Readers in Bangkok may be interested in this talk at the Siam Society next week on the dam construction near Luang Prabang and how it will affect its heritage status. Registration is required due to social distancing requirements.
Luang Prabang on the Mekong: Heritage Be Dammed
Date: 6 August 2020
Venue: Siam Society
The ancient Lao capital of Luang Prabang is widely regarded as one of UNESCO’s finest world heritage sites. But the Lao government’s decision to launch a large dam at a sensitive location only 25 km from the heritage city has spread sadness among many Lao and foreign residents. UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre in Paris is also gravely concerned that the Lao government appears to be in flagrant violation of the international agreement it signed with UNESCO in 1995 to protect its own heritage site. The Luang Prabang dam‘s location also happens to be sited just 8.6 km from an active fault in a known earthquake-prone region of Northern Laos. It seems unbelievable that any government would risk its greatest cultural asset that since its recognition by UNESCO in 1995 had also become their number-one tourist attraction. But Laos is in the throes of a dam-fever with its plan to unleash a cascade of 11 dams along their stretch of the Mekong. What will happen to Luang Prabang? The battle to save world heritage, like the struggle to save biodiversity, is not easy. Many vested financial interests back hydropower. Would the Lao government want to risk the humiliation of being placed on the list of countries with endangered heritage sites? Hopefully Laos will come to realise they have too much to lose, given the international prestige of this world heritage site and its role as the major tourist attraction in the country.
Registration: Khun Arunsri at 02 661 6470-3 or firstname.lastname@example.org