Dear Ms. Imhof:
Subject: Vietnam: Yali Falls Dam
Thank you very much for your letter of October 10, 2002 to Mr. Wolfensohn. We have reviewed your letter and studied the issues with care. We agree with you that projects should address and properly manage environmental and social impacts, including those impacts which occur beyond national borders as a result of the project.
At the same time, we should note at the outset that the World Bank is not financing the Yali Falls Dam. Indeed, the Dam’s construction began in 1992 and, to our knowledge, since then has been fully financed by the EVN with its own resources or those of the Government of Vietnam. We are also not involved with Se San III, and have no plans for being involved in this project.
The World Bank’s strategy in Vietnam’s energy sector has been focused on enhancing rural access, rehabilitation/expansion of the power systems and sector reform. As a part of this strategy, our involvement in the energy sector in Vietnam has thus focused also on strengthening the country’s transmission and distribution network, including the 500 kV Pleiku to Phulan and Pleiku to Danang transmission lines. These transmission lines will improve services to rural areas, optimize the overall efficiency of the system, and contribute to the overall reform of the sector, including mobilizing private sector financing for expansion. Environmental Assessments and Resettlement Action Plans were prepared for these transmission lines in accordance with World Bank policies and procedures.
We would also like to note that in a separate email of December 11, 2002, you indirectly referred to concerns pertaining to the Cambodia Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management project. This project is financed through an IDA credit and a GEF grant. Through regular field supervision missions to the project area, the Bank has been able to stay abreast of concerns about possible impacts from Yali Falls through discussion with the Government of Cambodia, nongovernmental organizations, local government officials and with project area communities situated along the Se San. These supervision missions will continue as part of the project and we will continue to follow the situation on the ground. We would be most willing to keep these channels of information open with our Cambodian counterparts.
We would be willing to bring the information provided in your letter to the attention of the Governments of Vietnam and Cambodia, and the Mekong River Commission.
Thank you once again for raising these important concerns. Please do not hesitate to contact us in the future.
Jeffrey S. Gutman
Director, Strategy and Operations
East Asia and Pacific Region
Ms. Grainne Ryder, Policy Director, Probe International, Canada
World Bank Executive Director for Canada
Ms. Carole Brookins, World Bank Executive Director for the United States.