Project Description

SEA of Hydropower on the Mekong Mainstream

Donor / Partner: Mekong River Commission  (MRC)    |    Duration: 2009-2010     |    Location: Mekong countries

About: ICEM was commissioned by the Mekong River Commission to undertake a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of 11 planned hydropower dams along the mainstream Mekong River, in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Vietnam. The SEA ran for 12 months and assessed the wider economic, social and environmental implications of the proposed developments. The final SEA report is also available to download below in English and Vietnamese. The Vietnamese translation was completed in collaboration with Pan Nature.

The Project aimed to identify potential risks, opportunities and contributions of hydropower to regional development. This was achieved through assessing alternative mainstream Mekong hydropower development strategies, in particular considering regional cost distribution and benefits to economic development, social equity and environmental protection. The Strategic Environmental Assessment considered all planned and committed hydropower and development activities in the LMB. It also assessed climate change impacts on river hydrology, agriculture and hydropower.

The SEA was also developed to be used as a pilot to show the process and benefits of SEA in identifying likely impacts on environmental, social and economic variables in LMB for all MRC member countries.

Key outputs of the project included recommendations on the mitigation and monitoring of impacts and technical, policy & institutional guidance for SEA and hydropower development.

The project also built capacity for SEA, principally within the NMCs, national agencies responsible for power development and those concerned with facilitating application of SEA and EIA. Government staff received on-the job training and participated in components of the SEA.

The SEA had four main objectives:

  • To provide an understanding of implications of mainstream hydropower development and policy-level recommendations on pursuing hydropower projects on the Mekong mainstream
  • To provide initial baseline and assessment framework for individual mainstream project EIAs, thereby supporting the implementation of MRC’s procedural framework, in particular the Procedures for Notification, Prior Consultation and Agreement
  • To  provide a framework for sub-basin hydropower SEAs, as part of MRC’s Basin Development Plan
  • To include elements of capacity building to strengthen analytical SEA capabilities in Project line agencies
The SEA utilized an extensive program of data collection, interviews and a comprehensive program of national and regional government consultations involving representatives from a wide spectrum of the national governments, civil-society and donor consultations in the SEA process.

MRC SEA of Hydropower on the Mekong Mainstream: REPORTS SERIES

Download the SEA of Hydropower on the Mekong Mainstream: Summary of the Final Report

Download Full Report: SEA of hydropower on the Mekong mainstream in English

Download Full Report: SEA of hydropower on the Mekong mainstream in Vietnamese [4,659KB]

Preview: SEA of Hydropower on the Mekong Mainstream: Summary of the Final Report

VUSTA Mainstream hydropower seminar

ICEM presented the finding and recommendations of our review of the findings and recommendations of our review of the Xayaburi HPP Compliance  Report (prepared by Poyry AG in August 2011) at a recent seminar on mainstream hydropower organised by VUSTA- Vietnam Union  of Science and Technology Associations: Xayaburi Hydropower Project – Gains  and losses to the Lower Mekong Basin. The workshop, held on November 23, 2011  in Ho Chi Minh City, is part of VUSTA’s program to open dialogue between  Vietnamese and regional scientists and reach mutual understanding on the  impacts of Mekong mainstream hydropower development. Conclusions of the  workshop will be presented to government officials and representatives as an  input into the decision-making process.

 Download: Full presentation [376KB]

View ICEM’s poster about the SEA of Hydropower on the Mekong Mainstream