UNESCO Requests New Impact Assessment for Luang Prabang Dam

UNESCO has requested a new assessment for a large-scale Lao Mekong River dam located near a World Heritage Site, fearing that the dam’s potential impact could put the site at risk.

According to UNESCO, the town of Luang Prabang is “an outstanding example of the fusion of traditional architecture and Lao urban structures with those built by the European colonial authorities in the 19th and 20th centuries.” Luang Prabang celebrated its 25th anniversary as a World Heritage Site last year.

Nearby construction on the 1,460 megawatt, U.S. $3 billion run-of-river Luang Prabang Dam, a joint venture of Petro Vietnam Power Corporation, Ch. Karnchang and the Lao government, is scheduled to begin this year and finish in 2027.

It is part of a cascade of 11 Mekong mainstream dams that are the centerpiece of Laos’ controversial economic strategy to become the “Battery of Southeast Asia.”

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RFA’s Lao Service. Translated by Max Avary. Written in English by Eugene Whong.