Mekong countries’s chronic shortage of electricity which threatens to stymie economic growth, could be eased by pushing for acceleration of plans by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) for a regional power grid. Cross-border electricity swaps are growing as the 10-country bloc moves towards the goal of a single market by the end of 2015. And hydropower is among those plans. However, Damming the Mekong River can causes widespread controversy in South East Asia. Lower Sesan 2 dam on Mekong river in Cambodia is a typical example.
On November 10, BRIDGE financed a training workshop entitled Reporting on Mekong Dams – Science, Policies and Voices from the Ground in An Giang Province in the Mekong Delta. It was organized by Pan Nature, a Vietnamese NGO, to brief journalists on the concerns and perspectives of local stakeholders on planned dams on the Mekong River. Thirty journalists from national and provincial newspapers and radio and television agencies in the delta attended, as will as representatives from academia and NGOs from Vietnam and other Mekong countries.
This briefing paper, "Re-Assessing Greater Mekong Subregion Energy Investments", provides an overview and critical analysis of the large-scale energy investments prioritized by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and World Bank in the Mekong region. Case studies focus on hydropower-related projects in Lao PDR that are intended for exporting electricity to Thailand and Vietnam.
Large hydropower projects are often propagated as a “clean and green” source of electricity by international financial institutions, national governments and other actors. They greatly benefit from instruments meant to address climate change, including carbon credits under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), credits from the World Bank’s Climate Investment Funds, and special financial terms from export credit agencies and green bonds. The dam industry advocates for large hydropower projects to be funded by the Green Climate Fund, and many governments boost dams as a response to climate change through national initiatives. For example, at least twelve governments with major hydropower sectors have included an expansion of hydropower generation in their reports on Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs).
An Giang, Vietnam - More than 100 people gathered yesterday in An Giang, Vietnam for the historic Mekong People’s Forum: “Local Mekong People’s Voices: the message to Mekong governments on Mekong dams.” Participants included community members from the Tonle Sap lake, communities along the Mekong and 3S Rivers in Cambodia, from Northern and Northeastern Thailand’s communities along the Mekong and from An Giang, Dak Lak and Ca Mau, Vietnam. Most people have already experienced direct impacts from dams on the Mekong and its tributaries. The meeting marks the first time that communities from different Mekong countries have organized themselves to create a common platform from which to raise their concern regarding the impacts of existing and planned hydropower projects on the Mekong River.