Water Experts Question World Bank's Role in Laos Dam
A panel of water experts have warned that the World Bank's promotion of a major dam in Laos, which they say failed to deliver on basic promises, has fueled the country's development of shoddy hydropower projects with catastrophic consequences. In July, an auxiliary dam at the Xe Pian Xe Namnoy hydropower complex in southern Laos burst, displacing thousands and officially killing at least 40 people, though many believe the real toll to be much higher. The Laos government has conceded shoddy construction played a role in the collapse — a failing, a panelist at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand on Thursday said, stemmed from corruption and mismanagement across the entire hydro-power sector in Laos. Bruce Shoemaker, who began surveys to assess impacts of the Nam Theun 2 (NT2) dam before construction began some 13 years ago, said the World Bank had created a sustainable hydro-power myth through its promotion and financing of the project. "And that fueled this whole kind of industry revival and really fueled the private sector rush in Laos for hydropower," he said. The $1.3-billion dam, which also received funding from the Asian Development Bank and commenced operation in 2010, exports 90 percent of its power to Thailand. Though an international panel of experts employed to monitor NT2 had consistently reported serious flaws in measures designed to funnel those profits back into poverty alleviation and conservation, the bank had continued to promote it as a hydro-power project that was done properly, Shoemaker said. For instance, he said, in a conservation zone financed by the dam and endorsed by the Wildlife Conservation Fund, a massive trade in the illegal logging of luxury rosewood emerged that saw paths cut for patrol teams expanded into roads for extraction. "The leading member of the panel of experts actually by 2014... If you wish to read this full breaking news headline, plus more articles from around Thailand and Asia like, Water Experts Question World Bank's Role in Laos Dam, simply click on 'Read full story' below, but 1st please give us a 'LIKE' or 'SHARE' before you leave. Thank you
Published By: VOA NEWS - Friday, 19 October, 2018
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