This issue brief – the second in Stimson’s “Letters from the Mekong” series – examines the current status of mitigation efforts at Laos’ Xayaburi and Don Sahong dam projects and the relevance of the existing narrative surrounding hydropower development on the river’s mainstream. Based on extensive research on the status and expected impacts of these projects, the authors of this brief have concluded that the current narrative of inevitability surrounding the future of the Mekong is increasingly at odds with what is in fact a very fluid situation. Instead of being the first two of up to nine or eleven mainstream “dominos” to fall, these commercial-opportunity projects are likely to face significantly increasing political and financial risks and uncertainties.
How dam construction companies deal with the social and environmental impacts of their projects comes down to more than just their own policies, write Johan Nordensvard and Frauke Urban.
Not only does hydropower development along the Mekong impact on food security, it also pushes land-use changes in other parts of the world. This was shown by visiting researcher Jamie Pittock in a recent Water Dialogues seminar.
The fallout from the Great Fall in financial markets, equities and currencies is ricocheting through the regional economy and beginning to exact a toll – initially among badly-run companies and poorly-managed government institutions.
Lush greenery in the lower Mekong region sprawls as far as the eye can see, an illustration of just how fertile the delta is. The endless green fields scored by the river’s nine tributaries, which the Vietnamese call “Nine Dragons”, explain why this area is one of the world’s major food baskets.
It houses the richest inland fishery and accounts for more than a fifth of the world’s rice exports, although looks can be deceptive. Encroaching sea water from the south, a proliferation of hydro dams in the north and large-scale sand mining are endangering the delta, officials warn.
Asean countries need to integrate appropriate safeguards to ensure inclusiveness and sustainability in any benefits to be brought about by the Asean Economic Community (AEC), experts said recently.
At a Bangkok symposium on “Shared solutions: Safeguarding sustainable development in the Mekong region”, Venkatachalam Anbumozhi, senior energy economist at the Economic Research Institute for Asean and East Asia, said AEC will propel infrastructure investment in the Mekong region.
Environmental groups yesterday urged the government to seek greater legal clarity among the Mekong River countries about how they should share its resources.
Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Takehiko Nakao today announced that ADB aims to double its annual climate financing to $6 billion by 2020, up from the current $3 billion.
The Mekong River Commission (MRC), the only intergovernmental body mandated to sustainably manage and protect the Lower Mekong River, is on the brink of demise. While transboundary water governance has faced significant challenges in the region since the MRC was established in 1995, the Commission’s first real test came more recently with the start of the regional debate over plans to build a cascade of eleven mainstream dams on the Lower Mekong River.
Blog: The Lower Sesan 2 Dam will soon flood several Cambodian Communities; can it at least provide fair compensation?