The forum in Luang Prabang on February 22 (Photo: VNA)

Vientiane (VNA) – Regional concerned parties met at a forum in Luang Prabang city, northern Laos on February 22 to discuss consultation process for Pak Beng hydropower plant on the Mekong River mainstream.

As part of the Procedures for Notification, Prior Consultation and Agreement (PNPCA) framework, the two-day event will provide data and scientific foundation related to the study of impacts of hydropower projects in general, which will serve as basis for the research and assessment of impacts of Pak Beng hydropower project.

Participants will study lessons drawn from consultation process for Sayabouly and Don Sahong hydropower projects, sustainable hydropower strategies of Laos and Pak Beng project in particular, and make relevant recommendations for the consultation process and the PNPCA for Pak Beng project.

The Mekong River Commission (MRC) is to present the goal and roadmap for the implementation of prior consultation process for Pak Beng and its follow-up activities.

It will also introduce the approach, scopes and methodology of Pak Beng technical review in terms of hydrology, ecological system, biological resources, dam safety, socio-economic and environmental impacts and cross-border issues.

Lao Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Sommath Pholsena told the Vietnam News Agency that the event offers a chance to discuss with MRC member countries and development partners, towards ensuring the best interests of Lao people and those living in countries in Mekong river basin.

Lying in Pak Beng district in the northern Lao province of Oudomsay, Pak Beng hydropower plant has a designed capacity of 912MW and an average annual generation output of 4.775 GWh per year. It is the third plant on the Mekong River mainstream after Sayabouly and Don Sahong.

In November 2016, the Lao government submitted detailed description of Pak Beng to the MRC Secretariat to seek approval for the six-month prior consultation process which started on December 20, 2016.-VNA