The Khong-Loei-Chi-Mun project is the latest version of a long history of plans for large-scale irrigation in Northeastern Thailand. Visiting the area, Mai Lan hears how Thailand’s Royal Irrigation Department is pushing ahead with studies, as communities, NGOs, and downstream countries worry about the environmental and social impacts.
Originally lauded as a model for the world, the 1995 Mekong Agreement has since demonstrated legal ambiguities, gaps and limitations, especially in regulating dam construction. Rémy Kinna argues that 20 years on, the UN Watercourses Convention, the most authoritative global treaty on international rivers, can strengthen and revitalise it.
Inside Lao PDR, the Mekong hydropower projects are presently being built in an atmosphere of fear where local communities cannot express critical opinions, ask questions or request information. This article explores why this repressive atmosphere means we will never really know what these affected local communities think or feel about the many dams being built for so-called “development” and “rural benefit”.
The first regional consultation for the Don Sahong hydropower dam in Laos produced more questions than answers. The dam threatens the region’s capture fisheries and will have high costs for local livelihoods. The authors explain why, as Laos embarks to become the energy hub for the Mekong Region, dams risk increasing rural poverty.
Governments and developers promote large hydropower as clean energy necessary for economic development. In most cases, developers prepare Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs). But rather than raise questions about whether the dam should be built, EIAs become the first step to enable “river grabbing”
The Lower Sesan 2 hydropower dam in Cambodia will affect tens of thousands of people if built. This article shows how lessons have not been learned from past upstream dam construction in Vietnam, and the project will mainly reap profits for the dam developers, rather that result in “poverty reduction”.