Vientiane, Lao PDR, 1 November 2021 — Registration is now open for the 11th Regional Stakeholder Forum (RSF) of the Mekong River Commission (MRC), which will be held on 29 and 30 November 2021, physically and virtually.

The 11th MRC RSF aims to provide a unique opportunity for stakeholders to exchange views on responsible hydropower development and management, on the first day. On the second day, it will share the latest information on the 684-megawatt Sanakham dam that the Lao Government has proposed to build on the mainstream of the Mekong River, and create a platform for stakeholders to voice concerns and recommendations on the proposed dam.

MRC Secretariat Chief Executive Officer An Pich Hatda encourages everyone to join the discussion and make their voice heard. “As a Mekong citizen, we all have a collective responsibility to safeguard the Mekong River and ensure its sustainability and the livelihoods of people not only during this generation but many more to come.”

The Forum is open to everyone, including the civil society organizations (CSOs), government agencies, developers and operators of hydropower dams across the Mekong River Basin. Interested stakeholders can register from 1 to 21 November 2021.

Registration for Day 1 can be done here, and for Day 2 here


The RSF is the MRC’s signature public engagement event, serving as a platform for an open and constructive dialogue on emerging issues in the Mekong River Basin. Through the Forum, the MRC Member Countries and other stakeholders such as development partners, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the private sector, media, communities and other interested groups have an opportunity to share information, discuss mutual concerns, and build a collective understanding on the underlying factors that promote responsible and equitable use of water and related resources in the river basin.

Around 200 participants are expected to attend the Forum, including community representatives, international and local NGOs, CSOs, academia, the private sector, development partners, the media, and developers and operators of hydropower dams across the Mekong River Basin.

The 30 November gathering will be a combination of physical and virtual participation with Vientiane the primary host. Similar meeting arrangements will be convened in Cambodia, Thailand and Viet Nam. The 29 November meeting will be fully virtual and not livestreamed.

The MRC will livestream the second day of the deliberations across all of its social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. For information and updates on the Forum, visit the MRC website or follow the MRC on the social media channels, and use the hashtag #MRC11RFS.

Read the news in Khmer, Lao, Thai or Vietnamese.


Note to editors:

The Mekong River Commission: The MRC is an intergovernmental organization established in 1995 for regional dialogue and cooperation in the Lower Mekong River Basin. Based on the Mekong Agreement between Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam, the Commission serves as a regional platform for water diplomacy as well as a knowledge hub of water resources management for the sustainable development of the region.

The Sanakham hydropower project: The Sanakham dam estimated to cost just over USD 2 billion is the sixth project in the MRC’s six-month Prior Consultation (PC) process that is tentatively scheduled to conclude on 19 January 2022. The RSF discussions follow formal notification by the Lao Government of its intention to undertake the PC Process as part of the MRC Procedures for Notification, Prior Consultation and Agreement (PNPCA).

Notification by the Lao Government came just after its submission of the Luang Prabang project for the PC process which ended on 30 June 2020. The PC process for Sanakham commenced on 30 July 2020, and because of difficulties brought by the COVID 19 pandemic, a flexible timetable has been implemented.

The intended site of the Sanakham dam lies between Xayaburi and Vientiane provinces in Lao PDR, approximately 155 kilometers north of Vientiane and about 2 kilometers upstream of the Thai-Lao border. The project is to be developed by Datang (Lao) Sanakham Hydropower Company, a subsidiary of China’s Datang International Power Generation Co. Ltd.