Statement on Xayaburi Hydropower Dam Project




Concerns and Suggestions of Cambodian Youth


Xayaburi Hydro-Power Dam Project in Northern Lao PDR

We, Cambodia Youth Representatives, admire the Cambodian government’s decision in the Committee Meeting on 19th April, 2011, which suggests further studies and discussion on the Xayaburi Hydropower Dam Project.

The Mekong River Commission (MRC) meeting of Thailand, Lao, Cambodia and Vietnam will be held on 7th to 9th December, 2011 in Siem Reap Town, Siem Reap Province of Cambodia in order to make a decision on the Xayaburi Hydro-Power Dam Project in Northern Lao PDR. We appeal to the Cambodian government to continue raising problems that can result from the dam and suggest extending the decision on the Xayaburi Hydropower Dam and other dam projects along the Mekong River by at least 10 years.

To show the aspiration of Cambodian youths, and in strong support of the government decision, we provide our opinions, recommendations and suggestions as follows:

We understand that building the Xayaburi dam, 8 other projects in Lao PDR, and 2 projects in Cambodia will provide the benefit of about 33 billion USD. However, the costs resulting from the negative impacts of those dam projects will be 274 billion USD1. If the Xayaburi dam and other projects are built, they will affect about 55 % of Mekong River between Chiang Saen province in Lao and Kratie Province in Cambodia, and the series of reservoirs will change the environment from river to pond2. This will destroy the connectivity of the Mekong River, cut off the flow of ecology and reduce the river’s productivity. This would cause a very significant change in the natural conditions of the Mekong River from an ecosystem that provides plenty of fish and nutrition for agriculture into a lake that is not productive.

These sectors will decrease the livelihood of the people who depend on the Mekong River. As concluded in the October 2010 Strategic Environmental Assessment of the Mekong River Commission, about 29.6 million people who are living and working within 15 km of the Down Mekong River will be adversely impacted. About 2.1 million people who are living around the Mekong River will face serious impacts on their houses, jobs, culture, and sense of community, and will face serious risks to their food, health and general well-being.

 The disappearance of fisheries cannot be replaced by the fish in the reservoir and the decrease of fertile land, and as a result the impact on fish resources in floating forest areas and in Tonle Sap Lake of Cambodia as well as the rice products in the Mekong data of Vietnam will change noticeably. Moreover, if the Xayaburi dam and 10 other dams are built along the Mekong River, fish production will decrease by 550,000-800,000 tonnes or 26-42 % from 2000 levels and the amount of sedimentation of Mekong that stretch out until Kratie province will decrease until 25 % of the recent data3.

Mekong River means our “Mother River or Mother” that was born thousands of years ago, and is very much connected with Cambodian people’s livelihoods, and neighboring countries also gain their heritage from the Mekong Instead of building dams that close the whole water stream of the Mekong River to run turbines and building dams along other waterway to create electricity, we suggest the governments consider aiming for sustainable power development and together reach the joint objective that was raised in the report of MRC “Development of Economic Social Justice and Strength of Mekong Environment,4” in decreasing the poverty of Cambodian people as well as the people of other countries along the Mekong River.

As the Cambodian youth representatives that attended the Youth Forum on the Xayaburi dam project, we appeal to the leaders of the Mekong River to urge extension by at least 10 years on all decision-making on dam projects proposed along the Mekong River and to study more about the environment, social, and economic impacts of dams. The research must be studied by an independent institute that does not receive the benefits from the project.

To ensure a joint decision on the Xayaburi dam project, the Youth Representatives from Rathanakiri, Steoung Treng, Kratie, Kampong Cham, Kandal, Kampot, Prey Veng, Battombang, Pursat, Banteay Meanchhey, Kampong Thom, Kampong Chnang, Seim Reap, and Phnom Penh have agreed in the Youth Forum to raise these suggestions and concerns on Xayaburi dam project to H.E. Lim Kean Hour, Minister of Water Resources and Meteorology and Member of the MRC Council for Cambodia and H.E. Dr.Mok Mareth, Minister of Environment.

We appeal to H.E. to bring and raise these concerns as well as the suggestions that represent the aspirations of Cambodia Youth to the Mekong River Commission (MRC) meeting of Thailand, Lao, Cambodia, and Veitnam that will be held from 7 to 9 December 2011 in Siem Reap Town, Siem Reap Province, in order to make a decision on the Xayaburi dam project in Northern Lao based on transparency and efficiency, and to be able to decrease the negative impacts that will occur if the Xayaburi Dam is built for the people who depend on the Mekong River.

Phnom Penh 27th November, 2011

Signatures of Cambodia Youth Representatives

Mr. Pen Somony,     Mr. Tim Malay

Att.: List of Participants in Youth Forum

For more information: Tel.: 012 70 80 93/ 017 990 689

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Kamer                   – Youth Statement with Kamer

By Cambodian Volunteers for Society Posted in Activities