Last month’s first-ever Water Security Dialogue showed the importance of involving young people and focusing on water resources development. As a historic show of unity between Asean and the Mekong River Commission, it will serve to enhance the ability of regional governments to tackle risks.
This price range is only accessible to about 1% of the population. If the price of an EV car remains exorbitant and unaffordable for most. At this rate, the goal of seeing everyone driving EVs by 2035 will never materialise.
Thailand’s Yuam Water Diversion Project and China’s lower estimate for building it are inevitably intertwined in the proposed development of dams in the Salween River. The vested interests, economically and security-wise, of the governments of China, Myanmar and Thailand, are also involved.
The deregulation of the energy market might not be enough. To ensure a quick departure from fossil fuels, the regulations, and energy market should also open up to other energy technologies that complement renewable energy, such as energy storage systems and peer-to-peer trading.
It is imperative that the government strikes the right balance between helping an industry which can deal with such a pressing environmental concern — scrap shops encouraging people to dispose of their possessions safely — without promoting the import of yet more waste which causes an equal or greater amount of harm as a by-product of its processing.
As Thai authorities battle to halt a tide of infections currently threatening to dislodge a halo worn so proudly by many who thought Covid-19 had been beaten on home soil, a UN report released last week comes as a timely reminder that epidemics come in all shapes and sizes and the present Covid crisis can’t be allowed to distract from pro-environmental policy-making.
Most recently, a US-based institution published a report attempting to dispute the China-proposed BRI, claiming that a hydroelectric dam in northeastern Cambodia under the BRI “has undermined the life and livelihood of thousands of local communities and ethnic minorities. Various reports verify that the Lower Sesan 2 dam project has been contributing greatly to the development of the nation and also improved the livelihood of local residents, who used to live without access to electricity or proper transport infrastructure.
So the new Chinese ambassador to Thailand will have a challenge to prove that the countries’ friendship remains strong. He can’t just resort to diplomatic rhetoric. Of course, being dubbed as a “younger sibling” and “one family”, will make Thais’ hearts glow. Yet the proof of fraternity will be seen in the river that runs unimpeded.
Attended by officials via an online communications platform, the organisers of the MRC/ASEAN meeting have been criticised for excluding members of local communities, civil society groups and NGOs, who have criticised management of the river in the past. Without meaningful engagement with civil society groups, each meeting will be just another talk shop.