Drowning out traditions

The smiles that once brightened faces in Luangtong, a small community in Laos’ northwest Oudomxay province, have disappeared. These days the residents appear defeated, stunned by the knowledge that before long the land that has sustained them for generations will be submerged under the waters behind Pak Beng Dam.

Mekong diplomacy: a bridge that has failed

The Mekong River Commission (MRC) bears an enormous weight on its shoulders, overseeing both the development and the protection of a channel on whom millions of people depend. But the commission has proved powerless in the latter mission, failing to protect or involve communities in hydropower projects that threaten their livelihoods.

Pak Beng – The Third Domino in The Series of Mainstream Dams on The Lower Mekong in Laos

On a visit to the Asian Institute of Technology AIT on 10-15-2012 to inspect the mockup of the Xayaburi Hydropower Dam, Mr. Viraphonh Viravong, Deputy Minister of Energy and Mines of Laos, the “brain” behind all development projects for hydropower dams in Laos asserted: “There is no question of Lao PDR not developing its hydropower potential. The only question is how to do it sustainably.”