Ministers from Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam and Laos postponed a decision on the $3.8 billion Xayaburi dam after meeting in the Cambodian city of Siem Reap, saying more research was needed into the likely effects of such projects.
"There is a need for further study on the sustainable development and management of the Mekong River including impact from mainstream hydropower development projects," they said in a statement.
The decision was welcomed by activists who warn that the vast 1,260 megawatt dam in Laos, the first of 11 planned for the mainstream lower Mekong, could spell disaster for the roughly 60 million people who depend on the waterway.
The four member states of the intergovernmental Mekong River Commission (MRC) have an agreement to cooperate on the sustainable development of the waterway.
Their announcement, which is not legally binding, added that the ministers agreed in principle to approach Japan and other development partners to support such studies.
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