Laos’ construction of a hydropower dam on the Mekong River has angered its downstream neighbors and raised concerns about the project’s social and environmental impacts.
Laos’ Xayaburi Dam project on the Mekong River could have a negative impact on communities downstream that depend on it for fishing and agriculture.
Construction of the $3.5 billion Xayaburi Dam began last November. It is the first of 11 projects the Laotian government plans to build along the lower portion of the river, which passes through Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand.
Laos has drawn criticism from its Southeast Asian neighbors for beginning construction on the Xayaburi Dam without completing the consultation process through the Mekong River Commission, or MRC, an inter-governmental agency comprised of representatives from the four countries that manages the usage and development of the river.
Vietnam’s Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Hong Ha Tran spoke Wednesday at an MRC Council Meeting in Luang Prabang, Laos, and he questioned the wisdom of beginning the Xayaburi project before a thorough analysis of its impact was completed.