News / 5 August 2011

Illegal construction Xayaburi dam

Despite the fact that Laos recently let its neighboring countries know that the construction of the Xayaburi dam on the Mekong River would officially be put on hold, illegal construction activities appear to be taking place. In April this year, due to massive national and international protests, the Government of Laos felt obliged to suspend construction until the social and environmental impacts of the dam would be clearly examined. Around the spot where the dam was to be constructed however, people are being driven away from their land, a road has been built for the supply of building materials and forest is chopped down.


Xayaburi is one of the twelve dams that the governments of Laos, Thailand and Cambodia decided to build in the Mekong River. The project will flood vast areas of land and cause other areas to dry up. Fish will die and become extinct and around the river irreparable damage would be done to fragile ecosystems. Large groups of people will not be compensated for their displacement or profit at all from the electricity generated by the dams, because this is meant for export to Thailand.


Both ENDS is working with International Rivers and participates in the 'Save the Mekong Alliance. In 2010, we brought the threat of the Mekong River to the attention of policy makers in the Netherlands by organizing a so-called 'expert meeting' and a Political Café on the impact of dams on the Mekong Delta. Although our joint efforts have so far yielded less than hoped for in practice, companies and governments over time have become more aware of the problems in and around the Mekong river. Nationally and internationally, the project is monitored closely, which will make the construction of the other eleven dams more difficult.

Article International Rivers

Photo: International Rivers

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