StM Statement on the Collapse of the Xe Pian – Xe Nam Noy Hydropower Project

Save the Mekong, a coalition of non-government organizations, community-based groups and concerned citizens within the Mekong region, wish to express our shock and concern at the recent collapse of the Xe Pian – Xe Nam Noy hydropower project in Laos, and our deep condolences to communities affected by this tragedy, both in southern Laos and downstream in Cambodia.

Read more >>  STM Statement on Lao Dam Collapse_Final

แถลงการณ์พันธมิตรเพื่อปกป้องแม่น้ำโขง กรณีเขื่อนปากลาย 19 ก.ค. 61

พันธมิตรเพื่อปกป้องแม่น้ำโขง (Save the Mekong Coaltion) ได้ส่งแถลงการณ์ถึงคณะกรรมการแม่น้ำโขงและตัวแทนรัฐบาลทั้ง 4 ประเทศ กรณีการสร้างเขื่อนปากลาย เขื่อนบนแม่น้ำโขงสายหลักแห่งที่ 4 โดยรัฐบาลลาว  ในแถลงการณ์ระบุว่า  ตามที่ เมื่อวันที่ 13 มิถุนายน 2561 รัฐบาลลาวได้แจ้งอย่างเป็นทางการไปยังคณะกรรมาธิการแม่น้ำโขง กรณีการสร้างเขื่อนปากลาย ตามข้อตกลงแม่น้ำโขงปี 2538 เครือข่ายพันธมิตรแห่งลุ่มน้ำโขงมีความกังวลเป็นอย่างยิ่งต่อ แผนการเตรียมกระบวนการแจ้งและปรึกษาหรือล่วงหน้าในครั้งนี้

อ่านต่อ >> Save the Mekong Letter on Pak Lay Notification-19July – TH

Tuyên bố của Liên minh Cứu sông Mê Công về Thông báo xây dựng đập Pak Lay

Tuyên bố của Liên minh Cứu sông Mê Công về Thông báo xây dựng đập Pak Lay

Ngày 13 tháng 6, Chính phủ Lào đã chính thức thông báo cho Ủy ban Sông Mê Công (MRC) về dự định xây dựng đập Pak Lay trên dòng chính của sông Mê Công. Thông báo này là động thái khởi động Quy trình Tham vấn trước theo Thủ tục Thông báo, Tham vấn trước và Đồng thuận (PNPCA) của Hiệp định Mê Công năm 1995. Pak Lay là con đập trên dòng chính thứ tư được đệ trình để thực hiện thủ tục này.

read more >> Tuyen bo StM Pak Lay_FINAL

StM Statement Regarding the Pak Lay Dam Notification

Statement of the Save the Mekong Coalition Regarding the Pak Lay Dam Notification

On 13 June, the Government of Laos formally notified the Mekong River Commission (MRC) of its
intention to construct the Pak Lay dam on the mainstream of the Mekong River. The notification
triggers the Prior Consultation procedure under the Procedures for Notification, Prior Consultation
and Agreement (PNPCA) of the 1995 Mekong Agreement. Pak Lay is the fourth Mekong mainstream
dam to be submitted for the procedure.

Read more >>Save the Mekong Letter on Pak Lay Notification-19July

Mekong Public Forum in Can Tho, Vietnam

On March 20th, 2018, International Rivers, PanNature, Mekong Environment Forum, and Save the Mekong Coalition co-organized the forum “The Mekong Under Threat: Protecting People and Ecosystems in a Fast-Changing Basin” in Can Tho, Vietnam. The forum is to facilitate a public platform for exchanging information and perspectives on existing challenges for the Mekong basin.

This event  provided space for community representatives from Lower Mekong basin countries to share their views on changes to the river ecosystems, impacts on their livelihoods and everyday life, as well as express their concerns and recommendations to policy-makers in the region. On the other hand, relevant agencies and scientists joined the forum to respond to voices of local communities and share their perspectives on impacts of climate change and hydropower development on the Mekong basin. Forum discussions included alternatives for energy demand and proposals for ways toward sustainable and fair development at basin-scale for countries to realize UN SDGs.

More than 150 representatives from government agencies, civil society organizations  and communities from Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam participated in this forum.

Forum agenda and presentations of guest speakers in the Forum are as below:


The study on Sustainable Management and Development of the Mekong River Including Impacts by Mainstream Hydropower Projects (Council study)

Dr. Naruepon Sukumasavin, Mekong River Commission Secretariat

Hydropower Dams, Water Governance, and Impacts on The Lower Mekong Basin

Dr. Le Viet Phu, Lower Mekong Public Policy Initiative (LMPPI), Fulbright University Vietnam

The Challenges in Mekong Basin

Dr. Duong Van Ni, Can Tho University

Alternative Visions for the Mekong Development and the Basin – National and Regional Energy Development 

Mr. Tran Dinh Sinh, Vice Director of GreenID

Vietnam River Network and its Achievement in Sustainable Development Goals

Ms. Nguyen Thi Hong Van, Vietnam Rivers Network

Save the Mekong Coalition Statement on the Occasion of World Water Day

Save the Mekong Coalition Statement on the Occasion of World Water Day

On the occasion of World Water Day, the Save the Mekong Coalition, together with civil society and community partners from Thailand, Lao PDR, Cambodia and Vietnam, make this statement to express our concern for the Mekong River and the communities our river supports.

The series of eleven large hydropower dams planned on the Mekong River’s lower mainstream, along with over a hundred dams planned on Mekong tributaries, pose a major threat to the ecological health and economic vitality of the region. These dams place the livelihoods and food security of millions of people at risk. We are extremely  concerned by plans for extensive hydropower construction, which fail to consider the knowledge, cultures, and voices of the Mekong Basin peoples whose livelihoods and beliefs are deeply connected with the Mekong River.

Planning and decision-making processes for hydropower and other developments on the Mekong River lack public participation, transparency and accountability. The Xayaburi and Don Sahong Dams, under construction on the Lower Mekong mainstream, are now nearing completion, yet comprehensive information on these projects has not been made public despite repeated requests from communities, civil society and other stakeholders. This includes details of project design and assessments demonstrating how mitigation measures such as fish passages will prevent the destruction of Mekong basin fisheries and other impacts on the river ecosystem. Despite this lack of transparency, the Xayaburi Dam is being touted as a model for other mainstream Mekong dams.

Decision-making on hydropower projects is made on a project-by-project basis, ignoring cumulative and basin-wide impacts. We call on the Lower Mekong governments and the Mekong River Commission to ensure that the findings of the MRC Council Study and other basin-wide studies, which provide assessment of the losses and trade-offs inherent in these projects, meaningfully inform decisions on individual dam projects.

We call into question the need for destructive hydropower development in the Mekong Basin to meet the region’s energy and development needs. Renewable energy technologies, demand-side management and energy  efficiency measures should be fully considered in assessing alternatives to destructive hydropower projects on the Lower Mekong mainstream and within the basin. We urge regional governments to prioritize introduction of renewable and decentralized electricity technologies that are increasingly available and cost-competitive, without the harmful social and environmental impacts of large-scale hydropower dams.

Current proposals for regional energy trade from hydropower development must not proceed without considering the lack of protection and accountability to affected communities. Plans to import energy from hydropower in Laos and Cambodia risk exacerbating human rights violations and environmental degradation
where public participation and free, prior informed consent are weak or nonexistent. Mekong citizens must be meaningfully involved in the development of national power development plans and proposals for regional energy trade.

The Mekong region needs leadership and vision to achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs) while preserving the region’s rich fisheries and water resources that are essential to poverty alleviation and development for current and future generations. By adopting national and regional energy policies that
encourage investment in renewable energy, the Mekong region could enjoy an era of truly sustainable growth without losing the benefits that healthy rivers bring.

Press Release: Prior Consultation for Pak Beng Dam Must be Extended


Friday, June 16, 2017


On Monday 19 June, the Joint Committee of the Mekong River Commission (MRC) will meet for a special session to discuss the Prior Consultation process for the Pak Beng Dam, and the positions of MRC member countries as expressed in their formal reply forms. The meeting marks the end of the first 6 months of the Prior Consultation process for the Pak Beng project.

There are significant outstanding concerns regarding the quality of studies and information relied on during the Prior Consultation to assess and understand the project’s environmental and social impacts on the Mekong River. This includes the project’s transboundary impacts in Thailand and other neighboring countries, and its cumulative impacts with other existing and proposed hydropower projects in the Mekong basin. There are further concerns over the quality of national consultations conducted and public participation in the Prior Consultation process.

More time is needed, within the Prior Consultation, for further baseline studies to be conducted by the developer, and further information provided to member countries with which to meaningfully evaluate the expected impacts of the Pak Beng Dam. Under the 1995 Mekong Agreement and the Procedures for Notification, Prior Consultation and Agreement (PNPCA), it is within the purview of the Joint Committee to extend the time period for Prior Consultation. It is also the responsibility of the Joint Committee to respond to concerns that arise within the Prior Consultation process.

The MRC’s draft Technical Review of the Pak Beng Dam’s project documents, including the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and project documents found significant gaps in data provided on fisheries, hydrology and sediment, and concluded that the transboundary impacts of project had not been fully assessed. An independent expert review of the Pak Beng Dam EIA, commissioned by International Rivers, also concluded that the information provided by the developer was insufficient to evaluate the full extent of the impacts and consequently the viability of proposed impact mitigation measures. Analysis of the Transboundary and Cumulative Impact Assessment found an absence of meaningful public participation in preparation of the study and no consultation with communities who would be affected by the project.

At a national level, civil society and local communities have raised strong concerns regarding the limitations of consultation meetings held in Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam. These meetings have been characterized by a lack of representation, in particular from affected communities, as well as limitations in project information presented and the scope of discussion. The project developer did not attend consultation meetings at a national level and therefore were not able to respond to the questions of participants. In Thailand, concern over the transboundary impacts of the Pak Beng Dam, and the weakness of national level consultation and information sharing has prompted a lawsuit filed by Thai Mekong communities in Thailand’s Administrative Court against the Thai National Mekong Committee.

Communities in Thailand are extremely concerned about the transboundary impacts of the Pak Beng Dam. Given the location of the project close to the border to Thailand, there is an urgent need for adequate assessment of the dam’s transboundary impacts. Furthermore, decision-making must include participation of local communities whose livelihoods and food sources will be affected as a result of the Pak Beng Dam. This includes communities throughout the lower Mekong River Basin whose way of life depends on the Mekong River and is at risk due to dam construction.

The MRC Secretariat has framed the Prior Consultation as focused on steps to mitigate and minimize harm resulting from the Pak Beng Dam. However, without sufficient baseline data and adequate impact assessments, it is not possible to develop viable and context specific mitigation measures, especially in an ecosystem as complex as that of the Mekong River. With both the Xayaburi and Don Sahong Dams, construction commenced in the absence of necessary baseline studies. As the projects have advanced, very little information has been made publicly available about the progress of ongoing studies and impact monitoring.

The Pak Beng Dam must not follow the same path as the Xayaburi and Don Sahong Dams. Mekong governments must push for adequate project studies to be conducted before a decision is made to proceed with the dam and before project agreements are signed and construction begins.

The timeframe for the Prior Consultation process for the Pak Beng Dam must be extended to allow for updated studies to be evaluated by MRC member countries. This should include consideration of the final findings of the MRC Council Study, which will be completed in December 2017. There is an urgent need for shared, regional decision-making that is based on quality scientific studies and on a broader awareness and understanding of transboundary and cumulative impacts of dams on the Mekong River mainstream.

Media Contacts:

Teerapong Pomun, Director, Mekong Community Institute,
E:, T: +66 814477969
TEK Vannara, Executive Director, NGO Forum on Cambodia,
E:, T: 85523214429
Trinh Le Nguyen, Executive Director, People and Nature Reconciliation,
E:, T: 84435564001
Maureen Harris, Southeast Asia Program Director, International Rivers,
E: mharris@internationalrivers.or g, T: +66 618902602

Please read the Vietnamese version here


Thai Villagers File Lawsuit on Pak Beng Dam

On Thursday, June 8, 2017 the Thai Network of Eight Mekong Provinces filed a lawsuit against relevant Thai government agencies for their involvement in the Pak Beng Dam on the Mekong River, and the expected transboundary impacts on communities in Thailand.

The Pak Beng Dam is the third dam planned for construction on the lower Mekong River mainstream (following the Xayaburi and Don Sahong Dams). The dam will be located in Oudomxay Province, Northern Laos, blocking the river about 92 kilometers downstream from Thailand in Wiang Kaen District, Chiang Rai Province. China’s Datang Corporation is developing the 912 MW project. Approximately 90% of the electricity is planned for sale to the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT), for export to Thailand.

The Pak Beng Dam is currently undergoing Prior Consultation in accordance with the Procedures for Prior Notification, Prior Consultation and Agreement set out under the 1995 Mekong Agreement. The initial 6-month Prior Consultation period will conclude on June 19th. As part of the Prior Consultation process, the Mekong River Commission (MRC) conducted a Technical Review of the environmental and social impacts studies for the Pak Beng Dam. The review focused on a number of critical issues including, hydrology, sediment, fisheries, dam safety, navigation, and social and transboundary impacts. The MRC’s Technical Review team found significant shortcomings in the reports submitted to the MRC in November 2016. There was very limited information provided in particular regarding fish species that would be impacted by the dam. Data collection was extremely limited, fish sampling was carried out over a few days at six stations in 2011, in the dry and rainy season. Experts conclude that the proposed fish passage, designed to mitigate the impacts of the Pak Beng Dam on fish migration is unlikely to be effective. Furthermore, reviewers found that studies of the Pak Beng’s transboundary impacts were inadequate, especially in relation to the expected impacts in Thailand.

Thailand has held four meetings regarding the Pak Beng Dam, as part of the Prior Consultation process, and at each meeting Thai people expressed significant concerns about the transboundary impacts of the dam, both upstream and downstream. Given the inter-connected nature of the Mekong River, if the water level in the river rises by only 50cm-1m, there will be impacts. Villagers in Thailand are particularly worried about flooding, as a result of the dam’s reservoir. Information shared at the Pak Beng forums in Thailand was very limited, and so people have been left with many questions regarding the impacts of the project. Today when dams upstream in China release water during the dry season, it causes flooding downstream. If the Pak Beng Dam is built, villagers in Chiang Rai will be living in between two dams.

The lawsuit is the second case filed against Thai government agencies regarding cross-border impacts from projects outside of Thailand, and which deals with transboundary environmental and social impacts of hydropower projects on the Mekong River. The lawsuit calls for the Thai agencies named to protect the rights and freedoms of people living in Thailand.

Please read vietnamese version here.

Photo Credit: PanNature

Statement of the Save the Mekong Coalition for the 23rd MRC Council Meeting

On the occasion of the 23rd Meeting of the Mekong River Commission (MRC) Council, the Save the Mekong Coalition has issued a Statement to express our serious concern over the ongoing development of hydropower projects on the Mekong mainstream, despite unresolved issues over transboundary and cumulative impacts of projects already under construction and a breakdown in shared regional decision-making. We are further concerned about the status of the MRC Council Study, intended to inform decisions regarding development on the Mekong River, and request information on the status of the study, as well as of the review of the 1995 Mekong Agreement’s Procedures by the MRC’s Joint Platform.

The decision-making processes for the Xayaburi and Don Sahong dams, now under construction on the Mekong mainstream in Lao PDR, ignited significant controversy within the Mekong region and internationally. Requests for information and concerns over project impacts expressed during the Prior Consultation procedures were not formally addressed, including calls for extension of the consultation period, thorough baseline information, and studies of transboundary impacts. Both projects proceeded despite the absence of agreement or resolution of concerns within the MRC’s Joint Committee and Council.


The Mekong River is a vital shared resource for the region. There is an urgent need for change in the decision-making processes that are informing hydropower development in the Mekong Basin to ensure a sustainable future for the river and her people.

We call on the Mekong governments and the Mekong River Commission to:

  • Prioritize participation and consultation on the Council Study, expedite completion of the Council Study and disseminate ongoing results to the public, ensuring that these findings and those of the Mekong Delta Study inform further decision affecting the future of the river;
  • Prioritize organizational reform, including an assessment of the future of the MRC and the 1995 Agreement, with participation by the public and Mekong communities. The Mekong Agreement and procedures must be transparently reviewed and adapted in accordance with regional processes and developments in international law.
  • Halt further decision-making over Mekong mainstream dams, until such a time as decisions can be informed by and based upon meaningful consultation, particularly with local project-affected communities, and sound basin-wide studies which consider the transboundary and cumulative impacts of mainstream dams.

Vietnamese version of the Statement

Open Letter from Save the Mekong Coalition to MRC Development Partners

In advance of the Mekong River Commission’s Informal Donor Meeting this week, the Save the Mekong Coalition writes the open letter to express serious and ongoing concern over the outstanding issues and questions surrounding hydropower dam construction on the mainstream of the Mekong River.

The Coalition calls on Mekong River Commission developments partners to:

  • Renew their calls to the MRC to effect the release of the current designs for the Xayaburi dam and clarification of the status of the Prior Consultation process for the Don Sahong Dam;
  • Require reform of the MRC’s procedures before any further project is commenced, including requirements for comprehensive assessments and release of information, meaningful public participation and the transparent resolution of disputes;
  • Reconsider their support to the MRC if it remains unable to fulfil the purpose of ensuring adherence to the spirit and principles of the 1995 Mekong Agreement.

The Open Letter: EnglishThai versions, and Vietnamese news on the letter (updated).