Dam right


By the end of 2008, 11 Memorandums of Understanding were signed for the construction of hydropower dams on the lower sections of the Mekong River.  With such signing, a clock is ticking as each of these dams goes through the procedures of approval. If any one of these dams is constructed, the Mekong River will be changed forever. The benefits of hydropower, electricity and poverty alleviation, are not without costs.  Hydropower dams fundamentally alter the river ecosystem, often with negative impacts to livelihoods and biodiversity.
In his presentation, Stuart argues that the “natural capital” provided by the river needs to be considered alongside the economic returns of hydropower and a paradigm shift must be made in hydropower development in a way that provides a win-win for end consumers and the local custodians of the river.