The Lao government has reaffirmed its commitment to ensuring that the ongoing construction of the Xayaboury Dam on the Mekong mainstream is undertaken in a transparent manner and that stakeholders are kept informed.

To this end, the government convened a dissemination workshop for representatives of international organisations, NGO’s and other stakeholders on the status of the Xayaboury and Don Sahong hydropower project developments, which took place at Don Chan Palace hotel in Vientiane yesterday.

Speaking at the meeting, Deputy Prime Minister Mr Somsavat Lengsavad said the Xayaboury hydropower project on the Mekong mainstream is a run-of-river scheme that is a world-class undertaking and a key to Laos’ overall hydropower development programme.

The purpose of this project is to utilise the great hydropower resources that Laos has been blessed with, in order to produce power for domestic supply and export.

Revenues generated by this project will add to the national budget and contribute to national development, aimed at graduating from the Least Developed Country status. Moreover, it will provide a strong impetus for immediate and long-term industrialisation and modernisation.

Mr Somsavat said the government of Laos notes with pride that since the groundbreaking in 2012, the Xayaboury mainstream hydropower project has been on track as planned, and has made impressive progress.

The project enjoys the enthusiastic support not only of Lao people from all ethnicities but also of observers from friendly countries. Furthermore, respected scientists and experts with vast experience developing run-of-river schemes around the world have supported and congratulated our project.

“Unfortunately, some people who lack exposure to the facts of our mainstream projects m isunderstand them and they continue to express different viewpoints,” Mr Somsavat said.

The main objectives of the workshop were to validate the understanding, transparency and high level of accountability of the Lao government and the Xayaboury hydropower project developer, and to underscore that there will be no harmful cross-border consequences from this project.

To show that a pre-consultation process under the 1995 Mekong Agreement was properly implemented by adhering to the spirit of the agreement; and with support from the state parties, the Lao government aims to enable the mainstream hydropower development to offer optimal benefits for the people of the region without any major concerns.

To serve as a forum where internationally recognised experts who were involved in the detailed feasibility study will deliv er presentations and share all relevant data and information with the public in a transparent manner, addressing in particular concerns over sediment transport and fish migration.

Questions and constructive comments on the sustainable use of the Mekong are welcomed and after the meeting Lao and international experts can continue discussing them and offer clarifications as needed.

Mr Somsavat believed that through sincere and constructive discussion in this dissemination workshop, the public will gain an understanding based on scientific grounds for all mainstream hydropower development projects.

Laos will adhere to the principles defined in the 1995 Mekong Agreement and conform to internationally recognised standards and practices for the sustainable development of water resources.

In the morning, participants heard about the policy and strategy of the Lao power sector and concession agreement and procedure for compliance with the 1995 Mekong agreement.

After that Poyry Energy Ltd gave a presentation on technical aspects and design as well as the construction and operation of Xayaboury hydropower project.

In the afternoon, Compagnie Nationale du Rhone (CNR) delivered a presentation on navigation and sediment investigations while Fishtek Consulting gave a presentation for fish migration at the Xayaboury and Don Sahong hydropower project sites.

Source: Vientiane Times
Published on July 16, 2015