Statement on Lao Government Decision to Delay Xayaburi Dam

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Media Advisory

International Rivers welcomes the recent decision by the Lao government to reconsider the proposed Xayaburi Dam on the Mekong River in northern Laos. The announcement was the result of a meeting between the Prime Ministers of Laos and Vietnam during last weekend’s 18th ASEAN Summit. Laos stated that it has temporarily suspended the project in order for an expert review to be completed.

In light of this recent decision, International Rivers requests confirmation that construction on the Xayaburi Dam has stopped and that all building equipment has been cleared from the dam site.

International Rivers believes that there is a clear scientific consensus against building the Xayaburi Dam. Scientific reports commissioned by the Mekong River Commission have revealed the irreversible and significant harm the Xayaburi Dam poses to the river’s ecosystem and fisheries, placing the livelihoods and food security of millions of people at grave risk. Further reviews of the project by international experts have confirmed these risks and reiterated the fact that the dam’s impacts on fisheries cannot be effectively mitigated and that the dam is likely to undermine regional development efforts.

International Rivers believes that a healthy Mekong River is critical to ensuring sustainable economic growth, protecting food security and promoting regional peace and prosperity. Given the magnitude of risk associated with Mekong mainstream dams, we recommend that regional governments work together to meet the region’s energy needs through more sustainable energy options. We hope that this reconsideration is the first step towards a regional commitment to keep the Mekong mainstream free of dams.

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