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Govt promotes environmentally-friendly hydro projects

The government is encouraging the building of environmentally-friendly hydropower plants to ensure green growth and sustainable poverty reduction, according to a senior government official.
“The government is highly encouraged to promote environmentally-friendly and sustainable hydropower projects,” Deputy Minister of Natural Resource and Environment, Ms Bounkham Vorachit, said on November 5.
“Therefore, all development projects need to be comprehensively studied to assess and avoid impacts on the environment and local communities,” she added.

Ms Bounkham reiterated the government’s policy on hydropower development at the 8th Regional Stakeholder Forum of the Mekong River Commission (MRC), which is taking place at the Lao Plaza Hotel in Vientiane until today. 
At this forum, which is attended by representatives of the Mekong countries, academia, civil society and the media, Ms Bounkham said the government’s decision to promote hydropower development was based on the country’s potential with respect to water resources.
 “I believe that no nation desires to live in poverty for a long period of time and that each country has varying potential for social and economic development,” she said.
Laos is a small country with abundant resources so its policy is to encourage investment in the development of hydropower, as the growth of this sector will make a significant contribution to poverty reduction, she added.
Ms Bounkham said that another reason for Laos wanting to promote hydropower was that it was a clean industry and a renewable source of energy.  
Laos has always attached importance to the principles of sustainable development and green growth through the implementation of its obligations under the relevant international agreements, she said.
She added that to comply with the 1995 Mekong Agreement, the Lao government submitted a proposal for the Luang Prabang hydropower project to the MRC and its member countries to seek additional consultation and inputs from member countries and stakeholders.
 “We hope that today’s meeting will give stakeholders more understanding, not only about the development of Mekong mainstream hydropower projects, but also enable contribution to discussions and inputs on our next basin development strategy for 2021-2030 as well as the MRC strategy plan,” Ms Bounkham said.
She also stressed the need for cooperation and support from stakeholders to ensure sustainable development of the Mekong.
“I realise that the challenges of sustainable development cannot be addressed without significant support and cooperation from our stakeholders, including Member Countries, Dialogue Partners, Development Partners, civil society organisations, research institutes, private sector, and the media,” Ms Bounkham said. 

ByEkaphone Phouthonesy
(Latest Update November 6, 2019)

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