Lower Season II Dam will displace ethnic minorities in Stung Treng, Cambodia

Ethnic minorities in Stung Treng Province, Cambodia call on the spirits to stop the construction of the Lower Season II Dam.

<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">While described by proponents as a merely “tributary” dam, the construction of the Lower Sesan 2 (LS2) dam in Stung Treng province is causing immense fears of livelihood and ecosystem destruction [1]. Located at the Sesan and Srepok River, just 25km before they join the Mekong River, the L2S, with a planned capacity of 400MW and a reservoir size of around 34,000ha, is in fact among the largest dam projects in Cambodia [1].</div><a class="seemore" href="#">See more...</a><div class="more" style="display:none">First feasibility studies were conducted in 1999 but the proposal was rejected as being financially unattractive, carrying large social and environmental costs [1]. However, new Vietnamese and Chinese investors expressed their interest and a Memorandum of Understanding was signed on June 15, 2006 to go ahead with Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) and planning of the 977$ million dollar investment [1]. Although the EIA did not meet international standards, the LS2 was approved for construction in 2012 [2]. Forest clearing started in 2013 and construction work in 2014, accompanied by a growing number of access ways and illegal logging outside the concession area [2]. The dam is planned to be operative in 2017 [1]. <br/><br/>Impacts on people and the environment will be devastating, but no proper consultation of affected people was held prior to the construction [1;3]. Upstream the dam, around 5000 people from 7 villages, comprised by Prov, Phnong and Lao ethnic minorities [4], will need to be relocated to make place for the reservoir [2] and an estimated 78,000 people will lose access to important migratory fish stocks [3]. Resettlement land for the dispossessed was reported to overlap with protected areas and concessions land of other companies [3]. Downstream, at least 22,000 people will be negatively affected by bad water quality and changing hydrology [3] and fish stock is expected to drop by almost 10% basinwide, while around 50 species will be endangered [5]. Socio-ecological impacts in fact are expected to affect upstream Laos and downstream Vietnam, turning it into a transboundary issue [2]. In summary, the dam will cause immense destruction of livelihoods, deforestation, habitat loss and large-scale ecological change [1]. <br/><br/>Since years, the affected communities voice their preoccupations. They started protests marches, submitted formal concerns, and called on the spirits to stop the project [6]. Compensations, generally inappropriate, were refused [7]. Due to the transboundary nature of the project, international donors (Australia, Japan, Finland and USA) urged Cambodia to submit the project for prior consultation to the Mekong River Commission, which however has not been done [2]. Some NGOs submitted formal complaints regarding concerns of human rights abuse [8]; while others request a new EIA [9]. However, it seems that the interests of investors and urban elites are above those of affected communities.<br/><br/>Currently, it looks like that the project will go on, in spite of its devastating impacts. <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>Lower Season II Dam will displace ethnic minorities in Stung Treng, Cambodia</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Country</td><td><a href="/country/cambodia">Cambodia</a></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Province</td><td>Stung Treng Province</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Site</td><td>Sesan district</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Accuracy of Location</td><td>HIGH local 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>Dams and water distribution conflicts<br /> Land acquisition conflicts<br /> Deforestation</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Specific Commodities</td><td><a href='/commodity/electricity'>Electricity</a><br /><a href='/commodity/land'>Land</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 will have a reservoir size of 33,560ha, a length of 6km, and a height of 75m [3]</div><a class="seemore" href="#">See more...</a><div class="more" style="display:none">Expected capacity amounts to 400 MW during rainy season. According to the EIA, in dry season when energy is most demanded, the capacity will drop to 100MW [3]<br/><br/>Investment size is reported to amount up to 977$ million dollar investment [1].30% of the capital is held by the companies, and 70% of undisclosed bank loan, but likely from China [3]<br/><br/>The dam is operated by Hydropower Lower Sesan 2 CO. Ltd, a joint venture between Cambodia’s Royal Group, Chinas Hydrolancang International Energy Co, which is subsidiary of Chinese state owned Huaneng Group [1], and EVN International Joint Stock Company, subsidiary of Electricity of Vietnam [2]<br/><br/>The LS2 dam is a BOT project (build-operate-transfer), in which ownership is transferred to the Cambodian Government after 45 years of operation [3]<br/><br/>EIA consultancy was conducted by Key Consultants Cambodia (KCC), and Power Engineering Consulting Joint-Stock Company (Vietnam). Forest clearance was concessioned to Ang & Associates Lawyer Ltd. (Cambodia), owned by Cambodia’s tycoon Kith Meng and his Royal Group Kith Meng [2]<br/><br/>Produced electricity will be sold to Electricite du Cambodge (EDC) or exported to Vietnam [3]<br/><br/><a class="seeless" href="#">(See less)</a></div></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Project Area (in hectares)</td><td>33,560</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Level of Investment (in USD)</td><td>977,000,000</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Type of Population</td><td>Rural</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Potential Affected Population</td><td>5000 people evicted; 78,000 (upstream) and 22,000 (downstream) affected by changing hydrology and declining fish stock</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Start Date</td><td>15/06/2007</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Company Names or State Enterprises</td><td><a href='/company/hydropower-lower-sesan-2-co-ltd'>Hydropower Lower Sesan 2 Co. Ltd</a> from <a href='/country-of-company/cambodia'><small>Cambodia</small></a> - <small>hyrdoelectric dams</small><br /><a href='/company/royal-group-cambodia'>Royal Group Cambodia <small>(RGC)</small></a> from <a href='/country-of-company/cambodia'><small>Cambodia</small></a> - <small>telecommunication, media, banking, insurance, resorts, education, property, trading, agriculture, dams</small><br /><a href='/company/china-hydrolancang-international-energy-co'>China Hydrolancang International Energy Co</a> from <a href='/country-of-company/china'><small>China</small></a> - <small>hydroelectric dams</small><br /><a href='/company/china-huaneng-group'>China Huaneng Group <small>(CHNG)</small></a> from <a href='/country-of-company/china'><small>China</small></a> - <small>electricity</small><br /><a href='/company/evn-international-joint-stock-company'>EVN International Joint Stock Company <small>(EVN)</small></a> from <a href='/country-of-company/vietnam'><small>Vietnam</small></a> - <small>construction, hydropower, project management</small><br /><a href='/company/electricity-of-vietnam'>Electricity of Vietnam</a> from <a href='/country-of-company/vietnam'><small>Vietnam</small></a><br /><a href='/company/electricite-du-cambodge'>Electricite du Cambodge <small>(EdC)</small></a> from <a href='/country-of-company/cambodia'><small>Cambodia</small></a> - <small>electricity</small><br /><a href='/company/key-consultants-cambodia-kcc'>Key Consultants Cambodia (KCC) <small>(KCC)</small></a> from <a href='/country-of-company/cambodia'><small>Cambodia</small></a> - <small>consultancy</small><br /><a href='/company/power-engineering-consulting-joint-stock-company'>Power Engineering Consulting Joint-Stock Company <small>(PECC)</small></a> from <a href='/country-of-company/vietnam'><small>Vietnam</small></a> - <small>consultancy</small><br /><a href='/company/ang-associates-lawyer-ltd'>Ang & Associates Lawyer Ltd.</a> from <a href='/country-of-company/cambodia'><small>Cambodia</small></a> - <small>hydroelectric dams</small></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Relevant government actors</td><td>Tung Ciny, deputy director general of the Ministry of Industry, Mining and Energy</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Environmental justice organisations and other supporters</td><td>Sesan, Srepok, Sekong Protection Network (3SPN), Cambodia; Mekong Watch; NGO Forum on Cambodia; International rivers; Rivers Coalition Cambodia<br/><br/>NGOs that demanded a new EIA: 3S Rivers Protection Network (3SPN)(Cambodia); Center for Social Research and Development (CSRD)(Vietnam); Community Economic Development (CED) (Cambodia); Community Resources Centre(Thailand); EarthRights International (United States and Thailand); Finnish Asiatic Society; Fisheries Action Coalition Team(FACT)(Cambodia); International Rivers(United States and Thailand); Law and Policy of Sustainable Development Research Center (LPSD) (Vietnam); Mekong Monitor Tasmania (Australia); Mekong Watch; (Japan and Thailand)<br/><br/>NGOs that submitted a a formal concern regarding human rights abuses: EarthRights International; International Rivers; Samreth Law Group, Cambodia; Sesan, Srepok, Sekong Protection Network (3SPN), Cambodia</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 /> Ethnically/racially discriminated groups</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Forms of Mobilization</td><td>Development of a network/collective action<br /> Involvement of national and international NGOs<br /> Objections to the EIA<br /> Official complaint letters and petitions<br /> Public campaigns<br /> Street protest/marches<br /> Refusal of compensation</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>Visible: </strong>Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover<br /><strong>Potential: </strong>Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, 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>Malnutrition, Infectious diseases</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Socio-economic Impacts</td><td><strong>Visible: </strong>Violations of human rights<br /><strong>Potential: </strong>Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place</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>Under construction</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Pathways for conflict outcome / response</td><td>Strengthening of participation</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Development of Alternatives</td><td>According to International Rivers, one of the campaigning NGOs, the recommendations are as follows [3]: "1) The developers and RGC should recognize LS2’s severe impacts on the Mekong River’s natural resources, in particular fish, and livelihoods and food security of local communities not only inside Cambodia, but also over the entire Mekong River Basin, and reconsider the project. 2) The MRC and RGC should recognize LS2’s adverse impacts on the entire Mekong River Basin and consider the project not as a tributary dam but as equivalent to a mainstream dam, and submit it to MRC’s prior consultation process. 3) LS2’s negative impacts on the Mekong River’s ecology as well as life, livelihoods, and culture of local communities, indigenous/minority groups in particular, who rely on the river’s natural resources, should be more thoroughly assessed and weighed against the project’s economic returns. These assessments should cover not only Cambodia but the entire Mekong River Basin. 4) Sufficient information on LS2 and its resettlement and compensation plans should be disclosed to local communities who will be directly and indirectly affected by the project. They should be fully consulted and their views should be incorporated into final decisions."<br/><br/>(note: RGC = Royal Government of Cambodia; MRC = Mekong River Commission) </td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Do you consider this as a success?</td><td>No</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Why? Explain briefly.</td><td>The project goes on and it does not look like that it is going to be stopped.</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">References</td><td><table><tr><td><p> [1] International Rivers 2014. Starving the Mekong: Expected social and environmental impacts from construction and operation of the Lower Sesan II Dam<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.internationalrivers.org/files/attached-files/starving_the_mekong_2.pdf" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> [3] Mekong Watch & 3S River Protection Network Factsheet "Lower Sesan 2 Hydropower Project" (accessed 05/03/2015)<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.internationalrivers.org/files/attached-files/lower_sesan_2_factsheet_english.pdf" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> [5] Ziv G., Baran B., Nam S., Rodrigues-Ltrube I., Levin S., 2012. Trading-off fish biodiversity, food security and hydropower in the Mekong River Basin. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 109 (15)<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.pnas.org/content/109/15/5609.abstract" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Middleton, C. (2012). Transborder Environmental Justice in Regional Energy Trade in Mainland South-East<br />Asia. ASEAS - Austrian Journal of South-East Asian Studies, 5(2), 292-315.<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.seas.at/aseas/5_2/ASEAS_5_2_A7.pdf" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Links</td><td><table><tr><td><p> [2] International Rivers on the Lower Sesan 2 Dam (accessed 05/03/2015)<br/><a class="refanch small" href="www.internationalrivers.org/campaigns/lower-sesan-2-dam" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> [4] Phnom Penh Post article (02/07/2014): "Delay Sesan dam: villagers" (accessed 05/03/2015)<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.phnompenhpost.com/national/delay-sesan-dam-villagers" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> [6] Phnom Penh Post article (02/03/2015): "Community prays to river to halt dam work" (accessed 05/03/0215)<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.phnompenhpost.com/community-prays-river-halt-dam-work" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> [7] Phnom Penh Post article (29/09/2014): "Villagers refuse relocation" (accessed 05/03/2015)<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.phnompenhpost.com/national/villagers-refuse-relocation" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> [8] NGO Statement regarding human rights concerns (accessed 05/03/2015)<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.internationalrivers.org/files/attached-files/submissiontospecialrapporteuronhydropower_151301.pdf" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> [9] NGO statement calling for a new Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) (accessed 03/05/2014)<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.internationalrivers.org/files/attached-files/141014ls2final_statement_on_new_eia_eng.pdf" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Media Links</td><td><table><tr><td><p> Downstream villagers comment on the dam project<br/><a class="refanch small" href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXMdaXkQlNY" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Upstream villagers comment on the dam project<br/><a class="refanch small" href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbdYw3C8XcQ" 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>Villager protests agains the dam</strong> Source: http://sahrika.com/category/stung-treng/<br/><a class="refanch small" href="https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/March_to_shrine_sahrika_cd-001.jpg" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p><strong>Villagers pray to stop the dam</strong> Source: http://www.rfa.org/english/news/cambodia/dam-03022015173133.html<br/><a class="refanch small" href="https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/RFA_curse_image.jpg" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p><strong>Map of the proposed dam</strong> Source: see [1], International Rivers<br/><a class="refanch small" href="https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/IR_map_b.png" 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) / arnim.scheidel "at" gmail.com</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Last update</td><td>06/03/2015</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div>