The NGO Forum on Cambodia together with other 13 local and international organizations organized the a three-day Peace Campaign related to Concerns on Don Sahong Dam from March 29 – 31 in three provinces inlcuding Kratie, Stung Treng and Kompong Cham.
The first two days in Kratie and Stung Treng, there were over 400 community people, local authority and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) attended the program where the presentations on Don Sahong Dam such as researching reports, negative impacts and the geography of the location were being presented by the specialists and speakers from CSOs. The program were later on followed by the boat campaign, where the partakers join together for the boat riding along the mekong to the location where the dolphines are habitated and to see the view of the mekong river. During that occasion there press conference were also organized to open the opportunities for media team to seek for more needed information.
“I’m very worried about the dam construction, for there will so many problems could happen on our daily. Actually, there are many concerns, but I’m worried the most about my future children health and their living condition. If the dam is going to build, the water condition will be changing and polluted. This water is a habitat to numbers of fish species, birds and animats as well as server million of people and families, and I believe there will be tragic if the it is being contaminated. Hence, I come here today to show my support and to call for solutions from the government to raise our voice to the world. We need help!” Ms. Tha Sanjai, 56, a villager from Thmey Village, Samaki Commune, Stung Treng Province.
The community joint statement was conbine during the campaign with the thumpprint from people who support the “No Don Sahong Dam” campaign.
Contrasting to Kratie and Stung Treng where over 400 activists made their way along the mekong river by long boat on the Mekong River, the Kongpong Cham authorities were very accommodate the movement, as the plan for peace matching through Kompong Cham Province was denied after the matching request letter was submitted to the governor on March 26.
“Until today, not yet have any scientifics or full technology to replace of Mekong’s enironmental flow, ecology, water flow, fishery resources, dolphine, flood forest, Mekong’s deep pools and Lower Mekong’s agriculture system to ensure sustainability of the Mekong River and Mekong’s people livelihood, So, I would requested to halt construction of Don Sahong Hydropower Dam Development and stop making any development on the Mekong Mainstream Dam until those alternatives technologies are found ”, Mr. Vannara, Executive Director of the NGO Forum shared his thought.
“Kompong Cham refusal was the act against the democracy. We do not use violence, and we plan to conduct it in a very peaceful way to just show the concerns and suggestion of people against the dam,” said Mr. Vong Kosal, Legal Officer of the NGO Forum on Cambodia during the press conference in Kongpong Cham.
Even though the matching couldn’t push through, the NGO Forum on Cambodia and the organizations working on the dam in Kompong Cham conducted to the press conference by inviting community and student resprentatives to share the worries along the CSOs.
The Don Sahong dam will be the second mainstream dams on the Mekong River, if built. The dam, if proceed as planned, will condemn the Mekong’s fisheries and destroy the downstream livelihoods, felt by the Cambodian people. The dam has caused serious concerns on environment (i.e. fisheries), socio-economic impacts and livelihoods of the poor. The concerns have been raised by non-governmental organizations and scientists over the Don Sahong and other proposed mainstream dams.
In this light, we organize this national peace walk which aimed at raising awareness about the dam and its potential impacts as well as informing the 4 lower Mekong governments, public, development partners and other relevant stakeholders about the Mekong mainstream dams. Our position is “no mainstream dam” on the Mekong. We have the following objectives:
- To improve understandings and inform general public of the progress of Mekong Mainstream dam projects that create huge negative impacts on livelihood, environment, biodiversity and socio-economic, starting from Xayaburi and Don Sahong Dams in Lao PDR.
- To come to a consensus of opinions among civil society and communities living and working actively on the Mekong mainstream issues on “No Mekong Mainstream Dams”. Mainly, we are focusing on two controversial mainstream hydropower dams, Xayaburi and Don Sahong.
- To make request to the four Mekong governments and other development partners to put pressure on Lao PDR’s government to immediately stop the construction of these mainstream hydropower dams.
- Oxfam Australia
- International Rivers
- The NGO Forum on Cambodia
- The NGO Forum on Cambodia (NGOF)
- Fisheries Action Coalition Team (FACT)
- North-eastern Rural Development (NRD)
- Culture and Environment Preservation Association (CEPA)
- My Village Organization (MVi)
- 3S Rivers Protection Network (3SPN)
- Buddhist Association for Environmental Development (BAED)
- Neak Aphiwat Sahokom (NAS)
- Cambodian Rural Development Team (CRDT)
- Community Economic Development (CED)
- Kampuchea Women Welfare Action (KWWA)
- Kratie Fishery Cantonment