January 29, 1997
Thank you for your letter of January 6, 1997, in which you express your concerns about Canada’s involvement in the hydroelectric development projects in the Mekong River Basin.
I also appreciate receiving a copy of the letter that Grainne Ryder, Director at Probe International, has sent you. The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) is not involved in financing these hydropower schemes and does not intend to do so in the future. However, through its Industrial Cooperation Program, CIDA co-funded the preliminary feasibility study of the Kamchay Hydroelectric Project in Cambodia. The study was completed in June 1995; no CIDA involvement is expected in the future. With the World Bank, Italy and France, CIDA has also participated in the preliminary feasibility study as well as the ongoing detailed feasibility study of the Dai Ninh Water Project in Vietnam. In both instances, CIDA’s participation was conditional to environmental and social impact assessments being an integral part of the feasibility studies. CIDA has no intention to finance the actual construction of those projects. CIDA’s commitment to environmental sustainability is well known to the international community and in Canada. The Agency has put in place a systematic environmental assessment procedure whereby every project it undertakes is subject to a rigorous environmental screening to ensure that the project will improve, or at a minimum will not damage, the quality of the environment. In addition, to fulfil its mandate of promoting sustainable development, CIDA has been financing many environmental and natural resource management projects in the Mekong sub-region. For example, CIDA has provided technical assistance to the Mekong River Commission to improve its environmental impact assessment. To obtain additional information on our environmental policies and activities, you may wish to visit CIDA’s World Wide Web site on Internet: http://www.acdi-cida.gc.ca. As a member of many international agencies and financing institutions such as the Asian Development Bank (AsDB), the World Bank and the United Nations Development Programme, Canada promotes the integration of environmental and social sustainability into their activities. Canada has been a strong supporter of the AsDB’s Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Policy, Involuntary Resettlement Policy and guidelines for social analysis. Under the ASDB EIA Policy, summary environmental impact assessments are published, and 120 days are allowed for third party (public, private, non-governmental organizations or academic alike) intervention. Both the EIA and Resettlement policies are available to the public for review. To obtain copies of these policies, you may wish to contact Mr. Julian Payne, Executive Director, Asian Development Bank, at the following address: P.O. Box 789, 1099 Manila, Philippines.
I appreciate having your concerns drawn to my attention and hope that the foregoing information will prove useful.
c.c.: Grainne Ryder, Probe International
Categories: Mekong Utility Watch