For Immediate Release
On Friday June 19, the Mekong River Commission (MRC) issued a press release announcing that resolution of the Prior Consultation process for the Don Sahong Dam will be taken to the governmental level. According to the MRC’s announcement, following further deliberations by the MRC Council, “there are still differing views among the countries on whether the prior consultation process should come to an end…” As the MRC Council could not reach agreement, the matter will be “referred to their respective governments for resolution.” It is not clear from the announcement what the deliberation process at the governmental level will entail, nor is there a timeline for this process. Since 2013, construction has occurred on the Don Sahong Dam’s bridge, access roads and work camps and contract negotiations for the project’s Concession Agreement and its Engineering, Procurement and Construction Agreement have been underway.
In response to the MRC’s announcement, International Rivers released the following statement from Southeast Asia Program Director, Ame Trandem:
“Given the severity of transboundary environmental, social and economic impacts expected by the Don Sahong Dam, this project and its decision-making process is of regional and international importance. As such the MRC member countries should provide further information regarding the deliberations of the MRC Council on this matter to date, and the respective positions of each country.
As signatories of the 1995 Mekong Agreement, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam have committed to cooperate in a constructive and mutually beneficial manner for the sustainable future of the Mekong River. The Don Sahong Dam poses a significant threat to livelihoods and food security throughout the region, and endangers the future of the Mekong River and regional development opportunities. In January 2015, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam clearly expressed concerns about the transboundary impacts of the dam, along with the lack of studies available to adequately assess the project. As regional disagreement continues, International Rivers urges the four governments to act responsibly and decisively by taking immediate steps to protect the future of the Mekong River and her people by halting construction towards the Don Sahong Dam and suspending negotiations on the project agreements until a comprehensive transboundary impact assessment has been carried out, as well as the further studies requested by Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam.
We call on Mekong Governments and the MRC to make clear how deliberations on the Don Sahong Dam will move forward, and to ensure that the process is transparent and participatory, with critical input from Mekong people.”