While initiatives by the Asian Development Bank, ASEAN, United States, Japan, France and the private sector aim to advance renewable energy within the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), coal-fired power plants are slated to become an increasingly larger share of the region’s electricity generating portfolio.
The controversial Lower Sesan 2 Dam (LS2 Dam) is being built in the worse possible location: at the junction of two of the most important tributaries of the Lower Mekong River in northern Cambodia, i.e. the Sesan River & Srepok River.
This dam has received strong opposition and criticism from scientists, fisheries experts, NGOs and Human Rights groups. The dam will be located at a vital junction for the reproductive migration of dozens of Mekong River fish species. Thousands of families in six Villages in northern Cambodia will be displaced.
Phorn Bopha PHNOM PENH— Civil society groups are calling for Laos’ Don Sahong hydropower dam project to be discussed when Southeast Asian leaders meet with U.S. President Barack Obama next week.Leaders of the 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations member states will converge on the Sunnylands estate in California on Feb 15-16. The unprecedented U.S.-hosted summit […]
China is more closely involved in cross-border cooperation on hydropower and water management after the six countries that share the Mekong River signed a landmark agreement late last year.
While more needs to be done between these countries to resolve disputes and encourage transparency over dam building and shared water management, the agreement signals a greater willingness to discuss areas of discord that have soured relations in the region in the past.
During their meeting in in China’s southern province of Yunnan in November 2015, the foreign ministers of China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam launched the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Mechanism (LMCM), an initiative pitched at the November 2014 Summit Meeting between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Naypyidaw, Myanmar.
Academics and NGOs in the Mekong region welcome a new book that sheds light on the significance of the evolution of legal frameworks in overpowering historical social dynamics of river communities to sustain their livelihoods and culture.
Exploring conflicts surrounding hydropower development in the Lower Mekong region the authors of The Mekong: a Socio-Legal Approach to River Basin illustrate the growing barriers laws and policies that were never a part of these communities’ cultures, and which they had no role in shaping, lie at the heart of controversy surround dam projects from the moment that are proposed.
With the threat of climate change, a long-lasting drought, and contentious dam construction in Laos, the Mekong River Commission (MRC) has its work cut out for the rest of the year. Composed of delegates from Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam, the MRC is in charge of managing the river that provides livelihoods and power for much of Southeast Asia. Several delegates said yesterday that the organization will face challenges in the years ahead.
“Water remains as important as ever,” said General Surasak Karnjanarat, the head of the MRC’s delegation from Thailand. “It needs to be recognized as key to various development goals…but the situation has become more complex due to a number of challenges we are facing.”
A new year is often a time for joyful celebration. But Pianporn Deetes bid farewell to 2015 with a heavy heart.
“The Administrative Court gave me the most cruel Christmas ever. My spirit was dampened throughout the New Year period,” she said.
Pianporn is remembering her experience listening to the ruling on the Xayaburi Dam on Dec 25. The lawsuit — in which 37 villagers from eight provinces in Thailand affected by the project sued the Energy Ministry and Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand for allegedly signing a power purchase agreement illegally — is a landmark case since it was the first time people have gone to court for environmental and community rights protection from a transborder project championed by the Asean Economic Community (AEC). The dam is now being constructed, with investment from Thailand, on the Mekong River in Laos. When finished, over 90% of electricity from the dam will be sold to Thailand.
On November 10, BRIDGE financed a training workshop entitled Reporting on Mekong Dams – Science, Policies and Voices from the Ground in An Giang Province in the Mekong Delta. It was organized by Pan Nature, a Vietnamese NGO, to brief journalists on the concerns and perspectives of local stakeholders on planned dams on the Mekong River.
THE Administrative Court Friday dismissed complaints over the Xayaburi Dam against five state agencies. However, the 37 plaintiffs, from eight Mekong provinces, say they will appeal further.
The judge, who read the verdict, said the defendants had fully complied with their obligation according to the law, so the case was dismissed.
The 25 members represent governments and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) from across the region. They have tasked themselves with drafting public participation guidelines to ensure communities and citizens have input into development projects such as dams, mines, transportation links or economic zones. Through drafting a regional standard on participation in EIA, the group hopes countries across the region will improve public involvement in the decision-making process.
Getting 10 civil society organisations, five governments and an array of ministries to agree on one set of guidelines will be hard. But the members are up for the challenge. They have a lot to teach each other. And are eager to learn from experiences in other countries and sectors.
We talked to a few members of the RTWG during their first official meeting in Bangkok in September to see how they felt about this challenging but exciting opportunity. Their video interviews are below.
My country, Thailand, hosted this kick-off meeting, and two of Thailand’s five members are Mr. Suphakij Nuntavorakarn, Healthy Public Policy Foundation and Ms. Chanakod Chasidpon, Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) of the Thai government.