MRC will hold regional public consultation on Don Sahong Hydropower Project

teaser PR Don Sahong Jan 2014

Vientiane, Lao PDR, 25th Nov 2014

12-Dec consultation and online feedback submission are among channels for stakeholders to participate in the projects prior consultation

Vientiane, Lao PDR, 25 November 2014—The Mekong River Commission (MRC) will hold a regional public consultation for interested stakeholders on the Don Sahong Hydropower Project on 12 December 2014 in Pakse, Lao PDR.

One of a number of activities carried out by the MRC in conjunction with the prior consultation process for the 260-megawatt project, the regional public consultation will provide an additional forum for civil society, non-governmental organisations, research institutes, governmental organisations and regional and international organisations to be informed of the project and to discuss and share perspectives on issues of their concern and interest. 

Feedback and recommendations from the regional public consultation will be presented to the MRC Joint Committee, a governing body consisting of senior government officials from the MRC Member Countries (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam), along with other types of information for their discussion and evaluation of the project. An optional field trip to the dam site and surrounding area in the Mekong River’s Siphandone region of Southern Lao PDR, will also be arranged for interested stakeholders on 11 December. 

While hydropower development on the Mekong River system can bring about significant benefits such as renewable energy and enhanced electricity access, there have been concerns on its potential negative impacts. The prior consultation enables the four member states to discuss and evaluate benefits and possible transboundary environmental and socio-economic consequences of the project. 

In addition to the regional public consultation, an online platform is also available for stakeholders to submit their comments and suggestions on the project to the MRC at: http://www.mrcmekong.org/stakeholder-consultations. Submitted comments will also be provided to the Joint Committee as part of the prior consultation. 

“The prior consultation is not a process to seek approval for a proposed project. Rather, it is a platform for Cambodia, Thailand and Viet Nam, as notified countries, to raise issues of concern on potential effects the project may have on their territories, with technical review and analyses facilitated by the MRC Secretariat,” said Hans Guttman, Chief Executive Officer of the MRC Secretariat. 

"The process is also an opportunity for Lao PDR who proposes the project for development to better understand the concerns and to consider measures to address them," added Mr. Guttman.  

The MRC’s technical review will evaluate the project against the MRC Preliminary Design Guidance for Proposed Mainstream Dams in the Lower Mekong Basin (PDG) and will identify gaps, if any, in the project documents submitted by Lao PDR and provide recommendations if needed.

Moreover, national consultations in conjunction with the prior consultation have been arranged in Cambodia and Viet Nam, while national information sharing meetings have been arranged in Thailand. These national consultations and information sharing meetings have been held by the National Mekong Committee in each country based on their national contexts and regulations. The regional public consultation will supplement the national consultations by providing an additional platform for stakeholders who may not be able to participate in the national consultations. 

The prior consultation officially started on 25 July 2014. The timeframe for the prior consultation is six months, although this can be extended if agreed to by the Joint Committee. All available data and information of the project including environmental and social impact assessments and engineering reports is available on the MRC website for public access on this dedicated webpage: http://www.mrcmekong.org/news-and-events/consultations/don-sahong-hydropower-project/

This is the second time that the MRC undertakes such a process. In September 2010 and for the first time since its founding in 1995, the MRC carried out the prior consultation for the 1260-megawatt Xayaburi Hydropower Project located on the Mekong mainstream about 150km downstream of Luang Prabang in northern Lao PDR. 

Members of the media and the public interested in participating in the regional public consultation and the site visit should inform the MRC Secretariat by 5 December 2014 via e-mail: mrcmedia@mrcmekong.org. The e-mail should indicate if the person wishes to attend on both days or only on the consultation on 12 December. 

Note to editors:
The MRC is the inter-governmental organisation established to promote regional cooperation and facilitate dialogue on the sustainable management of the Mekong Basin among governments, the private sector and civil society. It is not a supra-national or regulatory body. The commission looks across all sectors including sustaining fisheries, identifying opportunities for agriculture, maintaining the freedom of navigation, flood management and preserving important ecosystems. Superimposed on these are the future effects of more extreme floods, prolonged drought and sea level rise associated with climate change. 

The Prior Consultation is one of a number of protocols under the 1995 Mekong Agreement to promote cooperation in sustainable management of the basin's water resources and avoid regional disputes from developing. According to the Mekong Agreement, the prior consultation is not a right for any Member Country to veto the project, nor is it a right for a country proposing the project to go ahead with it without taking into account the others’rights.  

The MRC Joint Committee (JC) carries out the prior consultation process with technical and administrative support provided by a working group consisting of representatives from the Member Countries and the MRC Secretariat. 

For more information on the PNPCA, the Don Sahong prior consultation and access to the project documents please go to:

http://www.mrcmekong.org/highlights/don-sahong-hydropower-project/

For more information on the Xayaburi prior consultation please go to:

http://www.mrcmekong.org/news-and-events/consultations/xayaburi-hydropower-project-prior-consultation-process/

 

For more information, please contact:
Mr. Federico Rodriguez, Communication Officer
Office of the Secretariat in Vientiane
Tel: +856 21 263 263 or +856 20 2816 6186 (Vientiane mobile number)
Email: Federico@mrcmekong.org

For more information, please contact:

Mr Khy Lim, Communication Officer, Office of the Secretariat in Phnom Penh

E-mail: khy@mrcmekong.org

Phone +85523 425 353 extension 1061

Or

The International Cooperation and Communication Section, Office of the Secretariat in Vientiane

E-mail: mrcmedia@mrcmekong.org

Phone: +856 263 263 extension 4062

Media Contact

For media inquires email mrcmedia@mrcmekong.org or view the Contact page here