Two of Dong Nai hydropower dams cancelled due to environmental concerns, Vietnam

Thanks to effective lobbying by civil society groups, independent experts and governmental actors, the dams were cancelled and environmental justice could be served to a unique ecological, social and cultural region.


<div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Description</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld"></td><td class="columns"><div class="less">The Dong Nai dams no. 6 and 6a, located on the Dong Nai River, were planned as part of a series of dams proposed to cover Vietnam’s growing demand for energy. However, the Dong Nai River has always been a crucial source of water and life for the surrounding villages and ecosystems, such as the Cat Tien National Park, which received UNESCO’s recognition as a Biopshere Reserve Zone in 2011. Being a unique place of historical richness and cultural tradition, providing home to more than 1,700 species of rare plants and 700 bird and mammals species, many of them endangered, the The Cat Tien National Park is one of the six biggest biosphere reserves in the world [1;2]. </div><a class="seemore" href="#">See more...</a><div class="more" style="display:none">During the recent years, the park was under threat to lose its status as National Park, due to the planned construction of the two hydropower stations. Expected impacts beyond those generally associated to large-scale hydropower (i.e., changing hydrological dynamics, loss of riparian ecosystems, blocking of fish migration routes, loss of aquatic species and habitat, displacement of locals, decreasing water quality, etc.) included the destruction of 327 ha of forest land, 128 of which were located in the Cat Tien National Park. Moreover, the large changes in the associated wetland ecosystems would also negatively affect the Bau Sau (Crocodile Lake) located inside the park, which had received international recognition through the Ramsar convention [1;2;3].<br/><br/>The fundamental concerns regarding the environmental impacts led several national groups, i.e., the Vietnam River Network, to pressure the government to stop the projects [1;4]. National experts warned that the dams would violate the law on Biological diversity and that it lacked approval from the National Assembly [3]. Also international pressure increased, when in 2012, the national committee for UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere (MAB) programme urged the government to stop the projects [2]. In a meeting in May, 2013, the World Heritage Committee refused to recognize the site as Natural World Heritage, due to the environmental threats posed by the dam construction, as well as due to other issues, such as presence of quarries and illegal hunting [1].<br/><br/>The growing pressure and complains over the large impacts motivated the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment to conduct an assessment study, which confirmed the negative consequences. In response to the Ministry’s report, the increasing national and international concerns, and the strong support and demands from Dong Nai authorities to halt the projects [7], the Prime Minister finally asked the Ministry of Industry and Trade to remove the dams from the list of planned hydropower stations in late 2013 [1;2;5;].<br/><br/>Thanks to the effective lobbying processes at the local, national and international level from civil society groups, independent experts and governmental actors, environmental justice could thus be served to a unique ecological, social and cultural region. <br/><br/><a class="seeless" href="#">(See less)</a></div></td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Basic Data</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Name</td><td>Two of Dong Nai hydropower dams cancelled due to environmental concerns, Vietnam</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Country</td><td><a href="/country/vietnam">Vietnam</a></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Province</td><td>Dong Nai Province</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Site</td><td>Cat Tien National Park </td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Accuracy of Location</td><td>MEDIUM regional level</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Source of Conflict</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Type of Conflict (1st level)</td><td>Water Management</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Type of Conflict (2nd level)</td><td>Land acquisition conflicts<br /> Deforestation<br /> Dams and water distribution conflicts<br /> Wetlands and coastal zone management</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Specific Commodities</td><td><a href='/commodity/land'>Land</a><br /><a href='/commodity/electricity'>Electricity</a><br /><a href='/commodity/water'>Water</a></td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Project Details and Actors</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Project Details</td><td class="columns"><div class="less">The dam would have large negative impacts on Cat Tien National Park, which was recognized by UNESCO as a world biosphere reserve on June 28, 2011 [2]. The park covers almost 1,000,000 ha and spans across the provinces of Dong Nai, Lam Dong, Binh Duong, Binh Phuoc and Tay Ninh [7]. Around 450,000 people live in the biosphere Reserve [7].</div><a class="seemore" href="#">See more...</a><div class="more" style="display:none">The Dong Nai dam 6 was initially approved by the Prime Minister under Document No. 1483/CP-CN dated 19 November 2002 and required flooding of 1,954 hectares. The project was later on modified and split into two smaller dams, which reduced the reservoir size to 372.23ha [9].<br/><br/>Dong Nai dam 6 had a planned capacity of 135 MW. Dong Nai 6a had a planned capacity of 106MW [6]. Other sources state that the whole project would have produced 929 million kWh and 14,400 USD of tax revenues per year [2].<br/><br/>The investor who was going to implement the dam was the Duc Long Gia Lai Group Joint Stock Company [3]. It was reported that the company failed to conduct an assessment in compliance with the Laws of Biodiversity and Heritage [5]. The company was said to have invested in the project (feasibility studies, etc.) since 2002 [8]. No information on the total required investment size could be found.<br/><br/>Many ethnic minorities live in the area [8]. Most affected by the dam would be the Chau Ma and M’Nong ethnic minority people [10].<br/><br/><a class="seeless" href="#">(See less)</a></div></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Project Area (in hectares)</td><td>1,954ha, later reduced to 372.23ha reservoir size</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Level of Investment (in USD)</td><td>unknown</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Type of Population</td><td>Rural</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Potential Affected Population</td><td>N/A</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Start Date</td><td>19/11/2002</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">End Date</td><td>09/2013</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Company Names or State Enterprises</td><td><a href='/company/duc-long-gia-lai-group-joint-stock-company'>Duc Long Gia Lai Group Joint Stock Company</a> from <a href='/country-of-company/vietnam'><small>Vietnam</small></a> - <small>infrastructure development, hydroelectricity</small></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Relevant government actors</td><td>Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung; Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment; Provinical government of Don Nai province</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">International and Financial Institutions</td><td><a href='/institution/unesco'>UNESCO - United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization <small>(UNESCO)</small></a><br /><a href='/institution/iucn'>IUCN</a></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Environmental justice organisations and other supporters</td><td>Vietnam River Network (VRN); International Rivers; IUCN; UNESCO</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">The Conflict and the Mobilization</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)</td><td>MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">When did the mobilization begin</td><td>PREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Groups Mobilizing</td><td>Farmers<br /> Fishermen<br /> Indigenous groups or traditional communities<br /> International ejos<br /> Local ejos<br /> Local government/political parties<br /> Neighbours/citizens/communities<br /> Ethnically/racially discriminated groups<br /> Local scientists/professionals<br /> Chau Ma and M’Nong ethnic minority</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Forms of Mobilization</td><td>Creation of alternative reports/knowledge<br /> Involvement of national and international NGOs<br /> Objections to the EIA<br /> Official complaint letters and petitions<br /> Public campaigns</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Impacts</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Environmental Impacts</td><td><strong>Potential: </strong>Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Health Impacts</td><td><strong>Visible: </strong>Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide<br /><strong>Potential: </strong>Other Health impacts</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Other</td><td>Potential increases of water-borne diseases</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Socio-economic Impacts</td><td><strong>Potential: </strong>Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Other socio-economic impacts</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Other</td><td>Potential loss of a man and biosphere reserve park, and related revenue losses from tourism, etc.</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Outcome</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Project Status</td><td>Stopped</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Pathways for conflict outcome / response</td><td>Institutional changes<br /> New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study<br /> Project cancelled</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Do you consider this as a success?</td><td>Yes</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Why? Explain briefly.</td><td>The project was stopped before construction started, due to its environmental concerns.</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Sources and Materials</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Legislations</td><td><table><tr><td><p> Document No. 1483/CP-CN dated 19 November 2002, approving the Dong Nai 6 dam<br/></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Vietnam Biodiversity Law, No. 20/2008/QH12, 2009<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.ecosystemmarketplace.com/pages/dynamic/resources.library.page.php?page_id=7458&section=library&eod=1" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Links</td><td><table><tr><td><p> [1] International Rivers, online (10/8/2013): "Environmental Concerns Prompt Vietnam to Cancel Two Dams" (accessed 14/07/2015)<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.internationalrivers.org/km/node/8111" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> [2] Tuoi tre News online (29/11/2012): "Dong Nai hydro projects should be stopped: UNESCO" (accessed 14/07/2015)<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://tuoitrenews.vn/society/4627/dong-nai-hydro-projects-should-be-stopped-unesco" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> [3] Toui Tre News online (30/09/2013): "Premier agrees to cancel 2 controversial hydro projects" (accessed 14/07/2015)<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://tuoitrenews.vn/society/13650/premier-agrees-to-cancel-2-controversial-hydro-projects" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> [6] Hydroworld.com online (04/10/2013): "Government shuts down Vietnam's Dong Nai 6, 6A hydropower projects" (accessed 14/07/2015)<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.hydroworld.com/articles/2013/10/government-shuts-down-vietnam-s-dong-nai-6-6a-hydropower-projects.html" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> [7] Viet Nam News online (20/05/2013): "Dong Nai against planned dams" (accessed 14/07/2015)<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://vietnamnews.vn/environment/239544/dong-nai-against-planned-dams.html" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> [8] ThanhNien News online (01/11/2013): "Cat Tien gets rid of Dam-ocles's sword" (accessed 14/07/2015)<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.thanhniennews.com/society/cat-tien-gets-rid-of-damocless-sword-776.html " target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> [9] Vietnam Business Forum online (27/11/2012): "Dong Nai 6 and Dong Nai 6A Hydropower Plants: Solution Needed For Benefit Harmonisation" (accessed 14/07/2015)<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://vccinews.com/news_detail.asp?news_id=27528" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> [10] Vietnam.net online (16/10/2011): "Dong Nai 6 and 6A hydro-power projects: Where is the truth?" (accessed 14/07/2015)<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://english.vietnamnet.vn/fms/special-reports/13307/dong-nai-6-and-6a-hydro-power-projects--where-is-the-truth-.html" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> [4] Vietnam.net online (18/04/2013): "VRN petitions to reject Dong Nai 6 and Dong Nai 6A hydropower plant projects" (accessed 14/07/2015)<br/><a class="refanch small" href=" http://english.vietnamnet.vn/fms/environment/71736/vrn-petitions-to-reject-dong-nai-6-and-dong-nai-6a-hydropower-plant-projects.html" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> [5] Savethemekong.org online (03/10/2013): "Vietnam decides to scrap 2 hydropower dams on environment concerns" (accessed 14/07/2015)<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.savethemekong.org/news_detail.php?nid=665" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Other Documents</td><td><table><tr><td><p><strong>Experts assessing the dam impacts</strong> Source: http://tuoitrenews.vn/society/13650/premier-agrees-to-cancel-2-controversial-hydro-projects<br/><a class="refanch small" href="https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/b__scientists_study_SAKXASUc.jpg" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p><strong>Family living by the river</strong> Source: http://tuoitrenews.vn/society/13650/premier-agrees-to-cancel-2-controversial-hydro-projects<br/><a class="refanch small" href="https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/b__family_living_onthe_dong_nair_ccOI3441.jpg" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p><strong>Cat Tien National Park</strong> Source: http://www.internationalrivers.org/blogs/259/environmental-concerns-prompt-vietnam-to-cancel-two-dams<br/><a class="refanch small" href="https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/cattiennatpark.jpg" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Meta Information</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Contributor</td><td>A. Scheidel (ICTA-UAB)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Last update</td><td>16/07/2015</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div>
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