Phnom Penh, January 6, 2015: A group of NGOs consisting of NGO Forum on Cambodia (NGOF) World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Culture and Environment Preservation Association (CEPA) Cambodia, Fisheries Action Coalition Team (FACT), ERI and the Samreth Law firm met with the 3rd Commission of the National Assembly (NA) led by H. E Pol Ham, Chair of the 3rdCommission to discuss on some concerns about two hydropower dams. The two dams were the Don Sahong, which is located in Laos and placed only two kilometers from the Cambodian border in Stung Treng Province and LS2 situated in Stung Treng itself. During the discussion, the NGOs team suggested three important recommendations to the 3rdCommission including:
- To have an exposure visit by the member(s) of National Assembly to the project sites at in order to learn and understand more about the situation in those mentioned areas
- Send a formal letter written by the Cambodian to the NA of Mekong countries such as China, Myanmar, Thailand, Lao PDR and Vietnam to express their deep concern about the impacts from the Don Sahong Hydropower dam in Lao PRD and
- Urge Cambodian NA to ensure that they will monitor the projects development in both Don Sahong and Lower Sesan 2 Dams
In response to the main recommendations, the 3rdCommission of the NA agreed to consider taking the suggested actions, except, sending formal letter to Mekong countries. This may need further discussion among other NA members.
Brief Dams Backgrounds
Don Sahong Dam
The Don Sahong dam will be the second mainstream dams on the Mekong River, if built. The dam, if it proceeds as planned, will condemn the Mekong’s fisheries and destroy the downstream livelihoods, felt by the Cambodian people. The dam will cause serious problems for the environment fisheries and the livelihood of the poor. These concerns have been raised by non-governmental organizations and scientists over the Don Sahong and other proposed mainstream dams.
Lower Sesan 2 Dams
The Lower Sesan 2 Dam is located just below the confluence of the major Sesan and Srepok tributaries and about 25km from the Mekong River. Pre-construction activities on the project are already underway. Substantive construction of the dam will commence in January 2015 and closure of the river is expected to be complete by the same month. According to plans for the project, substantive construction will take 35 months. The Lower Sesan 2 Dam is being developed by a consortium of Chinese, Cambodian and Vietnamese companies, including China’s Hydrolancang International Energy Co. Ltd and Cambodia’s Royal Group. When complete, the dam will be approximately 75m high and 8km long, creating a 33,560 hectare reservoir, with a generating capacity of 400 MW. More than 5,000 people, most of whom are indigenous, will be forcibly resettled if the project proceeds.