WWF to Boycott Don Sahong Dam Meeting in Laos

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) on Thursday said it would boycott a regional public consultation today over Laos’ controversial Don Sahong hydropower dam, accusing those behind the project of ignoring the potentially devastating impact it could have on Cambodia’s communities, fisheries and endangered Irrawaddy dolphins.

Following months of criticism from environmentalists, the Laotian government in June agreed to postpone construction of the dam—which is slated to be built on the Mekong River just 2 km from the Cambodian border—until a six-month consultation with its neighbors is concluded.

The decision was welcomed by WWF at the time, but on Thursday, the group cited a “failed process” in announcing that it would not join today’s meeting in Pakse, Laos, organized by the Mekong River Commission (MRC), an inter-governmental body made up of representatives from Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.

“Given that there is no clear indication from the MRC of the scope and expected outcome of the consultation process, and that all indications point to the dam being constructed anyway, we see limited benefit to participating in this consultation,” said Seng Teak, WWF’s conservation director for the Greater Mekong region, in a statement.

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