Act Now to Protect the Mekong

The Mekong River provides food for the people
23,081 supporters

End of campaign: May 19, 2014

The Mekong River and the millions of people it supports are now in jeopardy. In the next few months, regional governments will decide whether to proceed with plans to build the Xayaburi Dam in northern Laos, the first of 11 dams planned for the Lower Mekong Mainstream.

Call to action

In April, regional governments delayed a decision on the Xayaburi Dam, largely because of the huge public opposition to the dam expressed by civil society groups, NGOs and individuals throughout the region and the world.

It is critical that we again make our voices heard.

In the past few months Laos has been working hard to push the Xayaburi Dam forward, and illegal construction on access roads and work camps is continuing.

A healthy Mekong River is vital to the lives of millions of people in the Mekong Region; it is the second most biodiverse river system in the world and is host to the world's most productive freshwater fishery. If the Xayaburi Dam is built it would open the floodgates for other mainstream dams, which would irreversibly alter the entire river ecosystem.

More information

We must act now to protect this vital life source for present and future generations.

Please sign the petition below urging the governments of Laos and Thailand to cancel the Xayaburi Dam. Every additional signature makes the movement stronger.

Back­ground

Since our big success in April in getting the four governments of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam to agree to defer the decision over whether or not to proceed with the Xayaburi Dam to a future Ministerial-level meeting, it appears Laos has been working hard behind the scenes to push this project forward. Mekong people need a strong statement that calls for this dam to be cancelled or at least delayed for ten years and Germany could do it.

The Mekong River Commission MRC is an intergovernmental agency promoting since the1950s hydro development along the mainstream. Its four member countries are Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam, which are the lower Mekong governments. Despite its mandate to promote sustainable development of the Mekong River, the MRC has failed to adequately respond to the threat posed by Mekong mainstream dams.

Given the devastating risks posed by the dam and the need for further study, Vietnam has requested that decisions on all mainstream dams to be delayed for a minimum of 10 years. Likewise, the governments of Cambodia and Thailand have also requested a delay for further study and consultations. Despite its neighbors requests and its agreement to cooperate with other Mekong countries to protect the sustainability of the river, Laos has announced that they plan to begin constructing the dam by the end of the year.

Today the MRC is supported by international donor aid from countries like Germany, Australia, Denmark, the United States, Finland, France, Japan and Sweden, amongst others and institutions like the World Bank (http://www.mrcmekong.org/about-the-mrc/development-partners-and-partner-organisations/).

Letter

To: H.E. Yingluck Shinawatra, Prime Minister of Thailand and H.E. Thongsing Thammavong, Prime Minister of Laos

Copy: H.E. Mr. Choummaly Sayasone, President of Laos

We the undersigned are writing to express our grave concern over the proposed Xayaburi Dam in northern Laos, and the fate of the Mekong River Basin.

The Xayaburi Dam threatens the lives and food security of millions of people. The Mekong River is home to the world’s most productive freshwater fishery and is a vital resource for the entire Mekong Region.

Scientists agree that the Xayaburi Dam would have severe environmental, social and economic impacts in the region, impacts which cannot be mitigated.

There are still critical knowledge gaps in understanding the dam’s far-reaching impacts and the Mekong River Commission’s own Strategic Impact Assessment calls for a 10-year deferment of all decisions about whether to proceed with Mekong Mainstream Dams, allowing time for more studies to be done.

We are aware that a decision about whether to proceed with the Xayaburi Dam will be made in the coming months. With so much at stake in the Mekong Region, we urge the Governments of Laos and Thailand to:

Cancel the Xayaburi Dam and defer all decisions on whether to proceed with Mekong Mainstream dams for a period of at least 10 years, until further studies can be conducted.

Additionally we call on the government of Thailand to cancel its plans to purchase electricity from the Xayaburi Dam and any other Mekong Mainstream dams.

Sincerely,