ADB again under fire over safeguards in Laos damA Hmong family living along the Nam Ngiep. An energy project threatens to displace indigenous people and destroy the environment in the area.
The Asian Development Bank is again under fire over alleged safeguards violations, this time about a hydropower project in Laos that two NGOs claim will displace indigenous people, affect livelihoods and destroy the area’s immediate environment.
ADB decided last week to give the green light to a $50 million loan for the dam in Nam Ngiep River in central Laos, which is expected to support the sustainable development of hydropower resources in the landlocked country and provide a reliable and affordable access to energy sources in neighboring Thailand.
“Even though the project has been approved, it should be a point of warning. ADB has a number of instances of investing in power projects [that] are not sustainable because of the effects to people,” Tanya Lee, International Rivers program director for Laos, told Devex. “In Laos, the way the development is being distributed, it is not possible for people to benefit equally.”
About 3,000 individuals from neighboring Hmong and Khmu ethnic communities are expected to be affected by the dam’s construction and operations. International Rivers and Mekong Watch assure these people “will have to involuntarily resettle to make way for the project.”
This is not the first time ADB has been under intense scrutiny over a development project’s safeguard issues. [ Cont. reading ]