National Consultation of PNCPA on the Proposed Lao’s Luang Prabang Hydropower

The first national consultation of PNPCA on the proposed Lao’s Luang Prabang Hydropower dam project under the 1995 Mekong agreement was organized by the Cambodia National Mekong Committee on 21st October 2019 at Apsara Angkor Hotel in Siem Reap province. The consultation aimed to 1) Understand of the Mekong Agreement 1995 and the Procedure for Notification, Prior Consultation and Agreement (PNPCA); 2) Discuss and agree on MRC Approach in Implementation of PNPCA for the Luang Prabang Hydropower project (LPHPP) and 3) Review and collect preliminary comments related to the LPHPP.

In the meeting Mr. Tek Vannara, Executive Director of NGO Forum on Cambodia has made 12 preliminary suggestions to the consultation, there are following: 1) Translate project documents into Khmer that enable participants to understand and provide feedback; 2) Give more sufficient time for relevant stakeholders to provide inputs; 3) Provide opportunities to communities along Mekong river and from other areas as well as think tank, academies to participate in the next consultation; 4) The consultation should be organized in Phnom Penh that enable all relevant stakeholders to participate; 5) Should put in place a mechanism and actions that respond to climate change, drought and flood and integrate into official project documents and ensure enforceable; 6) Identify clearly an impact on fishery resources and appropriate solutions that ensure fish reproductive and fishery resources sustainability in the Mekong region; 7) Conduct more detail study on a transboundary impact on social, environmental, cultural and economy that would create by the project and conduct a meaningful consultation with up and downstream communities; 8)Shall put in place a mechanism and clear plan to address social, environmental and economic issues and ensure enforceable; 9) Should conduct study on an impact on sediment that would affected on rice production and land quality in the Mekong region; 10) Identify and elaborate clearly the project value and standard for compensation for affected people in the project area as well as compensation standard for transboundary impacts; 11) Put in place clearly a social and environmental safeguard and especially a procedure to assess private properties base on national and international standard and 12) Inter-governments should discuss exploring alternative options particularly clean and renewable energy rather than put more concentration on large scale hydropower that would generate major impacts on social, culture and environment.

These were preliminary comments raised by the NGO Forum on Cambodia on the proposed Luang Prabang hydropower project. Due to time shortage and the project documents are in English that made it very difficult to understand most of the contents and technical words. NGO Forum on Cambodia will do a comprehensive review of the project documents and will continue to consult with other relevant CSOs in order to prepare our common standing position on this project. The proposed Luang Prabang project has a capacity of 1,400 MW, located in 1,370 Km from Laos and Cambodia border. The project will take 7 years for development starting from 2020 to 2027 which is the fifth hydropower project in the Mekong mainstream after Xayaburi, Don Sahong, Pak Beng and Pak Lay.