IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


6th February, 2024 Geography


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Dam project across Mekong River in Laos raises fears.


  • Luang Phabang, situated in north central Laos, consisting of 58 adjacent villages, of which 33 comprise the UNESCO Town of Luang Prabang World Heritage Site .It was listed in 1995 for unique and "remarkably" well preserved architectural, religious and cultural heritage, a blend of the rural and urban development’s over several centuries, including the French colonial influences during the 19th and 20th centuries.
  • Landlocked Laos doesn’t have the famous beaches of its neighbours to attract tourists, but instead relies on the pristine beauty of its mountains and rivers and historical sites to bring in visitors.
  • Luang Prabang is well known for its numerous Buddhist temples and monasteries.
  • The crown jewel is Luang Prabang, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where legend has it that Buddha once rested during his travels.
  • It brings all the elements together, with its mix of historic Laotian and French colonial architecture on a peninsula at the confluence of the Mekong and the Nam Khan rivers.

Recent Issue

  • A multibillion-dollar dam project underway 25 kilometers upstream has prompted concerns that it could result in the city losing its UNESCO status, and broader questions about what the government’s ambitious plans to build multiple dams across the Mekong will do to the river, the lifeblood of Southeast Asia. Once completed; the project is expected to displace more than 500 families and impact 20 villages.
  • In March 2023, UNESCO issued a report recommending that Laos continue efforts to ensure that the Luang Prabang Dam would not have a negative impact on the town’s heritage sites, and take measures to regulate tourism-related activities and infrastructure development.

The Mekong River

  • The Mekong River is the longest river in Southeast Asia. The river has a length of approximately 4,900 km, flowing from its source on the Tibetan Plateau in China through Myanmar, Lao PDR, Thailand, Cambodia and Viet Nam via a large delta into the sea.
  • The Mekong River boasts the world's largest inland fishery. It accounts for up to 25 percent of the global freshwater catch and provides livelihoods for tens of millions of people. It is second only to the Amazon River in terms of fish biodiversity.
  • At least 1,200 freshwater species swim the waters of this mighty river including the last remaining populations of the Irrawaddy dolphin, giant freshwater stingray which can weigh up to 1,300 pounds, and the Mekong giant catfish.


Luang Prabang World Heritage Site often seen in media situated in which of the following country?

  1. Laos
  2. Vietnam
  3. Myanmar
  4. Philippines

Answer A