Prior to the approval, seven national stakeholder consultations took place in each country except Laos. The Working Group agreed that the stakeholder consultation process was a national matter for each individual country to address. Thus, the stakeholder meetings were organised in line within each of the respective countries circumstances and requirements.
The result favoured MRC’s Strategic Environmental Assessment of Mainstream Dams recommendation to postpone the construction of a mainstream dam for 10 years to allow further study. There is no follow-up action regarding suggestions proposed and concerns raised at stakeholder consultations. Government of Laos hired Finnish Company Pöyry to conduct a review of the Xayaburi Dam project. The review included sections relating to fisheries, sediment management, water quality, navigation and the safety of dams while the social aspects such as results from stakeholder consultations were not included. Pöyry’s report gave a green light.
Additional peer review report was conducted by a French Company CNR. After receiving confirmation from both reports that the project was compliant with MRC Guidelines, the Laos launched the official construction ceremony on 7 November 2012. In spite of two professional reports, no transboundary impact assessment was conducted. This case study discusses the importance of involving the public and local communities in decisions.