UNESCO Calls For Heritage Assessment For Lao Hydropower Dam

The Diplomat

Last week, Radio Free Asia reported that UNESCO has requested an assessment for a planned hydropower dam close to the town of Luang Prabang, fearing that the dam’s potential impact could put the World Heritage Site at risk.

Luang Prabang is the former center of the precolonial Lan Xang kingdom and has remained an important spiritual and religious center in the centuries since. UNESCO added Luang Prabang to its World Heritage list in 1995, describing its antique old town as “an outstanding example of the fusion of traditional architecture and Lao urban structures with those built by the European colonial authorities in the 19th and 20th centuries.”

Just 25 kilometers upstream of the town, however, Laos’s communist government is planning to construct a gargantuan 1,460-megawatt dam. The $3 billion project, a joint venture involving Petro Vietnam Power Corporation and Thailand’s CH Karnchang, is scheduled to begin construction this year and finish in 2027.

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