Press Conference: Mekong River: Whose River is it? Is China Really Saving Us From Drought?

Wednesday, 23 March 2016, 12:30-14:30

4th Floor Sujitra Room, Thai Volunteer Service Building (MRT Huay Kwang)

 
Agenda
 
12:30-13:00
Registration
 
13:00-13:20
Mekong River, Chinese Dams, and Unseasonal Water Flow by Montree Chantawong, Towards Ecological Recovery and Regional Alliance (TERRA) 
 
13:20-14:00 Shifting Mekong Current: Who Bears the Impacts from Mekong Dams? Voices from the people of Mekong:
- Chirasak Inthayot, Rak Chiang Khong Group
- Ormbun Thipsuna, Network of Community Organization Council of Seven Northeastern Provinces in Mekong Basin, Thailand
 
14:00-14:30
Q/A
 
Statement
 
Listen to Downstream Communities. 
Stop All Mekong Dams. 
Implement Transboundary Impacts Studies.
 
The Network of Thai People in Eight Mekong Provinces
23 March 2016
 
Mekong River is the mother of lives and the giver of local economies in 8 provinces of Thailand, from the Golden Triangle in Chiang Saen, Chiang Rai Province to Chiang Khan, Loei Province and Khong Chiam, Ubonratchatani Province. But the construction of hydropower dams in Yunnan, China—since the first dam and now a total of 6 completed dams out of the 15 planned projects—Mekong River has lost its nature to cascade hydropower dams and navigation of large cargo ships for the past 20 years and counting.
 
Today, the leaders of all Mekong countries gather together in China for the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation meeting—an initiative led by China. We, The Network of Thai People in Eight Mekong Provinces who have been monitoring development projects in the Mekong River with Thai communities, call the Thai and the Mekong governments to:
  1. Admit and immediately mitigate impacts caused by China’s totalitarian water management on the upper Mekong River/Lancang that have happened already for many years, especially transboundary impacts posed by hydropower projects and water release for Chinese large cargo ships navigation. These development projects fail to recognize local communities’ rights and unprecedented environmental impacts downstream.

  2. Immediately find resolutions for existing transboundary impacts and mitigation measures for damages and losses caused by unseasonal abrupt water level fluctuations—including flooding due to dam discharge and dry water level and rapids blasting during the development of Mekong Navigation Project.

  3. Stop and suspend all dam projects in the lower Mekong basin. These projects have ignored to respect participations of the Mekong people who dependent on the river to sustain their livelihoods and economies. Public participation must be implemented and enforced to prevent grave environmental and social impacts on downstream communities. 

  4. Create an accountable and participatory water management mechanism that foster inclusive public participation especially from riparian communities who are directly affected by the projects. 

Mekong River is the Mother River of Southeast Asia. We have coexisted and relied on her since the ancestral time. We do not want anyone to take our Mother River away and use it simply for political interests.
 
The Network of Thai People in Eight Mekong Provinces
 
Materials
Video: Voices of the Mekong People "Damages from Unseasonsal Flow"

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