World Bank to Defer Financing for Mainstream Mekong River Dams

The World Bank has affirmed that it will not finance hydropower development along the mainstream Mekong river in view of findings of an environmental impact study on proposed projects in the region.

The bank said it will instead focus on helping countries in the Mekong region, such as Thailand and Cambodia, identify and manage hydropower projects along the river’s tributaries.

The environmental impact study recommended a 10-year deferral of proposed dam projects in the mainstream Mekong river, the World Bank said in a news release. The team behind the assessment explained that a deferral was necessary to “strengthen understanding of the natural systems” and ensure effective implementation of management and regulatory processes, the release added.

“For its part, the World Bank Group has no plan to invest in hydro projects on the mainstream of the Mekong. We will continue to help strengthen countries’ capacity to identify and manage tributary projects that can be developed in a responsible and sustainable manner,” said Annette Dixon, World Bank country director for Southeast Asia, as quoted by the press release.

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.