A decision on the Xayaburi Dam, the fist Mekong river’s mainstream dam is expected to be made at the upcoming Mekong River Commission (MRC) Council meeting in December 7 – 9th in Siem Reap, according to a press release from the International River said today.
Ahead of a December regional ministerial meeting to decide whether or not to approve the proposed Xayaburi Dam, the Lao government is using a report by Swiss company Pöyry Energy AG to gain approval from neighboring countries, Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam.
According to the Pöyry’s report, despite acknowledging major uncertainties about what harm the project will bring to Lao people and neighboring countries, Pöyry recommends that the dam should be built, and falsely claims that neighboring countries’ concerns about the project have been addressed.
Ame Trandem, Southeast Asia Program Director for International Rivers said “the Pöyry report sidesteps science and relies instead on guesswork, making it an unsuitable basis for decision-making on the Xayaburi Dam.
“Pöyry claims that the project complies with MRC guidelines, despite listing over 40 major scientific and technical studies that still need to be completed. It would be irresponsible of Laos and other Mekong countries to support the Xayaburi Dam based on the false claims of this report”, she said.
In May 2011, Laos hired Pöyry Energy AG to undertake a three-month evaluation of the project’s compliance in response to the concerns raised by the governments of Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam in April.
The Xayaburi is one of the 11 proposed dams in the Mekong’s mainstream. MRC found that the Xayaburi Dam would block fish migrations, threatening between 23 and 100 species, and affecting fisheries throughout Mekong River Basin.