Asian Development Bank

Probe: Is Asian Development Bank defending Vietnam’s secrecy?

August 26, 2003

Julian Payne
Executive Director representing Canada
Asian Development Bank
Manila, Philippines

(cc to Zeny Pangan, Executive Assistant, plse forward to new ED)

Dear Julian:

Further to your July 18 email advising me to contact you if there were difficulties obtaining ADB documents related to Se San/Mekong hydropower projects, please be advised of the following:

With reference to the attached August 1st 2003 letter from ADB [PIver PDF] external relations specialist, Bart Edes, to Russell Peterson, NGO Forum on Cambodia, the ADB appears to be refusing to disclose the Se San 3 Hydropower Project Environmental Impact Assessment (TA 3222-VIE) dated February 2001.

The reason the ADB cannot disclose this EIA, according to the letter, is because the Vietnamese government wants the report kept secret.

According to a leaked copy of the summary volume, the report in question is not, as stated by Mr. Edes, a feasibility study. It is entitled a “Summary Environmental Impact Assessment” for the Se San 3 Hydropower Project in Vietnam. Vietnam is now building this dam on the Se San river, without any prior downstream consultations in Cambodia or compensation for damages caused by Vietnam’s first dam on the river, Yali Falls.

Could you please investigate and clarify what the ADB’s position is with regard to disclosure of this particular environmental impact assessment for the Se San 3 project.

The public has a right to know if the ADB has accepted and therefore endorsed the Vietnamese government’s request for secrecy in this case, thus denying Cambodians their right to know how ADB consultants and Vietnamese authorities have proposed (or not) to handle the social and environmental impacts of dam construction along the Se San River. If indeed the ADB is defending Vietnam’s secrecy, we can only conclude that the ADB also condones the reckless conduct of its client, Electricity of Vietnam, and its failure to respect the rights of thousands of downstream Cambodians.

So that we may keep concerned Canadian citizens and the media informed, I would appreciate a response at your earliest convenience.


Grainne Ryder,Policy Director
Probe International
225 Brunswick Avenue
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2M6
Tel. (416) 964-9223 ext. 228
Fax (416) 964-8239

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