Very quietly, with no official public announcement, the intergovernmental assessment process for Laos’s contentious Don Sahong dam is almost over before anyone knew it began.
In June, Laos conceded to its downstream neighbours and allowed the 260-megawatt project to undergo a six-month consultation period. Last week, during a meeting in Phnom Penh, the Mekong River Commission declared the process had started on July 25.
“The announcement, or rather lack of announcement, of a start date for the prior consultation process, which is more than two months past, illustrates just how backwards the process is,” said Ame Trandem, International Rivers’ Southeast Asia director.
Laos has been accused by its neighbours of using the regional consultation as a facade for cooperation rather than genuine regional debate and study over its mainstream dams.
The Cambodian National Mekong Committee yesterday said long-requested transboundary impact studies for Don Sahong are scheduled for completion by the end of the year.