The Mekong

Strategic environmental assessment of mainstream hydropower development in an international river basin

Authored by: Jeremy Carew-Reid

Routledge Handbook of the Environment in Southeast Asia

Print publication date:  September  2016
Online publication date:  September  2016

Print ISBN: 9780415625210
eBook ISBN: 9781315474892
Adobe ISBN: 9781315474885


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This chapter is the story of damming the mainstream Mekong River – or, more precisely, of attempts by the Mekong River Commission (MRC) to bring a more integrated, informed and precautionary approach to mainstream development by initiating a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) of 12 hydropower dams proposed for the mainstream in Laos and Cambodia (ICEM, 2010). It is written by the team leader of the MRC-initiated SEA of hydropower development on the mainstream Mekong River, who is also director of the organization commissioned to conduct the SEA. 1 As such, it presents an inside reflection on the process and on the wider role of SEA in supporting an improved governance approach within an institutionally and scientifically weak planning milieu. Unless otherwise indicated, the insights and data in the chapter are from first-hand experience and from the SEA report. 2

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