The Mekong River Commission will convene its 11th Regional Stakeholder Forum on 29–30 November 2021 to discuss responsible hydropower operation and management, and to provide the latest information and solicit public feedback on the proposed Sanakham hydropower project.

 

FORUM OVERVIEW  

The 11th Mekong River Commission (MRC) Regional Stakeholder Forum (RSF) will last for two days. The first day is devoted to the discussion on sustainable hydropower practice on the operation and management of cascade hydropower. It will bring together a diverse group of hydropower government agencies, developers and operators from the Mekong and other regions to share hands-on experience and provide recommendations on what responsible operation and management of cascade hydropower should be. 

The second day aims to provide the most up-to-date information and garner feedback and recommendations from the public on the Sanakham hydropower project that the Lao Government has proposed to build on the mainstream of the Mekong River in Lao PDR.

Both events are now open to all interested stakeholders and the general public. Initially, only the second day would be open to all. While Day 1 will not be broadcast, Day 2 will be livestreamed across all the MRC’s social media platform (FacebookTwitterLinkedIn or YouTube) on all the sessions.

Click here for the draft agenda .

DAY 1: RESPONSIBLE OPERATION AND MANAGEMENT OF CASCADE HYDROPOWER
Background of the Event

Rapid and large-scale development of hydropower projects in the Upper and Lower Mekong Basin can bring both economic benefits and negative impacts to the region. Hence, there is a need for hydropower operators, governments and the public to engage in dialogue and share good practices including sound management, coordination and communication.

The Basin Development Strategy (BDS) for the Lower Mekong River Basin 2021–2030 (BDS) and the MRC’s Strategic Plan (MRC SP) 2021–2025 provides a strategic direction on how best to manage these major economic, environmental and social dimensions in relation to hydropower development.

The BDS 2021–2030 notes that as the Mekong River Basin becomes more developed and regulated by dams, and more susceptible to more extreme weather events due to climate change, there is an increasing need for more data and information sharing and transboundary coordination of operations. This will help address some of the key pressing issues concerning river flow management, sediment management, management of emergencies and design, and management of hydropower cascades.

The discussion on responsible operation and management of cascade hydropower will bring together hydropower government agencies, developers, operators and community representatives from the Mekong and other regions to share their hands-on experience of good industry practice, and opportunities and challenges they face in hydropower management and cascade operations. Lessons learned from national, regional and international settings will be shared in order to further strengthen the coordinated hydropower cascade operations and management towards sustainable development of hydropower in the Mekong region.

Agenda

Agenda for Day 1 is available here.


Objectives
  • To discuss various processes on information sharing and coordinated operations towards the optimization of dam operations and project sustainability in the Mekong Basin’s transboundary context.
  • To discuss the roles of developers, operators, government agencies and regional agencies, including civil society organizations (CSOs) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), in information sharing and coordinated operations of hydropower projects.
  • To propose different mechanisms for efficient and responsible hydropower cascade operations and management in the Mekong River Basin.
Participants
  • Government officials from the MRC Member Countries, including NMCS, and especially the implementing agencies from hydropower project development departments and energy portfolio planning and management departments.
  • Management and operation staff of hydropower developers and operators (and/or their consultants), who are investing in hydropower dams, both on the Mekong mainstream and the tributaries and who are interested in sharing and discussing hands-on experiences and opportunities for cooperation arrangements towards the establishment of mechanisms for coordinated operations of hydropower cascades operations and management in the Mekong region.
  • International and national professional hydropower-related associations.
  • Interested MRC Development Partners, and CSOs/NGOs.
  • MRC Dialogue Partner, in particular China to share their experience in managing and operating hydropower projects in their cascade.
Date and Venue 

29 November 2021 

  • Lao PDR:Vientiane Capital, the primary host location
  • Cambodia:Siem Reap, secondary host location
  • Thailand:Bangkok, secondary host location
  • Viet Nam:Ha Noi, secondary host location
Mode of the Forum 

Day 1 of the Forum will be fully virtual and will not be livestreamed. The MRC Secretariat will host the forum from Lao PDR’s capital city Vientiane. Interested participants can register and join the online forum through a conference link.

Registration

Originally, the Forum’s Day 1 would be by invitation only. However, it is now open to everyone interested in participating and it is free of charge.

Registration is now closed. Thank you for your interest.

For those who have registered, our staff member has already sent an email containing necessary information about the participation, including the Forum’s Zoom link.

Forum’s Participation Link

(DAY 1) 11th Regional Stakeholder Forum
Webinar ID: 917 5158 1798
Webinar Passcode: 1234567890
link: https://zoom.us/j/91751581798?pwd=L1pxRFRxNVozblBCUWF0NzZMTE9WUT09

DAY 2: REGIONAL CONSULTATION ON SANAKHAM HYDROPOWER PROJECT’S PRIOR CONSULTATION PROCESS
Background of the Event  

The Lao Government, through its Lao National Mekong Committee, notified the MRC Secretariat on 9 September 2019 of its intention to undertake the formal Prior Consultation (PC) process of the Sanakham hydropower project. 

The 684-megawatt Sanakham dam is the sixth project to have been put forward to the MRC’s six-month PC process. The proposed site is between Xayaburi and Vientiane provinces in Lao PDR or about 155 km north of Vientiane, and approximately 2 km upstream of the Thai-Lao border in Loei province. The project is estimated to cost $2.073 bn and will be developed by Datang (Lao) Sanakham Hydropower company, a subsidiary of China’s Datang International Power Generation Co. Ltd. 

The notification by the Lao Government came only shortly after its submission of the Luang Prabang project. To ensure a meaningful consultation process, the MRC’s governing body Joint Committee decided to hold the consultation for the Sanakham only after the Luang Prabang project. 

Following completion of the Luang Prabang consultation process on 30 June 2020, the Joint Committee agreed to commence the process for the Sanakham on 30 July 2020. Originally scheduled to conclude within its official six-month timeframe, the Sanakham PC process is now scheduled to tentatively end on 19 January 2022.

Stakeholders and the general public are consulted twice at the regional level during the whole PC process and two to three times at the national level in each notified Member Country. On 24 November 2020, the MRC convened the first regional consultation to share the submitted documents and its approach in order to undertake a technical review of the project and to solicit stakeholders’ feedback on the submitted project.

The second regional consultation is now scheduled for 30 November 2021, and will provide a platform for regional stakeholders to hear the latest update on the PC process and register their concerns and recommendations on the project.

 

Agenda

Agenda for Day 2 is available here.

 

Objectives

The regional consultation will provide a platform for stakeholders to:

  • listen to the current status and update on results from national consultations;
  • discuss, register their concerns, and provides recommendations on the final draft Technical Review Report of the project.

 

Participants

It is expected that the RSF will bring together the following groups of stakeholders:

  • the MRC Member Countries including National Mekong Committee Secretariats and the water planning and management sector, energy focal agencies, and implementing agencies;
  • academia (research institutes, universities and think-tanks);
  • international NGOs, local NGOs and CSOs;
  • local authorities and communities;
  • private sector and companies;
  • Development Partners;
  • Dialogue Partners;
  • other interested groups.

 

Date and Venue

30 November 2021

  • Lao PDR: Vientiane Capital, the primary host location (physical and virtual)
  • Cambodia: Siem Reap, secondary host location (physical and virtual)
  • Thailand: Bangkok, secondary host location (physical and virtual)
  • Viet Nam: Ha Noi, secondary host location (physical and virtual)

 

Mode of the Forum

The MRC Secretariat will host the forum from Lao PDR’s capital city Vientiane. Interested participants who are in Lao PDR can join the forum either physically or virtually through a conference link or watch our livestream from anywhere. Similar arrangements will be provided for participants in Cambodia, Thailand and Viet Nam who host the meeting from Siem Reap, Bangkok, and Ha Noi, respectively.

Some countries are conducting the forum under precautionary measures, for example by limiting the size of participants (e.g. 20–50 people). Each meeting hub will take these requirements into consideration and limit physical attendance accordingly. If you are planning to join physically, we encourage that you register as soon as possible.

Three participation options are available for all interested stakeholders:

  1. Physical participation: Register and join the forum at a nearest location (Vientiane, Siem Reap, Bangkok, or Ha Noi)
  2. Virtual participation:
    • Join our social media livestream (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or YouTube).  
    • Register and join the forum through our Webex video conferencing link (to be provided).

All interested stakeholders can register their comments, concerns and suggestions prior, during and after the forum in any of the following ways:

  • by sending an email to sopheak@mrcmekong.org;
  • by submitting your opinion via MRC stakeholder comment box;
  • by participating in, and commenting/raising questions directly at any of the four forum locations;
  • by commenting or raising questions/suggestions on the MRC’s social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube);
  • by providing live comments on the Webex chat/comment box during the event.

 

Registration

The forum’s Day 1 is by invitation only.

Day 2 is open to all interested stakeholders and is free of charge. If you are planning to participate physically or through Webex video conferencing, please register as soon as possible through the link below.

Registration is now closed. Thank you for your interest.

For those who have registered, our staff member has already sent an email containing necessary information about the participation, including the Forum’s Zoom link.

Forum’s Participation Link

(DAY 2) 11th Regional Stakeholder Forum
Webinar ID: 921 8362 9567
Webinar Passcode: 1234567890
link: https://zoom.us/j/92183629567?pwd=ZG5VcldZcjQydFBkbDZUY3hvRWJyQT09

 

Documents

All the submitted documents are available for public access at this dedicated link: https://bit.ly/3E4emH8. A set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) on the PC process of mainstream hydropower projects and their expected outcomes is also available.

Forum’s document

To ensure a meaningful participation for all stakeholders, the MRC Secretariat will post below all the documents, including PowerPoint Presentations, that will be discussed at the forum.

Document Language (click to download) Anticipated available date
Summary of the Updated 2nd draft Technical Review Report English, Khmer, Lao, Thai and Vietnamese 27 Oct 2021
Summary of the final draft Technical Review Report English 8 Nov 2021
Summary of the final draft Technical Review Report Khmer, Lao, Thai and Vietnamese 18 Nov 2021
Executive Summary of the Rapid Assessment of the Potential Impacts of Rapid Fluctuation in Water Levels Downstream of Sanakham Hydropower Project English 8 Nov 2021
Executive Summary of the Rapid Assessment of the Potential Impacts of Rapid Fluctuation in Water Levels Downstream of Sanakham Hydropower Project Khmer, Lao, Thai and Vietnamese 15 Nov 2021
PowerPoint Presentations (per agenda) English 19 Nov 2021

 

Questions

If you have any questions on logistics, participation and media, please direct them to the following staff member.

Logistics

Ms Soukouman Viravong
Administration Assistant
MRC Secretariat
e-mail: soukouman@mrcmekong.org

Participation and the media

Mr Sopheak Meas
Communication Officer for Press
MRC Secretariat
e-mail: sopheak@mrcmekong.org

Sanakham Hydropower Project Video