On the 15 and 16 July 2017, Centre for Social Research and Development (CSRD) with the support from Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung Southeast Asia (RLS SEA) organized the people’s forum for the 4th time with the theme “Hydropower dams in Central, Central Highland – Concerns of people and relevant stake holders” in Buon Ma Thuat city, Dac Lak, Central Vietnam.
On the first day of the forum, people from the 10 communities presented the changes of their living conditions before and after the hydropower dam and their concerns. They proposed alternatives and how to make it change.
Those ideas were presented and discussed in a later session, all the communities had chance to share and to compare with other regions so that they can learn from each other, identify challenges and how to continue their strives and also develop join efforts in order to make the process stronger.
On the second day of the people’s forum, the organizers invited different relevant stake holders to the workshop for a multi-dimensional dialogue that included people’s representative organizations, hydropower’s investors, affected people, media and CSOs.
CSRD’s consultant expressed concerns over the negative impact of hydropower dam that not only worsening climate change, socio-ecological system but also resulting migration flow to the hydropower areas. With modern technology, better knowledge and less respect to the local environment, they often destroy the trees, rivers without take care of local impact.
Sharing from representative from Ben Van, Duong Hoa, Thua Thien Hue: 90% of children quit high school because of far distance, the low quality of new resettlement land that family do not earn enough. At the moment, 80% of people work as ‘temporary wage earner” which are hard work, causing more sickness. Since the project started in 2012, they had been trained and know their rights, in 2013, they had claimed and received 50% compensation forest land and in the beginning of 2017, they had received the rest of 50% by money.
Tien Phong newspaper’s representative in Central Vietnam emphasized the importance of cooperative and constructive perspectives of each and every one stake holders that not every hydropower is against the socio-ecological sectors. Especially, the governments and the investors should put the interest of the people first when consider the construction of hydropower plan. On the other hand, we should improve the monitor system (inspections and auditors) as well as the statistic mechanism. As well, the people should seriously consider to improve themselves, have more constructive and understanding perspective to the problem and develop the self-sustain living means of their own.
The 4th people’ forum was one of few efforts initiated by CSO in Vietnam on the issue of hydropower dams and has raised many attentions and supports from relevant stake holders. The forum offered spaces and chances for all parties listen to each other and find alternatives for the current problems. The discourse on this topic should definitely be continued.