With rapid economic development, exponential population growth, urbanisation, industrialisation, and increased agricultural production in the region, the demand for water and river-based resources has dramatically increased, which gives rise to environmental degradation, resource scarcity, and struggles among diverse groups of resource users including local people, development agencies, conservation organisations, and private sectors, and between upstream and downstream nations.
The conventional wisdom or at least the mainstream media narrative would be that the Cambodian government is so corrupt, and has destroyed the whole forest coverage just for personal gains, and the deforestation has been the major cause of flood and drought in Cambodia.
Best International Feature Film: The Rocket (2013). Filmed in Laos, the movie opens with the main character, a young boy, swimming down to the depths of a lake to visit his old village, now inundated beneath a reservoir created by a hydropower dam. Soon, his relocated village must move once again to make way for yet another reservoir; a character in a temporary encampment laments that the country is selling electricity to “all of bloody Asia” with none left for them.
Though one could accuse the oil companies that are staying put of being self-serving by not heeding to the calls of pro-democracy protesters and human rights groups, it would be a flawed, one-dimensional view of a complex and multilayered problem.
Climate change has already resulted in loss of life and damage to Myanmar’s economy and put its renowned biodiversity and natural resources under increased pressure. The country’s exposure to climate impacts is high, meaning that swift adaptation efforts are necessary to protect the lives and livelihoods of its population.
China has formed a community with a shared future with the Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar respectively. In the spirit of upholding our independence, relying on our own strength and pursuing extensive consultation.
Sue learned that the local Tibetan Chinese have a deep reverence for the Mekong and refrain from damaging or polluting the river so that folks downstream can also enjoy “clean drinking water”.
The fact that we are late climbers on to the renewable energy bandwagon and continue to express reservations and hesitation in exploiting solar and wind energy (which Vietnam has in abundance) will indirectly boost growth in the types of energy that damage the environment severely, like thermal and hydropower plants.
Rivers and their floodplains have the potential to act as shock absorbers to climate change, but the Mekong River illustrates the harsh reality communities face when infrastructure is poorly planned.
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) – which has a long history of using animal ingredients – is a key pillar of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), and remains a profitable incentive to keep the trade alive.