary dams are planned for 2040. The 770-megawatt Pak Lay hydropower project in northwestern Laos’ Xayaburi province would be the fourth dam on the lower Mekong mainstream, after the Xayburi, Don Sahong, and Pak Beng dams.

ພາກພາສາລາວ:

ອົງ​ການ​ອະ​ນຸ​ຮັກ​ແມ່​ນ້ຳ​ຂອງ ຫລື Save The Mekong ໄດ້​ອອກ​ຖແລງ​ການ ​ປະ​ກາດຄັດ​ຄ້ານ ​ຂັ້ນ​ຕອນການ​ປຶກ​ສາ​ຫາ​ລື​ລ່ວງ​ໜ້າ ຂອງ​ໂຄງ​ການ ​ເຂື່ອນ​ປາກ​ລາຍ ແຂວງ​ໄຊ​ຍະ​ບູ​ລີ ຊຶ່ງ​ເປັນ​ເຂື່ອນ​ທີ 4 ທີ່​ຈະ​ສ້າງ​ໃສ່​ແມ່​ນ້ຳ​ຂອງ ໃນ​ປະ​ເທດ​ລາວ. ດັ່ງ ທ່ານ ທິ​ຣະ​ພົງ ໂພນ​ໝັ້ນ ຜູ້​ອໍ​າ​ນວນ​ການ​ສະ​ຖາ​ບັນ​ຊຸມ​ຊົນ ແມ່​ນ້ຳ​ຂອງ ຫລື Mekong Community Institute ຊຶ່ງ​ເປັນ​ນຶ່ງ​ ໃນ​ຜູ້​ປະ​ສານ​ງານ ຂອງເຄືອ​ຂ່າຍ​ ກຸ່ມ​ອະ​ນຸ​ຮັກ​ແມ່​ນ້ຳ​ຂອງ ໄດ້​ກ່າວ​ຕໍ່​ເອ​ເຊັຍ​ເສ​ຣີ ໃນ​ວັນ​ທີ 24 ສິງ​ຫາ ວ່າ:

ຖະ​ແຫລງ​ການຄັດ​ຄ້ານ ກັບ​ຂະ​ບວນ​ການ ທີ່​ຈະ​ຮັບ​ຟັງ​ຄວາມ​ຄິດ​ເຫັນ ແລ້ວກໍ​ຈະ​ບໍ່​ເຂົ້າ​ຮ່ວມ ປົກ​ກະ​ຕິ ການກໍ່​ສ້າງ​ເຂື່ອນ​ກໍ​ຈະ​ມີ ແຕ່​ລະ​ປະ​ເທດ ຈະ​ມີ​ການ​ປະ​ຊຸມ​ເພື່ອ​ຮັບ​ຟັງຄວາມ​ຄິດ​ເຫັນ​ ຈາກ​ທ້ອງ​ຖິ່ນ ເພື່ອ​ຕາມ​ຫລັກ​ການ​ ກໍ​ຄືວ່າ ເພື່ອ​ຈະ​ເອົາ​ຄວາມ​ຄິດ​ເຫັນ​ນັ້ນ ເຂົ້າ​ໄປ​ສະ​ເໜີ​ຕໍ່​ຕາມ​ລຳ​ດັບຊັ້ນ ເອົາ​ໄປ​ປຶກ​ສາ​ຫາ​ລືຂອງ 4 ປ​ະ​ເທດ ກໍ​ຈະ​ບໍ່​ເຂົ້າ​ຮ່ວມ​ ໃນ​ກິ​ຈ​ກັມປຶກ​ສາ​ ຂອງ MRC ຂອງ​ຕາງ​ໜ້າ​ແຕ່​ລະ​ ປະ​ເທດນີ້​ແຫລະ.

ທ່ານ ກ່າວ​ຕື່ມ​ອີກວ່າ ເຫດ​ຜົນ​ໃນ​ການ​ຄັດ​ຄ້ານ ກໍ​ເພື່ອ​ຢັບ​ຢັ້ງ ການ​ສ້າງ​ເຂື່ອນ ​ຢູ່​ແມ່​ນ້ຳ​ຂອງ ແລະເຂື່ອນ​ຕ່າງໆຢູ່​ໃນ ​ປະ​ເທດ​ລາວ ຈະ​ສົ່ງ​ຜົນ​ກະ​ທົບ​ຕໍ່​ສິ່ງ​ແວດ​ລ້ອມ, ຣະ​ບົບ​ນິ​ເວດ​ວິ​ທ​ຍາ ແລະ ຊີ​ວິດ​ການ​ເປັນ​ຢູ່ ​ຂອງ​ປະ​ຊາ​ຊົນ​ທ້ອງ​ຖິ່ນ ໂດຍສະ​ເພາະ ເຂື່ອນດອນ​ສະ​ໂຮງ, ເຂື່ອນ​ໄຊ​ຍະ​ບູ​ລີ ແລະ ເຂື່ອນ​ປາກ​ແບງ.

ນອກ​ຈາກນີ້ ຂັ້ນ​ຕອນ​ການ​ປຶກ​ສາຫາ​ລືກັນ​ລ່ວງ​ໜ້າ ຂອງ​ໂຄງ​ການ​ເຂື່ອນ​ປາກ​ລາຍ ຖືກ​ຈັດ​ຂຶ້ນ​ຢ່າງ​ເປັນ​ທາງ​ການ 1 ວັນ ຫລັງ​ຈາກ​ທາງ​ການລາວ ປ​ະ​ກາດໂຈະ​ການກໍ່​ສ້າງ ​ເຂື່ອນ​ໃນ​ລາວ ພາຍ​ຫລັງເຂື່ອນ​ເຊ​ປຽນ​ແຕກ ໃນ​ວັນ​ທີ 23 ກໍ​ຣະ​ກະ​ດາ. ປະເທດລາວ ​ມີ​ແຜນ​ຈະ​ສ້າງ​ເຂື່ອນ ໃສ່​ແມ່​ນ້ຳ​ຂອງ 9 ແຫ່ງ ໃນ​ຈຳ​ນວນ 11 ເຂື່ອນ ​ໃນ​ແມ່​ນ້ຳ​ຂອງ.

https://www.rfa.org/english/news/laos/ngo-coalition-boycotts-prior-consultation-process-08242018164442.html

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