The World Bank should compensate communities affected by the Pak Mun Dam in Thailand, argues a new report by International Rivers Network. The Bank claims that Pak Mun is one of the best examples of successful resettlement in a Bank-assisted project. Yet for nine months, more than 3,000 villagers have been occupying the Pak Mun dam site and demanding land for 4,500 families who have lost fisheries income.
The 136 MW Pak Mun Dam, which was completed in 1994, was built by the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand with US$23 million from the World Bank. Even though this is only a tenth of total project costs, the Bank played a key role in the development, promotion and project construction.
Aviva Imhof, IRN‘s South-East Asia Campaigner commented: “it is time for the World Bank to own up to its mistakes, and ensure that people are compensated. If the Bank can’t do this, then it should work with the government to decommission the dam, as the villagers are demanding.”
Environmental impact assessments for the project were conducted almost 10 years prior to project approval, and contained no baseline data on fisheries, incomes of potentially affected people, or the number of people who would be resettled. Public participation was virtually non-existent. As predicted by villagers, more than 20,000 people have been affected by drastic reductions in fish populations, health impacts, and other changes to their livelihoods.
For more information also contact: Chainarong Srettachau, Director, South-East Asia Rivers Network: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For a recent exchange of letters making similar points about the World Bank’s role in the Narmada Dam, India, see: www.narmada.org
For material on the World Commission on Dams, see: www.dams.org