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No more Dams on the Mekong river!


ACTION • Call back the Mekong fishes’ spirit!


SEVADA held a four day festival to fight dam construction on the Mekong river.

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The Mekong River flows from China and is the lifeline for villages and towns in Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. About 60 million people depend on the river for food and income. With China building a dam and Thai multinationals redirecting the water flow to grow sugar for the global market, the livelihoods of millions and people, animals and plants are under pressure.


Geopolitics and big business

Large dams have been disrupting local ecosystems ever since the first one was constructed on the Nile in 1902. These dams control or even end the flood and dry seasons of big rivers, manipulating water flow in such a way that arable land increases and valuable cash crops can be grown on the river banks. It is no surprise then, that nations that control dams control the lifeline of all living beings upstream.

China has been building 11 dams in the Mekong since 2012. These barrages, in turn, have major consequences on South Asian economies and ecosystems.

Since the construction of the dams, the water level of the Mekong has plummeted. In 2019, the water level upstream was lower than in the past 50 years. Add to this the effects of the climate crisis and you get a serious situation of persistent drought, flash floods and increasing poverty in the Mekong Delta. According to the Mekong River Commission, there are already 40 percent fewer fish in the river than a decade ago.

Thai sugar companies are taking the opportunity to buy up tracts of land in Thailand and Cambodia and grow large quantities of sugar on it. Backed up by foreign investors, these companies redirect large quantities of water in their irrigation system, thus turning the river banks in a monocultural wasteland for the global market.


Many villages and communities can no longer stand the drying up of the Mekong. Representatives from Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand united in SEVANA to fight Dam construction and sugar multinationals. Het Actiefonds has supported numerous of their actions over the years.

This time, SEVANA organized a four day festival in honor of the 14th of march, the International Day of Actions against Dams. About 40-60 people from the Hug Nam Khong Community Network (Love Mekong Community Network), alliances, and friends. held panel discussions on the current situation of the Mekong, including the energy trade and hydropower dams. The lively conversations also touched on transnational investments, land grabs, and state oppression. There were ceremonies too to call for the spirits of the Mekong, such as a boat action where people travelled to an island in the river to ask the spirits for protection and blessings for the Mekong River and for all life that depends on her.

Het Actiefonds is proud to support SEVADA. We need to fight Dams in order to defend our millions of human and non-human lives, and to preserve the ways of live of myriad smaller communities along the river.