Pak Mun Dam Mekong River Basin

The Pak Mun report is one of 8 case studies undertaken world-wide with a common methodology and approach that sought to inform the Commission on the performance and the development effectiveness of large dams. This case study concerns the Pak Mun Hydropower project, a run-of-theriver dam located near the confluence of the Mun and the Mekong River in the Northeast region of Thailand.

The report attempts to compare the planned intended outcomes and the actual results. The case study would provide an analysis of the performance and the manner in which decision-making processes have responded to an evolving social, economic and political context since project completion. The lessons learned from the planning and decision-making process will directly inform the Commission’s findings and recommendations. Six central questions have been identified that are key to the World Commission on Dams (WCD) work programme and methodology. These questions serve to structure the information collection, discussion and assessment of the topics of performance and development effectiveness. The Pak Mun case study sought to address these questions:

  1. What were the projected vs actual benefits, costs and impacts?
  2. What were the unexpected benefits, costs and impacts?
  3. What was the distribution of costs and benefits, who gained and who lost?
  4. How were decisions made?
  5. Did the project comply with the criteria and guidelines of the day?
  6. How would this project be viewed in today’s context?

The case study has primarily used existing data sources and reports to inform its assessment. Some additional research in selected areas has been undertaken. Assessing development effectiveness entails taking account of the views and perspectives of different stakeholders and project-affected groups. As an integral part of the methodology, in parallel to the study process, two consultation meetings were included. These meetings were intended to ensure that the views of different interest groups could be considered by the study team, and provided opportunities for comments and input.

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