Local communities along the Mekong River are asking the government to establish a fund, made up of collected tax revenues from development projects on the waterway, to compensate villagers affected by them.
“This fund [should] not be a corporate social responsibility scheme,” said Ormbun Thipsuna, president of Network of Council of Mekong River Community in Seven Northeastern Provinces. “It [should be] similar to a sin tax on cigarettes and alcoholic beverages to fund health projects.
“This fund must be handled by the government, not by project developers,” Mr Ormbun said.
His network represents villagers living in Loei, Nong Khai, Bung Kan, Nakhon Phanom, Mukdahan, Amnat Charoen and Ubon Ratchathani. Communities along the river in these provinces have suffered due to a series of dams built upstream which stretch in Laos and China.