A rising chorus of voices condemns Laos’ planned Pak Beng dam

first_imgThe Pak Beng Dam is the third mainstream dam planned for the lower Mekong River in Laos, where the government says hydropower development will help address poverty in the country.Analysts have raised concerns over the dam’s potential impacts on fisheries and other social and environmental impacts both locally and throughout the Mekong River Basin.Recent criticism has come from a report commissioned by International Rivers, a regional coalition of NGOs, and technical reviews discussed at a recent meeting of the Mekong River Commission in Vietnam. A damning review of plans for the controversial Pak Beng hydropower dam on the Mekong River in Laos was released this week by US-based advocacy group International Rivers, adding weight to calls for the project to be halted until new impact assessment studies are completed.The report follows recent criticisms of the dam by a coalition of NGOs in the region, and from experts and officials in Vietnam, which lies downstream from the proposed dam.The Pak Beng Dam would be the third to be built on the mainstream of the Mekong River outside of China and one of nine Mekong mainstream projects planned for Laos, where the government is on a dam-building spree it says will help address poverty in the country.Scientists, environmentalists, local communities and regional governments have for years been warning that the pace and degree of development of hydropower in the Mekong basin is causing grave problems and risks the livelihood of around 60 million people who depend on the river system.An excavator works on the Pak Beng project’s “right bank road.” Photo by Jenny Denton.The review released Monday, which was written by independent experts engaged by International Rivers, found the developer’s documents contain “critical shortcomings” and are “insufficient to meaningfully evaluate the project’s environmental and social impacts.”High among their concerns is what they identified as a failure by dam-builders and governments to consider the interconnectedness of the ecology of the entire Mekong Basin and the cumulative nature of development impacts on it.“Decision-making, preparatory work and signing of project agreements for the Pak Beng Dam must be suspended until there is adequate information to properly evaluate the project’s impacts in the context of the Mekong River Basin,” the report said.Reviewers also criticized the developers for using what the report described as inadequate and outdated data, including on hydrology and fish species; insufficient assessment of environmental and social impacts both up and downstream of the dam; and reliance on unproven, sometimes discredited mitigation solutions, such as their fish passage and livelihood adaptation programs.They also pointed to a lack of consultation about the dam with affected communities in Laos and an “absence of meaningful public participation” in studies of the project’s effects on neighboring countries. The reviewers also criticized the developers for dedicating just $2 million of the projects $2.3 billion budget to supporting livelihood restoration for affected people.Children watch the river at Pak Beng. Photo courtesy of Marcus Rhinelander/International Rivers.The recent report follows a May statement from Save the Mekong, a grassroots coalition of NGOs and activists in the region, voicing concern that transboundary and cumulative considerations were being overlooked and calling for the process to be delayed.A scathing assessment of the Pak Beng documents was also expressed last month at a Vietnam National Mekong Committee conference in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho.“Laos should take additional time for consultation and temporarily delay the construction plan for Pak Beng Dam because all the environmental impact figures of the project are very backward, insufficient and fail to follow international standards,” the deputy head of the Can Tho University Climate Change Research Institute was quoted as saying.Vietnam’s Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Tran Hong Ha, who is the chairman of the Vietnam Mekong River Commission, said Vietnam was “seriously worried” about increased upstream dam-building given its recent experiences of severe drought, saline intrusion and land subsidence.“Vietnam wants all upstream Mekong River nations to adopt proper policies in exploiting the river, especially in hydropower dam construction, in order to ensure rights for downstream nations,” he said in his opening speech at the event, according to VietNamNet.Technical reviews of the Pak Beng documents released by the Mekong River Commission at the second regional stakeholder forum on the Pak Beng dam in early May contained similarly negative evaluations of the project details (pdf).“The [Pak Beng hydropower project], if designed and operated as outlined in the documents submitted will impact on fish passage, downstream sediment transport, and aquatic habitats,” the draft technical review report summary said. “These may have knock on impacts on the people and economy of the [Lower Mekong Basin]. Populations of the critically endangered Mekong Giant Catfish, already under pressure from past development, will decline, and there is a considerable risk of extinction. Due to the interconnected nature of the shared ecosystem, these impacts are likely to be transboundary in nature.”But while the MRC reviews highlighted numerous critical issues and inadequacies in planning and assessment, the Commission said the documents submitted are early stage ones, the dam’s design is “ongoing” and the developers may already be addressing many of the problems identified.The MRC regularly defends itself from claims it is failing to protect the Mekong River basin from inappropriate development by pointing out that it is not a regulatory body but rather “a platform for water diplomacy and regional cooperation” and “a regional knowledge hub on water resources management.”Its secretariat told Mongabay that stopping the Pak Beng dam from going ahead was “beyond MRC’s mandate” but that member countries would consider the Commission’s technical reviews of the project at a special MRC Joint Committee meeting on June 19.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? 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It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Article published by Isabel Estermancenter_img Alternative Energy, Dams, Energy, Environment, Environmental Politics, Fisheries, Hydroelectric Power, Infrastructure last_img read more


first_imgFormer Cork City star and current RTE Soccer Republic panellist Dave Barry has praised Shaun Kelly for his performances since moving to Limerick FC. Kelly re-joined Limerick FC in July after falling out of favour at Derry City under the stewardship of Peter Hutton.Hutton has since been sacked, but Kelly has been in sensational form for his old club and has helped them go on a brilliant run which has given them a fighting chance of avoiding relegation. Dave Barry singled out Freddie Hall, Lee Lynch and Shaun Kelly and said those signatures by manager Martin Russell have helped Limerick massively.Kelly is from Killybegs and is a former Hearts FC youth player and he has also had spells at Dundalk and Galway United.Barry said, “Shaun Kelly has been absolutely superb since he re-joined the club, he was suspended for their last match and he was a big loss.“He’s been fantastic since he returned to the club and he along with Freddie Hall and Lee Lynch have been massive players for the club. SOCCER REPUBLIC PANELIST PRAISES SHAUN KELLY SINCE MOVE TO LIMERICK FC was last modified: September 21st, 2015 by Mark ForkerShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:newsSportlast_img read more