By Aisha Down
Phnom Penh, Cambodia, November 30, 2016
As bitter protests continue over ongoing Mekong River dam projects, Sweden has pledged $5.3 million to a controversial multinational body monitoring development in the basin.
The funding—to be disbursed over the next four years—will promote sustainable hydropower in the Mekong River basin, the Mekong River Commission (MRC) said in a press release.
But Sweden’s support comes with expectations, said Mari Albihn of the Swedish Embassy in Bangkok, among them that the MRC will dramatically streamline its operations and that the strife that has surrounded previous hydropower projects, such as the Don Sahong dam on the Cambodia-Laos border, will not be repeated.
“We’re supporting dialogue between the countries involved,” she said of the funds. “From what I can see, there’s a big change taking place.”
The MRC, the body responsible for ensuring cooperation between Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Thailand regarding sustainable use of the Mekong River, has been harshly criticized in recent years as hydropower projects have gone forward despite inconclusive consultations with those affected, including thousands of villagers living and fishing below dam sites.
Read more at Cambodia Daily