General

Panel Discussion about Vietnam’s Role in Taking Leadership to Collaborate on Water Use in the Mekong Basin

On November 4, PanNature along with the Henry L. Stimson Center and International Union for Conservation for Nature (IUCN) – hosted a panel discussion entitled, “Opportunities for Efficient Water Use in the Mekong Basin and Implications for Vietnam.” The panel discussion brought together participants from domestic and international civil society organizations, government and ministry representatives, as well as foreign diplomats to share their perspectives and opinions related to hydropower development in Laos, a landlocked country who’s ambition to become the “battery of Asia” brings concerns about the environmental sustainability of the entire region.

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Project addresses timber trade

A European Union-funded project addressing the timber industry in Viet Nam and Laos was launched yesterday in Ha Noi by the Viet Nam Administration of Forestry (VnForest), The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and People and Nature Reconciliation (PanNature).

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Rebalance the Lower Mekong Development

On 4th November 2013, The panel discussion ”Rebalance the Lower Mekong Development: Are there Cooperative and Equitable Solutions Available?” was co-organized by PanNature and the Henry L. Stimson Center.

With progress on Xayaburi continuing unabated and plans for further mainstream dam construction in the works for the Don Sahong and Pak Beng, the future of cooperative, sustainable, and equitable development of the river appears increasingly in doubt.

Dr.Richard P. Cronin, the Director of Southeast Asia Program, Stimson Center in the panel discussion

Dr.Richard P. Cronin, the Director of Southeast Asia Program, Stimson Center in the panel discussion

The undeniable fact is that the first dams on the Mekong’s mainstream are being constructed in Lao regardless of the MRC’s Agreement, recommendations of Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) as well as objection ideas of its neibouring countries.

As a downstream country, Vietnam will certainly suffer from any impacts caused by upstream dams on the Mekong river. These impacts will have significant implications on food and environmental security, economic-social-political stability of the country in the future.

Answering the question whether the environmental and social impact of those dams can be mitigated by preventing the worst situated dams from being constructed, some suggested that economic compensation should be considered as an alternative solution to persuade Lao to cancel the construction of dams. In addition, strong support from such financial institutions as the Asian Development Bank, World Bank, development partners, donors and other stakeholders plays an extremely important role in this case.

Opinions from the discussion agreed that the impacts from mainstream hydropower development were extremely serious, uncompensatible and irreversible, and that MRC was essential but not sufficient enough to gain equitable solutions. In order to gain a common wealthy situation and equitable development for the region, political commitment from all MRC’s member countries was an obligation.

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