Mekong Eye

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  • Public Consultations Underway to Improve Environmental Impact Assessment for Infrastructure Development


    More than 50 representatives from private sector companies, communities, civil society organizations, government agencies, environmental impact assessment (EIA) consulting firms gathered today at a public consultation in Hanoi to provide feedback on draft Regional Guidelines on Public Participation in Environmental Impact Assessment processes as a way to ensure these processes involve affected communities. The participants’ input will help improve an effort that is seen by many as critical for the region to address the environmental and social impacts of the growing array of regional development projects such as dams, mines, power plants, and industrial zones.

  • Lower Sesan II Dam on Schedule


    The Lower Sesan II dam is expected to generate electricity as planned by 2017, filling a power void in the country as national grid construction is under way, according to the deputy provincial governor of Stung Treng.

  • Coal-fired power plants threaten Vietnam deltas


    Vietnam’s plan to take its total number of coal-fired power plants to 31 by 2020 has raised environmental concerns.

    To minimize costs and the loss of electrical power during transmission, thermal power plants in Vietnam are usually built near large economic centers of the country’s Red River Delta and Mekong Delta regions, where electricity usage is at its highest.

    Environmental hazards caused by these types of power plants came to the fore in April 2015, when coal ashes from Vinh Tan 2 Thermal Power Station in Binh Thuan Province spread to nearby residential areas due to low levels of air humidity.

  • Protests dog Thilawa SEZ as second phase nears start


    Over 70 companies across 14 countries have invested more than US$700 million in the Thilawa special economic zone, but local residents affected by the project are still campaigning to have the next phase halted until issues around resettlement, compensation and environmental impact are resolved.

  • Celebrating the 100th Edition of MPE Mekong News Digest: Equipping the Region’s Experts with Information


    This week the USAID-supported Mekong Partnership for the Environment (MPE) is celebrating its 100th edition of the MPE Mekong News Digest.

    The Digest – a curation of news, commentary and resources on regional development projects – now has over 4000 subscribers, from NGOs, development agencies, governments, business and media. MPE launched The Digest to help meet the growing need for news that crosses borders, as development moves forward across the region.



    It’s a sad fact that several decades of talk about climate change have hardly anywhere yet led to serious efforts to adapt to phenomena that are virtually unavoidable. Neuroscientists say that’s because we’re humans. We aren’t wired to respond to large, complex, slow-moving threats. Our instinctive response is apathy, not action.

  • Ticking water time bombs in hydropower plants?


    A tunnel break in the Song Bung 2 hydroelectric power plant in the central province of Quang Nam released nearly 30 million cubic metres of water that rushed to thousands of villagers living downstream, killing two, and caused at least VND5 billion of losses. The latest incident raised alarms about whether the hydropower plants in Viet Nam meet safety requirements, especially when the Song Bung 2 had already passed the highest examination bars.

    The Song Bung 2 hydropower incident washed away two people, one of who is still missing, and local residents cannot shake off the horrifying thought that they, too, might have been among the dead.

  • KNLA: Current Military Movement in Karen State Threatens Terms of NCA


    Military activity and tension at the site of the Hat Gyi dam in Karen State threatens a breakdown of Burma’s nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA) as concerns grow over potential clashes between the Burma Army and the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA).

    The KNLA is the largest ethnic Karen armed group and the military wing of the Karen National Union (KNU), which signed the NCA with the previous government in 2015.

  • Renewable energy gains offer us a cleaner future


    China has made a number of significant steps towards building a future of more sustainable energy.

    President Xi Jinping has made good on his commitment to increase the supply of renewable energy at the climate change conference in Paris last year, a time when the toxic smog choking streets in Beijing and Shanghai was making global headlines. I wrote about this at the time in my column “China’s energy paradox”.

  • Vietnam province scraps coal plant over environmental concerns


    The Mekong Delta’s Bac Lieu Province scrapped plans for a coal-fired thermal power plant to pursue clean-energy options, last week.

    The provincial government has requested permission to withdraw from the project to build wind turbines. Bac Lieu is currently home to one of Vietnam’s three wind power plants, the other two are located in Binh Thuan Province just north of the tourist town Mui Ne.


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