Cambodian dam projects ‘lack transparency’

Cambodia is planning to build several large hydropower projects in the Cardamom mountains that will potentially displace thousands of people. But critics say that the dams were planned without public consultation.

The government argues that the dam projects are necessary to beat soaring energy prices, which are some of the highest in the world, according to World Bank.

But feasibility and environmental impact reports were kept secret before being abandoned, Seng Bunra, Cambodia’s country director for green NGO Conservation International, told IRIN. "[The government] had a research team studying the feasibility of the Areng project,"
Bunra said, "but they just… kept it private, and then stopped studying it."

The World Commission on Dams, which sets international hydropower standards, says construction locations should be determined through a public consultation process.

China’s largest hydropower firm, Sinohydro Corporation, will build the US$280 million Kamchay dam.

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