During the 44th meeting of the World Heritage Committee in 2021, the WHC resolved and noted with “utmost concern” on the renewed development of several dam projects within and adjacent to Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex, reiterating its request to Thailand to permanently cancel plans for any construction of dams with reservoirs inside the property’s boundaries.

Furthermore, the WHC also requested Thailand to undertake a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) for the river basin, including the property, to inform management and future development proposals at the basin level, and that any proposals for dam projects around the property that may impact its OUV be suspended until the SEA has been completed and reviewed by the World Heritage Centre and IUCN.

On August 19 of the same year, the National World Heritage Committee chaired by Deputy PM Gen Prawit Wongsuwan at that time resolved to follow the WHC’s resolutions, but still, conservation organizations have recently learned that the Royal Irrigation Department has still been proceeding with some projects in the area including Khlong Maduea in Nakhon Nayok province, prompting strong opposition by them.

Such mega-projects in the World Heritage sites pose a critical challenge to the country’s management of those highly regarded sites and need serious discussions and dialogues among all concerned parties as well as the public to find the best management for the areas and for water resources in the future.

The Dialogue Forum would cordially like to invite you to take this opportunity to explore this challenge together at Dialogue Forum 3 l Year 4 Dam or No Dam? in the Country’s Natural World Heritage Sites (in Thai) on September 27, 2023, 10 am-12.30 pm at SEA-Junction, BACC’s building (4th Floor).

Photo credit: Decode/Tabaiya Jang