WWF calls for emergency MRC meeting over Laos’ decision to build 2nd dam

The Nation
6 October, 2013

The World Wildlife Fund, one of the biggest conservation groups, has called for an emergency meeting with the Mekong River Commission (MRC) in the wake of Laos’ decision to proceed with a second dam on the river.

There are fears that this move will seriously undermine the River Commission’s efforts to protect the river and its rich fish life. It could also strain regional ties, given that the Don Sahong dam is likely to have severe environmental repercussions in Cambodia and Vietnam, where millions of people rely on fishing and growing rice in the lower reaches of the Mekong.

In a statement yesterday, WWF said Vientiane’s plan to go ahead with the dam in the Siphandone area and bypass the commission’s process for regional consultation had cast a cloud over the MRC and its management of the river.

“The MRC was effectively broken in November last year when Laos decided unilaterally to proceed with the controversial Xayaburi dam, against the express wishes of Vietnam and Cambodia,” WWF International director-general Jim Leape said.

“It is impossible to imagine that the Mekong River can be harnessed sustainably without the MRC functioning properly, ensuring joint decisions are reached on dam developments that are to the benefit of all.

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