Cambodian NGOs Reject Invitation to Regional Forum on Proposed Lao Dams

A Cambodian coalition of NGOs dedicated to raising public awareness about the risks associated with dams on the Mekong River said Thursday that it will boycott a regional stakeholder forum for two proposed hydropower projects in Laos because its concerns were ignored by the organizing body.

The Mekong River Commission (MRC)—a regional body established by Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand to cooperate on development of the key waterway—is holding the Sept. 20-21 forum to “share information on the Pak Lay project” as well as “updates and discussions on a joint action plan for the Pak Beng hydropower project” and other topics on an agenda that “highly involves stakeholders’ interest.”

The MRC has said it will support “open and inclusive participation from stakeholders from communities, non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations, academia, and the private sector” at the gathering in the Lao capital Vientiane.

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