It’s always difficult for the little guy to get his voice heard. For those who have found themselves downstream of the international river where transboundary development is taking place, like the Mekong River, your chances are nil.
Though Beijing has made inroads in addressing some concerns, the true structural challenges for the initiative remain.
The days of simply sticking a pipe in the ground and tapping a pool of easy-to-handle — and profitable — crude oil is fading. Maximising the planet’s oil reserves will challenge traditional thinking in order to harness technical know-how in a way that will have minimal impact on climate.
The recent Pak Beng public forum illustrates regional engagement in the basin, especially about dam planning. But will the improved process translated into a more community and environmentally conscious project?
Five years ago, Myanmar’s media scene was very oppressive and pathetic, both by international and ASEAN standards. Since then, with the end of news censorship and mandatory printing license, the overall freedom of expression has improved significantly. Now the country’s press freedom index is rising for overall openness in comparison with other ASEAN members.
On the surface, the Andaman sea off Phi Phi Island is calm and clear, its emerald green colour is ever attractive. Yet, the underwater situation with an extensive area of bleached coral reef make this popular world-class dive site a red-alert tourism spot.
In autumn 2011, waterways took on an unprecedented prominence in Burmese thinking, thanks to the great Myitsone Dam controversy.
While ELCs do have some positive impacts, like employment opportunities, new technologies, access to health and improved infrastructure, the negative impacts outweigh these and local communities as well as forest and wildlife are threatened by loss of land, culture and traditions.
International Rivers believes that recent comments attributed in the media to the CEO of the Mekong River Commission (MRC) raise serious concerns about the role and positioning of the MRC Secretariat and the future of decision-making over hydropower development in the Mekong.
Dialogue, transparency and foreign support could help rebuild local trust