Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Fawthrop's Mekong

The key speakers at the PUC discussion forum and film tonight. Tom Fawthrop is on his feet.
The main topic at the film show and discussion at Pannasastra University tonight was the future of the Mekong River and the uncertainty caused by the proposed dams on the Mekong mainstream. Journalist Tom Fawthrop showed his film Where have all the fish gone? Killing the Mekong dam by dam, which poses the question of how the dams will possibly affect the livelihoods and diet of the millions of people who rely on the river's bountiful supply, not to mention the biodiversity, agriculture, riverflow and fisheries. The publication of a strategic environment assessment by the Mekong River Commission last October offered a critical appraisal of the dam proposals that are on the table. 11 mainstream dams in total for the lower Mekong, with two scheduled for Cambodia. The assessment called for a deferral of the projects for at least ten years in order to properly study and assess the impacts on the millions of people who look to the Mekong River for their food protein and livelihoods. Ministers from the four governments who are signatories of the Mekong River Commission will now meet later this year to decide on the 1st of the dams due for construction, the Xayaburi in Laos. If it goes ahead it opens the floodgates for the other dams. Is there enough public opposition to the plans in the 4 countries to sway government views, or will apathy reign as it often does when the environment is concerned in this part of the world? The students who attended tonight's discussion as well as the representatives from the Environment Ministry were in support of a 10-year moratorium, as was Fawthrop's film, as should everyone else be, whilst the impacts of the dams have not yet been properly assessed. This is simply too important to let it happen without a fight, to allow short-term monetary gain to leap-frog over the environmental, livelihood and numerous other concerns that affect so many people. Find out more for yourself, here.
Film producer Tom Fawthrop means business

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