Official Prior Consultation for Pak Beng Hydropower Project Reaches its 6-month Milestone

MRC JC meeting at Lao Plaza

Vientiane, Lao PDR, 20 Jun 2017

20 June 2017, Vientiane Capital, Lao PDR – Yesterday the Mekong River Commission (MRC) Secretariat organised the Special Session of the MRC Joint Committee (JC) on the proposed Pak Beng Hydropower Project in Vientiane to mark the six-month milestone of the official Prior Consultation (PC) process.

This session provided the formal opportunity within the official PC timeframe for the JC members, the management body of the MRC, to discuss key recommendations of the final Technical Review Report of the proposed Pak Beng Hydropower Project (PBHPP) undertaken by the MRC Secretariat. Having considered the TRR as well as the outcomes from regional and national stakeholder forums, the JC agreed on a statement calling on ‘the Government of Lao PDR to make all reasonable efforts to address potential adverse transboundary impacts of the Pak Beng project’ and requests the Secretariat to prepare a Joint Action Plan outlining a post six-months prior consultation process.

Measures for consideration in the statement include addressing the potential upstream and downstream impacts on hydrology and hydraulics including the backwater effects into Thailand; improving sediment transportation; improving upstream and downstream fish passage; gaining a better understanding of potential socio-economic transboundary impacts; ensuring the freedom of navigation; establishing a communication channel for providing inputs on the ongoing design and development of the project; sharing of improved designs and monitoring data, and MRC joint monitoring programme for Pak Beng.

The JC members also took note of key recommendations resulting from the two regional stakeholder forums organized by the MRC Secretariat and national consultations that were reflected in the ‘reply forms’ submitted by notified member countries. The JC also noted with appreciation the Lao PDR’s spirit of cooperation and responsibility during the Procedures for Notification, Prior Consultation and Agreement (PNPCA) process for the PBHPP.

The JC Statement, reply forms and statement by Lao PDR will be made available to the public later this week.

The prior consultation on the PBHPP officially began on 20 December 2016. Stipulated in the 1995 Mekong Agreement, it aims to mitigate adverse impact on the environment and livelihoods of riverine communities both upstream and downstream, while achieving optimum use of water resources.

All available information of the project including environmental and social impact assessments, engineering reports, and comments is available for public access on the MRC website at

Read article in:

  1. Khmer
  2. Lao
  3. Thai
  4. Vietnamese




Note to Editors

The MRCis the intergovernmental organization established to promote cooperation on the sustainable management of the Mekong Basin whose members include Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam. The MRC acts as a platform for water diplomacy and regional cooperation in which member countries share the benefits of common water resources despite different national interests, and address transboundary pressures in the basin. It also serves as a knowledge hub that promotes regional cooperation and policy-making based on scientific evidence. 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 PBHPP is a run-of-river project located in the Mekong mainstream. The power plant is planned to have an installed capacity of 912-megawatt, designed to discharge the flow of 5,771.2 cubic meters per second.

The Lao National Mekong Committee Secretariat submitted on 4 November 2016 the detailed description of the planned project to the MRC Secretariat for its review and further action to inform the other member countries about the project’s scope and other requirements under the prior consultation process.

The PC is part of the MRC’s procedural rules on cooperation on water use of the Mekong mainstream: the PNPCA. According to the Mekong Agreement, the prior consultation does not involve approval or disapproval of a proposed project and neither a right for the proposing country to go ahead with the project without considering the others’ rights. Rather, it is a mechanism to support regional cooperation on water use. It is designed for the notified countries to make recommendations and for the proposing country to accept certain measures, to mitigate any potential impact and to find a better way to share the benefits.

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

For more information on the PNCPA, the PBHPP Prior Consulation, and access to the project documents please go to:


For more information, please contact:

Ms. Souridahak Sakonhninhom, Communication Officer
Mekong River Commission Secretariat, Vientiane, Lao PDR
T +856-21 263 263 M +856-20 2222 2207

Latest News

Laos urged to better assess impacts, provide effective mitigation measures, as Luang Prabang dam moves forwards

Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam requested Laos to conduct rigorous transboundary impact assessments and enhance proposed measures to mitigate potential adverse impacts

Flood and drought remain key challenges for the Mekong: Report

Extreme low flows and extensive flooding of different communities along the Mekong River in 2019 and an increasing number of droughts that have occurred in many parts of the region in recent years are among the signs that the Mekong region is facing incre

New strategy to address Mekong wide challenges near finishing line

A draft Mekong basin development strategy to respond to critical environmental and social pressures from ongoing and planned developments and climate change in the Mekong River Basin has now received a greenlight from a governance body of the Mekong River

Sanakham project prior consultation to start after Luang Prabang consultation ends in June

The scheduled conclusion of the prior consultation process of the 1,460-megawatt Luang Prabang hydropower project the Lao government has proposed to build on the Mekong mainstream in the northern province of Luang Prabang has now moved to 30 June 2020, ac

Laos to undertake prior consultation for Sanakham hydropower project

Lao PDR will undertake the Mekong River Commission’s (MRC) prior consultation process for its Sanakham hydropower project, the sixth proposed project on the Mekong mainstream. The run-of-river dam will operate continuously year-round and produce 684 megaw

Media Contact

For media inquires, please contact:
Sopheak Meas:
Le Thi Huong Lien: or or view the Contact page here