Mekong commission defends record on hydropower

The head of the Mekong River Commission has defended the organisation's role in the region, IPS reported on Sunday. Civil society groups from six Mekong countries recently claimed the organisation faced a "crisis of legitimacy and relevancy" over its handling of dam projects on the Mekong mainstream.

Jeremy Bird, the chief executive officer of the commission, said dams on the Mekong were an important concern for his organisation, adding that the commission had a "facilitation role" to play in the planning process. Critics claim the handling of plans for dams has been characterised by lack of transparency and a failure to consult with stakeholders.

In order to engage the public better, Bird said, the MRC is updating its communications strategy to include a detailed policy covering the disclosure of documents.

Of the eight dams planned for the lower Mekong, five are in Laos, two in Thailand and one in Cambodia.

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