A plea for Xayaburi

Bangkok Post 5 August 2012

On behalf of an alliance of civil society organisations working to protect and restore river ecosystems and river-based livelihoods in Cambodia, we are calling on the Thai and Lao governments to immediately halt all construction work on the proposed Xayaburi hydropower project in Northern Lao PDR.

We believe that if the dam goes forward it will have irreversible negative impacts.

We urge Prime Minster Yingluck Shinawatra to take responsible action by decisively cancelling the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the Thai company Ch Karnchang.

Furthermore we urge Ms Yingluck to order Ch Karnchang to stop all construction activities until further studies are conducted.

We also urge Ms Yingluck to order Ch Karnchang to carry out a transboundary impact assessment for the project, which is an international best practice for a project of this nature on a shared river. Ch Karnchang should also ensure that consultations take place with the public, particularly with people whose livelihoods are dependent on the Mekong River and the Tonle Sap Lake.

Lastly, if Ch Karnchang refuses to do this, we urge the Thai government to block the loans of the four major Thai banks (Bangkok Bank, Kasikorn Bank, Krung Thai Bank, and Siam Commercial Bank) financing this project.

As a shared river, we hope that Ms Yingluck will uphold Thailand's responsibility to protect the Mekong, as our common future depends upon the rich ecosystem services the river provides many of us on a daily basis.

Chhith Sam Ath, Executive Director of the NGO Forum on Cambodia
Chea Phallika, Coordinator Rivers Coalition in Cambodia