Where:Thailand’s Administrative Court, Bangkok
When: Friday, December 25, 2015 at 8:30 AM
What: Xayaburi Dam affected villagers will attend Thailand’s Administrative Court on December, 25, 2015 to learn the verdict in their case brought against five state agencies involved in the controversial dam project on the Mekong River mainstream.
Background:Thai actors have played a critical role in developing the first dam on the lower Mekong mainstream – the Xayaburi Dam – both as financiers, builders and buyers of the electricity. In 2011, The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) agreed to buy 95% of the electricity generated by the Xayaburi Dam from Laos despite the project posing significant transboundary impacts, including to Mekong communities in North and Northeast Thailand.
Thirty-seven villagers living in eight provinces along the Mekong in Thailand from Chiang Rai to Ubon have filed a lawsuit against five government bodies, including the National Energy Policy Council, the Thai Cabinet, and the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand. The lawsuit has become a regional case study, as it pioneers the use of legal mechanisms in holding government agencies and companies accountable for their involvement in cross-border projects and upholding the rights of local communities.
The lawsuit claims that approval of the project’s Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) is illegal under both the Thai Constitution and the region’s 1995 Mekong Agreement. The PPA was signed without an assessment of the project’s transboundary environmental and health impacts and without public consultation in Thailand, in violation of the Thai Constitution. The Supreme Administrative Court accepted the case in June 2014 acknowledging the potentially severe transboundary impacts of the Xayaburi Dam on communities in Thailand. While the case has been under review by the Court, construction on the Xayaburi Dam has progressed rapidly, yet still without a transboundary impact assessment and the project’s final designs made public.