The 10th MRC Regional Stakeholder Forum
On 09 September 2019, the Mekong River Commission (MRC) Secretariat received notification from the Lao National Mekong Committee submitting the Sanakham Hydropower Project (SNHPP) for Prior Consultation (PC) under the Procedures for Notification, Prior Consultation and Agreement (PNPCA). Documentation for the SNHPP was submitted around one month after submission of the Luang Prabang Hydropower Project (LPHPP). Following completion of the LPHPP PC process on 30 June 2020, the Joint Committee agreed to commence the PC process for the Sanakham Hydropower project in July 2020.
The PNPCA process provides stakeholders with available data and information of proposed project. The process is designed for the notified countries to make recommendations and for the proposing country to accept certain measures to avoid, minimise and mitigate any potential adverse transboundary impacts and find a better way to share benefits.
A Technical Review Report produced by the MRCS, which includes findings from the national information sharing/stakeholder consultation meetings, will be presented to the Joint Committee for their consideration. After that, notified countries will submit their Official Reply Forms to the MRC Secretariat to have their comments recorded. The final stage is for the Joint Committee to hold a meeting to discuss the project’s Prior Consultation with the aim of reaching an agreement to achieve optimal use and to issue a decision that contains agreed-upon conditions for the project. A Statement by the JC and Joint Action Plan, such as the one for Pak Beng, Pak Lay and Luang Prabang projects, is now an established mechanism to consider additional measures for the notifying country to consider, and for the MRC to follow up in terms of recommendations and monitoring.
The MRC considers the organisation of stakeholder consultations as an important and integral part of the hydropower project prior consultation process. It was agreed between the Member Countries that the process needed to ensure a mechanism to raise awareness and to involve people who will be directly and indirectly affected, as well as local and national government agencies, private sector / developers, the regional donor and academic communities, media, and the wider public represented by civil society and non-governmental organisations.
The organization and proceedings of consultation meetings plays an important role in contributing and providing useful suggestions and recommendations for the TRR and Reply Forms and its next steps.
At the regional level, the MRC Secretariat holds regional stakeholder forums on PNPCA prior consultation to (1) share information on the proposed hydropower project, (2) to obtain viewpoints and comments during drafting of the Technical Review of the proposed project, and (3) to provide a platform for multiple-stakeholders to exchange opinions and recommendations to minimise transboundary impacts for reasonable and equitable use of water and related resources in the Mekong River Basin.
The Regional Information Sharing & Consultation on Prior Consultation process for the proposed Sanakham Hydropower Project will focus on
- timely information sharing on the project
- reinforcing the common understanding of the MRC mandate, the PNPCA process, and its benefits
- reaffirming stakeholder engagement in good faith and the enhanced MRC mechanism
- soliciting preliminary views on the project
- obtaining concerns, comments and suggestions for the Technical Review Report.
The forum is free of charge and open to all interested participants including
- MRC Member Countries
- MRC Development Partners
- MRC Dialogue Partners
- Research Institutes and Universities
- Other river basin organizations
- Civil society organizations and NGOs
- Local authorities and communities
- The private sector and companies
- Other interested groups
All Sanakham hydropower project documents have been available on MRC website since 11 May 2020. A 30-page overview of the project and its submitted documents has been produced. In support of accurate public understanding of the PNPCA, a set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) around the prior consultation process of the mainstream hydropower project and its expected outcomes has been updated and published on the MRC website. Another improvement is that both the Overview and FAQs have been translated into the Cambodian, Lao, Thai and Vietnamese languages.
Date and venue
9.00 – 15.00, Tuesday, 24 November 2020,
Meeting hubs in Pakse (the host), Siem Reap, Bangkok and Hanoi
The MRC Secretariat will host the forum from Pakse, Lao PDR. Participants in Lao PDR can participate either physically in Pakse or virtually via our conference link. Similar arrangement will be provided for participants in Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam with meeting hubs in Siem Reap, Bangkok and Hanoi respectively.
Due to the Covid19 and the international travel ban, the MRC Secretariat will organize and host the 10th Regional Stakeholder Forum via videoconferencing with 04 meeting hubs located in Siem Reap, Pakse (the host), Bangkok and Hanoi.
Some countries are implementing precaution limiting the size of meetings (e.g. ~ 30-50 people), therefore the meeting hubs will take these requirements into consideration, that might limit numbers of physical participants depending on registration status. Therefore we would encourage interested participants to register as soon as possible.
All interested participants will have 3 options to participate in our forum:
- Watch the forum’s livestream on the MRC Facebook page OR
- Physically participate at the most convenient meeting hub (Pakse, Siem Reap, Bangkok and Hanoi) OR
- Via our Webex videoconference link that will be provided to registered participants.
Everyone can make comments and suggestions prior to the forum, during the forum and after the forum by:
- Sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org OR
- Participating in and raising comments/questions directly at the meeting hubs in Pakse, Siem Reap, Bangkok and Hanoi OR
- Leaving your comments/suggestions/questions on the MRC facebook page OR
- Live comments on Webex chat/comment box during VDO conference OR
- Letting us know your opinion via MRC stakeholder comment box
Online Stakeholder Comment Box
We have an online stakeholder comment box to collect comments from stakeholders. Submitted comments will be addressed in the forum. We therefore would like to encourage participants / stakeholders to send us comments via the online box. All comments can be made anonymous or identified.
A limited financial support to travel to the meeting hub is available to assist participants from civil society and community-based organizations. The support will cover domestic air ticket, accommodation and expenses to cover ground transportation and meals.
If you require financial support, please provide additional information on the online registration form by 13 November 2020.
Please register by completing the online registration form.
The deadline for registration for physical attendance in one of the meeting hubs is 9 November 2020.
The deadline for online participation is 19 November 2020.
QR Code and Links for documents & PPTs
6. Recap & next steps
MRC Regional Stakeholder Forum #10 - Forum Survey
Ms. Soukouman Viravong
Mekong River Commission Secretariat at Vientiane, Lao PDR
Tel: + 856 21 263 263, ext. 4003
For participation and sponsorship
Ms. Duong Hai Nhu
Stakeholder Engagement Specialist
Tel: +856 21 263 263 ext. 4115
Mekong River Commission Secretariat at Vientiane, Lao PDR