The NGO Coordinating Committee on Development (NGO-COD)
Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok, Thailand
August 30, 2004
On the occasion of this World Bank-organised technical workshop, NGO-COD is obliged to convey the following views and demands on behalf of the Thai civil society organizations involved.
The NGO Coordinating Committee on Development (NGO-COD), together with a number of Thai non-governmental organisations (NGOs), has been concerned about the development process with regard to the proposed Nam Theun 2 Hydroelectric Project since 1998. Between 1998 and 2003, NGO-COD issued five letters directed to leaders of respective governments of Thailand, urging a review of the government’s plan to purchase electricity from Nam Theun 2.
In these letters, NGO-COD stated to respective governments that negotiations with the Nam Theun 2 Electricity Consortium was occurring in the absence of a process of good governance in Thailand that would affect Thai electricity users and the Thai economy in general. In addition, NGO-COD expressed concerns regarding the potential social and
environmental affects of the Nam Theun 2 project on the people of Lao PDR. However, the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand on behalf of the government finally signed the power purchase agreement on 8 November 2003. The details of this agreement remain secret to this day.
On the occasion of this World Bank-organised technical workshop, NGO-COD is obliged to convey the following views and demands on behalf of the Thai civil society organizations involved:
1. This technical workshop is premature and its scope is far too narrow. The World Bank appears to have concluded that the Nam Theun 2 Project is feasible and hence, that the project should go ahead. The workshop thus considers merely the project’s impacts and mitigation measures and merely in the context of Lao PDR. The organising process
for the workshop has been hasty and non-transparent: Information has only been available from project proponents; participants have been denied access to independent analysis prior to the workshop; documents cited in support of claims in project documents are not available (e.g., hydrology); other documents have been made available only days before the workshop.
2. NGO-COD views that amongst most crucial aspects regarding the Nam Theun 2 Project is as to whether it will be of economic benefit to the people of Thailand. It is incorrect for project proponents, including the World Bank, to assume that Nam Theun 2 is feasible since the Thai government has decided to sign the power purchase agreement.
Such an assumption appears to be the foundation for the World Bank’s involvement in the project, making the Bank no different in its decision making behavior than the project investors whose only concern is maximising profit.
3. NGO-COD demands that the World Bank organise a “public consultation meeting” in Thailand, taking into consideration that Thai electricity users and civil society groups have direct economic interest in Nam Theun 2. Preparation of this meeting must be transparent, providing equal opportunity for the government, civil society – especially electricity consumers – making available all information such as studies of project economics and the power purchase agreement. The information must be provided to the meeting participants
six weeks in advance and in the Thai language.
This statement is presented by:
Srisuwan Kuankachorn Secretary General
Categories: Export Credit, Mekong Utility Watch, Nam Theun
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