SMC objects to Don Sahong Dam prior-consultation process

VietNamNet Bridge – The Save the Mekong Coalition (SMC) has written to the Prime Ministers of Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam voicing concerns over the Prior Consultation for Don Sahong Dam project recently submitted by the Lao government.

SMC, Don Sahong Dam project, 1995 Mekong Agreement, Lower Mekong River Basin

The site of where the Don Sahong Dam will be built – Source: International Rivers.

SMC said that under the Procedures for Notification, Prior Consultation and Agreement (PNPCA), the prior consultation for the Laos project is not legitimate.

Submission of the Don Sahong Dam for Prior Consultation must not be used as a way for Laos to legitimize their actions under the 1995 Mekong Agreement, but rather ensure a true commitment to regional decision-making in good faith, in the spirit of the Mekong Agreement, SMC said.

Many studies have shown that, if built, the Don Sahong Dam will have severe impacts on Mekong fish and their migration throughout the Lower Mekong River Basin. This threatens food security and livelihoods of millions of people, as well as economic and political stability of the region.

SMC said the government of Laos has claimed that construction has halted, while Mega First Corporation Berhad, which is responsible for developing the project, has claimed construction is underway.

“Therefore, we call on Mekong leaders to immediately halt the Prior Consultation process for the Don Sahong Dam and address critical flaws in the PNPCA and allow more time for studies on impacts of mainstream dams to be completed,” the group said.

In addition, it is now widely acknowledged that the Xayaburi Dam’s Prior Consultation process was a failure. Many groups in Vietnam and Cambodia voiced their dissatisfaction with the lack of participation in the process.

On June 24, Thailand’s Supreme Administrative Court accepted a lawsuit filed by villagers in northern and northeastern Thailand who would be affected by the Xayaburi Dam, acknowledging in their ruling the potential trans-boundary impacts of the Xayaburi Dam and calling for further environmental, health and social impact assessments in Thailand.

At the Second Mekong Summit in April, Vietnam reiterated recommendations in the Mekong River Commission’s 2010 Strategic Environmental Assessment, calling for a 10-year moratorium on all damming work on the Mekong mainstream.

SMC consisting of over 40 organizations in Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar, the U.S., Japan and Canada signed the letter.


SMC, Don Sahong Dam project, 1995 Mekong Agreement, Lower Mekong River Basin