via The Diplomat, 23 December 2020: Alarm is raised (again) over Laos’ plan to construct a dam on the Mekong, close to Luang Prabang. Earlier this year, a Thai geologist had warned that the proposed dam sat perilously close to an active quake fault line.
The Lao government’s high-risk plan to install a massive dam on the Mekong River, perilously close to the renowned UNESCO World Heritage site of Luang Prabang, shows a disregard for its legal obligations to protect the renowned site, according to conservation experts.
Minja Yang, the former deputy director of UNESCO’s World Heritage Center, told The Diplomat, “I fail to understand how the government can even think for a second of promoting such a dam project, that would turn the World Heritage site into a lake or water reservoir. The impact would be devastating.”
In 2019, the Thai dam developer CH. Karnchang completed a huge hydropower plant – the Xayaburi dam – downstream from the ancient royal capital of Luang Prabang.
If this new dam project upstream goes ahead, it would eliminate the free-flow of the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers, which flank the iconic heritage city.