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.