Regional CSOs Boycott Mekong River Forum Over Opposition to Lao Dam

Thai and Cambodian civil society organizations rejected an invitation from the Lao government to attend a regional stakeholder forum on the Pak Lay dam, saying that the prior notification and consultation procedures for the controversial hydropower project are not transparent.

The Mekong River Commission (MRC), a platform for regional cooperation among the countries along the key regional waterway, held the forum on Sept. 20-21 in the Lao capital Vientiane for stakeholders to discuss the 770-megawatt project in northwestern Laos’ Xayaburi province and updates on a joint action plan for the proposed 912-megawatt Pak Beng hydropower project in Oudomxay province.

The Pak Lay project, which will be the fourth dam on the lower Mekong mainstream in Laos, began the MRC’s six-month prior consultation process in August.

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