China’s Involvement in Hydropower Development and its Implications for the Mekong Region: Case Studies of Two Projects in Laos
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The rapid expansion of China’s involvement in hydropower development in the Mekong region has led to growing global concern over its dam building practices. While dam construction certainly has many beneficial aspects for the Mekong countries, it also poses major threats to the ecological system and to the livelihoods of the local communities. This masters project presents a literature review of negative impacts of large hydropower dams in the region and examines the ways in which current project development practices, and in particular the approaches taken by Chinese state-owned companies and financiers, contribute to the continuation of these negative effects. With a focus on Laos, two case studies are presented and examined using the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol (HSAP). Based on these case studies, the major impediments to reducing the negative environmental and socio-economic impacts of Chinese investments in hydropower projects in the Mekong region and in Laos specifically are identified, along with possible ways in which the World Wildlife Fund and other non-governmental organization can act to weaken these impediments.
DepartmentNicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences
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