New report on the Mekong River Commission and Lower Mekong mainstream dams

16 October 2009

Power and Responsibility, a joint report of the Australian Mekong Resource Centre, the University of Sydney, and Oxfam Australia, was launched at The Second Regional Stakeholder Forum on the Basin Development Plan held in Chiang Rai, Thailand, on 15 -16 October 2009.

Through an analysis of the Mekong River Commission's (MRC) governance role and mandate, Power and Responsibility identifies limitations in MRC's ability to respond directly to community and scientific concerns regarding current development plans, particularly the proposed dams on the Lower Mekong mainstream. On the other hand, the report identifies ways in which MRC's research on fisheries and modelling can better be used to inform public debate.

The report shows that MRC's own science highlights the size of the Mekong fishery, its importance to the millions of rural poor in the basin, its vulnerability to impacts from the proposed mainstream dams and the impossibility of mitigation under current technology.

The report is a timely contribution to current deliberations underway at MRC and with member governments regarding hydropower development on the Mekong River mainstream - both through the lens of the Basin Development Plan and more broadly within the Strategic Environmental Assessment process.

Download the full report.

Executive summary available in Thai, Khmer, Lao, Vietnamese and Chinese.