Power and Responsibility: The Mekong River Commission and Lower Mekong Mainstream Dams

TitlePower and Responsibility: The Mekong River Commission and Lower Mekong Mainstream Dams
Annotated RecordNot Annotated
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsLee, Scurrah
Secondary TitleAMRC, University of Sydney, Oxfam Australia
Place PublishedMelbourne, Sydney
Key themesEcology and Livelihoods, Hydropower, Impact Assessment, Transboundary Governance

The revival of plans to build up to 11 hydropower dams on the Lower Mekong mainstream focuses attention on the Mekong River Commission (MRC), an international river basin organisation assigned with the task of ensuring the sustainable use and management of water and related resources of the Lower Mekong Basin. This report focuses on two aspects of MRC’s structure and activities in relation to mainstream dams: its governance role and its role as a knowledge-based organisation. In regard to governance, MRC asserts that it is an intergovernmental organisation, not a supranational one and, as such, its role is primarily to serve its member states. MRC’s governance structure has implications for a river basin organisation that portrays itself as an independent producer of knowledge and science. Drawing on MRC’s own research and statements, this report seeks to inform and open discussions regarding MRC’s role in relation to the proposed lower mainstream dams. Executive summaries of the report are available in Chinese, Khmer, Lao, Thai and Vietnamese.


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