Center for Peace and Conflict Studies Chulalongkorn University
At 8.30-16.30 on 19 February 2014
Room 105 at Maha Chulalongkorn Building
Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok
Center for Peace and Conflict Studies, Chulalongkorn University
Department of Water Resources Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Chulalongkorn University
Chula Global Network
Towards Ecological Recovery and Regional Alliance, Foundation for Ecological Recovery
Don Sahong Dam, 256MW, is expected to abrade Hou Sahong, the most important river channel for fish migration and breeding in Siphandon – an area of braided rivers where the complexity of rapids and rocky beds shape this area into one of Lao PDR’s, and Mekong region, most abundant aquatic environment. Siphandon is located in Khong District of Champasak Province in Southern Lao PDR and is less than two kilometres away from Laos-Cambodia border. It is home to two famous waterfalls, namely Khone Phapheng and Lipi. Among the river channels,hou, of Siphandon, Hou Sahong is the only channel where water runs year-round, making it a key migratory route for Mekong fish.
On 30 September 2013, Lao PDR submitted a “Notification” via Mekong River Commission (MRC) to other member countries, indicating its intent to proceed with the Don Sahong Hydropower Project. The difference between “Notification” and “Prior Consultation” process is that, the Prior consultation is the process which abides by the terms of 1995 Mekong Agreement, as a process to propose project that identify as Mekong mainstream project that can cause transboundary impacts on Mekong countries. However, Lao PDR claimed that the Don Sahong Dam is only blocking one channel of Mekong mainstream. Even though Laos has not declared that Don Sahong is located on a Mekong tributary, it also does not accept that it is a mainstream project either.
Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam all sent a letter to Lao PDR expressing concerns over immediate impacts posed by the Don Sahong Dam on fishery and livelihoods of local communities and the people of Mekong. The three countries demanded Lao PDR to seek for “Prior Consultation” and conduct further feasibility study and more thorough environmental and social impact assessment of the project.
Despite the consensus to elevate the discussion on the Don Sahong Dam to ministerial level during the last Special MRC Joint Committee meeting on 16 January 2014, Lao PDR still insisted on moving forward with the project. A
t the meeting, Laos anticipated to: 1) welcome joint monitoring for the Don Sahong project during all stages of development; 2) conduct another site visit tour in 11-13 March 2014 to witness that fish would be able to migrate through other channel in the surrounded areas in dry season; and 3) hold a technical workshop in the first week of March to discuss all of the technical and environmental issues related to the project to deliberate all legitimate concerns of all stakeholders (Statement of Lao Delegation to MRC JC, 16 January 2014).
But, other stakeholders are still concerned. Lao PDR’s anticipations do not coincide with the progress of the Don Sahong Dam. Lao government proposed to start construction in November last year and expected the project to be completed by February 2018 before selling power to Electricite du Laos (EDL) in May 2018.
This regional public forum aims to inform the public and all stakeholders in Thailand and other Mekong countries about the Don Sahong Hydropower Project. The objectives of this forum are:
60-80 participants, including media, government officials or MRC representatives, civil society, academia, students, general public from Thailand and CSOs from other Mekong countries.
|9:00-9:20||Welcome and Introduction of Forum
By Representative from Chulalongkorn University
|9:20-9:40||Background and Current Situation of Mekong Mainstream Dam Projects
By Towards Ecological Recovery and Regional Alliance, Foundation for Ecological Recovery
|9:40-10:00||Mekong Agreement and Its Implementation Under the Framework of Mekong River Commission (MRC), MRC Secretariat and the Four Country Members (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand, and Vietnam)
|10:00-10:30||Addressing Outstanding Issues Related to Lao PDR’s Don Sahong Dam Project
1) Understanding Fluvial Geomorphology and Water Flow of Siphandon
By Dr. Chaiyuth Suksri, Department of Water Resources Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Chulalongkorn University
|10:50-11:20||Addressing Outstanding Issues Related to Lao PDR’s Don Sahong Dam Project
2) Understanding Local Fishery
By Mr. Chheng Phen, Acting Director of Inland Fisheries Research and Development Institute (IFReDI), Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), Cambodia
|11:20-11:40||Mekong delta and concerns over the dams on Mekong mainstream
By Dr. Le Duc Trung, Director-General, Vietnam National Mekong Committee, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (TBC)
|11:40-12:00||Community Research on Impacts of Dam Projects and Flooding in Mekong
By Network of Community Organization Council of Seven Northeastern Provinces in Mekong Basin
|12.00-12.30||Questions from the journalists/participants|
|14:00-16:00||Group Discussion Among Civil Society and Academia and Recommendations to Dam Projects on Mekong River, by:
Moderator: A representative From an International Organisation Working on Issues Related to Mekong River (e.g. International Rivers –TBC)
Discussion on Transboundary Impacts in Mekong Region and ASEAN
By Professor Surichai Wun’Gaeo, Director, Center for Peace and Conflict Studies, Chulalongkorn University
|16:20-16:30||Closing Remarks by: (TBC)|