An official form the Lao Ministry of Mines stated that the government had not received a formal notice from the Thai Energy Ministry indicating that officials were not going to sign PPAs from the four Lao dams. “If Thailand doesn’t buy electricity from those four dams, we’ll sell it to China, Vietnam, and Cambodia,” said the official.
Falling water levels, from drought and damming, have also reduced the stock of Cambodia’s freshwater fish, mostly caught in the Mekong and Bassac rivers. About 6 million people work in fisheries or fisheries-related activities in Cambodia and their catch contributes as much as 12 percent to gross domestic product.
Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong on Wednesday reiterated South Korea’s commitment to stronger cooperation with Mekong countries in health care, climate, infrastructure and people-to-people exchanges, his office said.
The Lower Mekong region remains highly vulnerable to increased flood and drought. To offset the increased risk, the Mekong River Commission (MRC) and its partners are deploying innovative information and communication technologies to assist governments and communities manage extreme weather conditions.
.Because China sits at the river’s headwaters and has shown its power to turn it off at will, the MRC, Mekong-US Partnership and Japan’s initiatives seem destined to become sideshows in another rising contest for regional influence.
The Mekong-ROK Foreign Ministers’ Meeting will review the progress of the cooperation, the mechanism set out in the Plan of Action (2021-2025), private sector engagement, and the future direction of the mechanism.
In major freshwater systems, marine mammals are particularly at risk from drowning following entanglement in discarded fishing gear. The report cites the Ganges river dolphin (Platanista gangetica), of which an estimated 3,500 remain, and the Mekong population of Irrawaddy dolphins (Orcaella brevirostris), which numbers less than 100, as particularly vulnerable.
“Herein, we demonstrate an approach to identify planning levers that can increase the resilience of river deltas under a wide range of future conditions for the 40,000-km2 Mekong Delta in Southeast Asia.”
Meeting online at a Belt and Road Summit, ASEAN ministers said the region has benefited from the infrastructure and digital connectivity already brought about by BRI, but new initiatives are needed to create opportunities amid pandemic-induced uncertainties.