Regional officials consult on Pakbaeng hydro project
Representatives from Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam recently gathered in Vientiane for the first Joint Committee Working Group (JCWG) meeting on procedures for notification, prior consultation and agreement (PNPCA) for Oudomxay province's proposed Pakbaeng hydropower project.
Participants attend the Joint Committee Working Group meeting.
According to the Mekong River Commission Secretariat (MRCS), the Pakbaeng hydropower project is proposed on the Mekong mainstream. The run-of-river project with a capacity of 912MW and average annual generation of 4,775 GWh is expected to produce power for domestic supply and export.
This first meeting of the PNPCA JCWG was to inform and discuss several key issues that required proper attention, common understanding and agreement to ensure successful implementation of a six-month prior consultation process for the proposed Pakbaeng hydropower project.
In his opening remarks at the meeting, Acting Secretary General of the Lao National Mekong Committee and Joint Committee Member for Laos, Dr Inthavy Akkharath, said “The Prior Consultation will allow us as the MRC Member Countries and other relevant stakeholders to discuss and provide views on the Pakbaeng hydropower project.”
“We will assess whether the Pakbaeng project reflects a reasonable and equitable use of the Mekong River system and how it could be done to avoid, minimise and mitigate the negative impacts, especially those of a transboundary nature,” he said.
At the end of the meeting, the participants agreed that the starting date for the 6-month Prior Consultation be counted from December 2016. A Regional Stakeholder Meeting next month and a field visit to Pakbaeng in April will be organised to exchange and share information, investigate the site, and discuss and document legitimate concerns.
“We are pleased with the discussion and agreement on a range of issues which set a clear milestone and timeframe of the 6-month Prior Consultation process of the Pakbaeng Hydropower Project,” CEO of MRCS Pham Tuan Phan said.
“We hope that with the MRCS' support, at the end of the six months process, the joint committee can come up with a clear decision and recommendations for the project,” he added.
By Tims Reporters
(Latest Update January 16, 2017)