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Biodiversity

The undammed Mekong River has an extraordinary aquatic biodiversity, second only to the Amazon. Building mainstream dams would push the endangered species such as the Irrawaddy Dolphin, the Mekong Giant Catfish, and countless other migratory fish species to the brink of extinction. Losing this ecological wealth would be a tragedy of global proportions.

Reports, Briefings and Websites

Media

World’s Largest Catfish Species Threatened by Dam, Stefan Lovgren, National Geographic News, 8 April, 2008

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Mekong Mainstream Dams in China

China’s dam construction on the Upper Mekong mainstream (Lancang) has already caused serious environmental problems on downstream Burma, northern Thailand and northern Lao PDR. Declining fish stocks and unpredictable water levels made life more difficult for downstream communities, pointing towards the damage that mainstream dams will inflict.

Reports, Briefings and Websites

Media
Visit Living Rivers Siam website

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Better Energy Solutions

The bulk of electricity generated by the Mekong mainstream dams is destined for distant energy-hungry cities in Thailand and Vietnam. Yet the region’s urban electricity needs could be better met by improving energy efficiency and deploying recent innovations in decentralized energy technologies. By adopting policies that encourage investment in new energy technologies, Mekong governments could leapfrog 1950s-era big hydro and start growing sustainable, modern economies. Securing electricity supply in this peaceful way would also avoid cross-border disputes arising from these dams’ cross-border impacts.

Reports, Briefings and Websites

Media
Visit Mekong Utility Watch’s webpage.

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Actions to Date

The prospect of damming the Mekong has evoked widespread concern amongst potentially affected riverside communities, civil society groups, academics, journalists, businesses, and the general public within the Mekong region and internationally. As the Mekong River sustains both rural and urban populations and is intimately linked to local cultures and traditions, damming it will undermine the region’s prospects for sustainable development.

Reports, Briefings and Websites

Media

For compilations of media articles about Mekong mainstream dams, visit TERRA or Living Rivers Siam

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Mekong River Commission and Mekong region donors

The Mekong River Commission (MRC) is an intergovernmental agency with a history of promoting hydro development along the mainstream that dates back to the 1950s. Today the agency is supported by the lower Mekong governments and survives on international donor aid from the World Bank, Australia, Denmark, Finland, France, Japan and Sweden, amongst others. Despite its mandate to promote sustainable development of the Mekong River, the MRC has failed to adequately respond to the threat posed by Mekong mainstream dams.

Reports, Briefings and Websites

Media