Mekong Eye

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ASEAN

  • Vietnam, Laos discuss Vientiane-Hanoi expy project

    07/20/2016

    At a meeting in Laos on Wednesday, the two sides agreed the route layout and related issues for the 760-kilometer expressway connecting the capitals of the two countries, according to Vietnam’s Ministry of Transport.

    The agreement was reached based on results of a pre-feasibility study conducted by Vietnam’s Transportation Design Consultancy Corporation (Tedi).

    The expressway is planned to start from Vientiane, passing through Laos’ Pakxan and Nghe An Province’s Thanh Thuy, and end in Hanoi.

  • China Economy Ripples Into Laos

    07/16/2016

    A decade long mining boom, combined with a rapid development of hydropower, has seen Laos’ growth rate reach over 7 percent a year, allowing national output to more than double, generating some half a million jobs.

    A key player in the economic progress has been China. A recent World Bank report on the Lao economy noted China’s influence was continuing to grow.

  • PDF REPORT Analysis on ADB Investments in the Greater Mekong – NGO Forum on ADB

    06/21/2016

    Since 1992 the Asian Development Bank (ADB) initiated the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) Program encompassing the five countries and parts of China. As of 2016, over USD 14 billion has been invested by the ADB. The GMS program is another flagship endeavor by ADB under the strategic pillar entitled “regional economic integration”. Furthermore the GMS Regional Investment Framework (RIF) 2013 – 2022 serves as the master plan for over 200 projects with an estimated investment of about USD 50 billion.1

    Civil society-led impact studies on ADB funded GMS projects suggest that groups mostly dependent on natural resources bear the brunt of direct disempowerment from practices such as mining, logging, involuntary resettlement and road-building among others. Once removed from their rights of access to their customary resources, the ADB presupposes that affected communities will invariably integrate into new market-based economies. Most often than not, however this is far from the local reality.

  • Mekong Investment Underscores Japan’s Economic Clout in Southeast Asia

    05/23/2016

    Earlier this month, Japan announced a three-year, $7 billion investment deal with the countries of the lower Mekong River to boost development and improve infrastructure. In an email interview, Phuong Nguyen, an associate fellow with the Southeast Asia program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, discussed Japan’s relations in Southeast Asia.

  • Japan pledges Bt245 bn for Mekong connectivity

    05/04/2016

    Japan yesterday launched the Japan-Mekong Connectivity Initiative, pledging 750 billion yen (Bt245 billion) for the development of linkages in the region for the next three years while hoping Thailand would be able to restore political stability quickly enough to become a leading partner for the scheme.

    Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, who concluded his two-day visit to Thailand yesterday, announced the initiative during his policy speech at Chulalongkorn University to “set the tone” of Japanese presence in the region.

    Connectivity is a key for regional integration, he said.

  • The Mekong River winding through the flooded forest in Cambodia.

    Asia’s Troubled Water

    04/23/2016

    Asia’s water woes are worsening. Already the world’s driest continent in per capita terms, Asia now faces a severe drought that has parched a vast region extending from southern Vietnam to central India. This has exacerbated political tensions, because it has highlighted the impact of China’s dam-building policy on the environment and on water flows to the dozen countries located downstream.

  • Energy evolution

    04/12/2016

    Growing awareness of the impact of air pollution and global warming have been driving more investments in energy from renewable sources and moving green energy to the top of many government policy agendas.

    In Southeast Asia, finding the right energy mix is a major challenge as countries strive to ensure that economic growth and environmental protection are compatible.

    “The challenge faced by developing countries is balancing the cost of electricity and conservation of the environment,” Dr Maximus Johnity Ongkili, Minister of Energy, Green Technology and Water of Malaysia, said at Sustainable Energy & Technology Asia (SETA) 2016 held in Bangkok late last month.

  • China Focus: Lancang-Mekong cooperation enriches countries along the river

    03/28/2016

    A border railway station which has been in existence for more than 100 years in southwest China’s Yunnan Province got a new lease on life last year after having been left desolate for a decade.

    The cargo train via Shanyao Station on the China-Vietnam border hit the buffers in 2013 and was suspended for a while. The service has since resumed and is now busier than ever.

    A railway linking Kunming in Yunnan province and the border with Vietnam opened in December 2014 and the following year 366,400 tonnes of cargo — iron ore, sulfur, fertilizer and so on — flowed from China into Vietnam via Shanyao, over 100 times more than the year before. Already this year, 89,700 tonnes of goods have gone the same way.

  • Prospects for Regional Cooperation on Environmental Impact Assessment in Mainland Southeast Asia

    03/01/2016

    Pact inquired with ministries and other actors about the prospects for more effective environmental impact assessment (EIA) policy and practice and the role of multi-stakeholder cooperation at the regional level to improve EIAs in the five Lower Mekong countries (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam). A team of country experts analyzed the relationships and interests involved in improving the state of EIA. Pact’s analysis indicates that there is strong support among government and non-governmental stakeholders alike for reform of national EIA procedures, increased public participation, and development of a regional EIA standard. Pact hopes this research encourages continued dialogue across boundaries and stakeholder groups in order to tackle the pressing development challenges facing the Mekong region.

  • Laos starts off as Asean chair with ministers’ retreat

    03/01/2016

    Laos kicks off its Asean chairmanship Friday with an agenda-setting foreign ministers’ retreat in Vientiane, its capital on the east bank of the Mekong River.

    Analysts say this year could be a coming of age for the “lower-middle income economy”, where poverty continues to be widespread, but which is one of the fastest-growing economies in the region.

    Laos last chaired Asean in 2004. Its economy grew by an average of 7 per cent annually in recent years, mostly on the back of its natural resources, a construction boom in Vientiane and rising tourism.

  • ASEAN’s special role in managing energy decision: LS2 dam

    02/25/2016

    Mekong countries’ chronic shortage of electricity which threatens to stymie economic growth, could be eased by pushing for acceleration of plans by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) for a regional power grid. However, damming the Mekong River can causes widespread controversy in South East Asia. Lower Sesan 2 dam on Mekong river in Cambodia is a typical example.

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