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Save the Mekong Call: Cancel Xayaboury Dam on Mekong River’s mainstream, Halt MRC PNPCA Process

Save the Mekong Press Release 13th October 2010

[13 October 2010] Today, in a letter addressed to Mr. Jeremy Bird, CEO of the Mekong River Commission (MRC), the Save the Mekong coalition calls on the Mekong region’s governments to cancel the Xayabouri Dam planned for the Mekong River’s mainstream in Xayabouri Province, Lao PDR, and for a halt to the project’s Procedures for Notification, Prior Consultation and Agreement (PNPCA) process that is coordinated through the MRC.

The PNPCA process commenced when the Lao PDR government submitted the Xayabouri dam’s project documents to the MRC on 22 September 2010, initiating a review process between the Lower Mekong basin’s governments. The PNPCA process has been initiated despite the final report of the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) previously commission by the MRC not having been published. Its reports released to date have indicated the considerable anticipated impacts and high risks associated with building dams on the Mekong River’s mainstream.

The Save the Mekong letter states that the PNPCA process is poorly prepared, fails in commitments to transparency, contains no commitment to consultation with the public, and in reality does nothing but pave the way for the Xayaboury dam’s construction.

Rather than advising the MRC member governments that the SEA report is still incomplete and that a clear and credible PNPCA process does not exist, the MRC Secretariat has opened the way and even encouraged the PNPCA process in a rushed manner. In doing so, the MRC Secretariat has failed in its responsibility to both the MRC member governments and to the Mekong Region’s wider public.

Despite the fact that numerous letters from the Save the Mekong coalition and other civil society groups, together with a more than 23,000 signature petition, have called on the MRC’s member governments to cancel the Xayabouri Dam project, in June 2010, Thailand’s electricity utility, EGAT, signed an initial agreement with Ch. Karnchang to purchase over 95% of the Xayaburi dam’s electricity.

The Xayabouri Dam is a 1,280 MW project proposed to be built on the Mekong River’s mainstream at the Kaeng Luang rapids in Xayabouri Province, Lao PDR by the Thai construction company Ch Karnchang. There is abundant evidence – produced by the MRC itself – that already demonstrates the Xayaboury dam to be exceptionally destructive. The dam would submerge the homes of 2,130 people from 10 villages in Lao PDR. A further 200,000 people located near the Xayaboury dam in Lao PDR and Thailand would suffer impacts to their livelihoods, income and food security. The dam would decimate the river’s ecosystem, blocking fish migrations along the river’s upper reaches as far upstream as Chiang Saen in Thailand, with consequences that would bee felt throughout the Mekong river basin. Up to 41 fish species would be at risk of extinction, including the critically endangered and iconic Mekong Giant Catfish.

Download the letter

Download the press release as a .pdf

Media Contacts:

Premrudee Daoroung, Towards Ecological Recovery and Regional Alliance (TERRA), Bangkok, Thailand  Tel. +66 (0) 81-4342334; email: ;

Pianporn Deetes, International Rivers, Bangkok, Thailand Tel. +66 (0) 81-4220111

Chhith Sam Ath , NGO Forum on Cambodia, Phnom Penh,Cambodia, Tel. +(855) 23-214 429 E-mail: ;

Meach Mean, 3S Protection Network (3SPN), Rattanakiri, Cambodia, Tel.+ (855) 11-758970 E-mail:;

Trinh Le Nguyen, People and Nature Reconciliation (PanNature), Hanoi, Vietnam Tel. +(844 3) 556-4001 E-mail: ;

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