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  • Managing the Mekong’s Economy for Whom?

    12/11/2016

    “Water is liquid capital” proclaims the lead-out of World Wide Fund for Nature’s new report “The Role of the Mekong in the Economy.” Released earlier this month at the 2016 Mekong Forum on Water, Food and Energy, the report’s findings stress that despite the Mekong’s central role to the economies of countries in the Lower Mekong Basin, river management decisions are not being coordinated with long term economic development, nor planning efforts. Unless decision makers start considering the connections between water choices and economic development, the region’s prosperity seems destined for trouble.

  • Myanmar director takes his film to Luang Prabang

    12/02/2016

    The film is a powerful indictment of the country’s rogue crime and drug-infested jade mines, though at its core it is a human story of brothers reuniting and reconnecting, of attempting to define the inexplicable. Shot is Mandalay and Hpakant, Kachin State’s “city of jade”, the movie took two years to complete. Production was steeped in technical and cultural challenges, says Midi Z. The harsh physical environment, as well as cultural factors made production particularly difficult.

  • Multi-Stakeholder Dialogues Matter

    11/29/2016

    Extractives Industry (EI) activities in the Mekong Region have been controversial, causing environmental impacts and con icts between the private sector and affected communities. Although the mining and extractives sector in Cambodia is still relatively small, in recent years there have been a large number of exploration licenses granted to both local and international companies. Cambodia is on the verge of a major expansion of its EI. However, the legal framework governing mining in Cambodia is still undeveloped and concerns have been raised by communities that there is a lack of transparency in the licensing and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) processes.

  • Xayaburi dam: ‘Testing ground for untried technologies’

    11/18/2016

    “I miss the Mekong.” A sad smile flickered across the face of Thongkham Phalibai, a mother of two and owner of a grocery store in Luang Prabang.

    “I was living by the river for so long, earning money from gold panning and farming. But I can’t go back there anymore. I don’t know where my old house used to be.”

    It has been four years since Thongkham left a simple life in her old village of Pak Neun for a new one in Neunsavang, a remote village 80 kilometres south of Luang Prabang. She was among the 2,986 villagers who were forced to resettle because their homes either sat on the location of the controversial Xayaburi dam or were in areas that will be flooded.

  • Amid environmental concerns, stricter supervision of coal-fired power plants is needed

    11/18/2016

    Another 12 plants under construction are scheduled for completion between now and 2020, causing growing concerns over environmental safety, especially in regards to ash disposal and air quality standards.

    The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) has confirmed that all coal-fired power plants have submitted their environmental assessment reports to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

  • In Vietnam, telling the truth is criminal ‘propaganda’

    10/24/2016

    On Oct. 10, police in the south-central province of Khanh Hoa arrested a popular blogger, Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, 37, who writes under the pen name Mother Mushroom. She is co-founder of a network of independent bloggers who often find themselves in the crosshairs of a regime that strictly controls the news media and does not tolerate dissent. Radio Free Asia quoted the network as protesting that Ms. Quynh is an “activist who has advocated for human rights, improved living conditions for people, and sovereignty for many years.”

  • Protests dog Thilawa SEZ as second phase nears start

    10/05/2016

    Over 70 companies across 14 countries have invested more than US$700 million in the Thilawa special economic zone, but local residents affected by the project are still campaigning to have the next phase halted until issues around resettlement, compensation and environmental impact are resolved.

  • Asia: Heading towards a seismic shift

    09/26/2016

    In a decade’s time, visitors to Asean, South and North Asia may find their personal experiences in their respective destinations differ quite drastically.

    Each Asian nation is busy operating at its own pace, plotting a new stage of economic development and growth – despite ongoing global economic uncertainty.

    In the process of this seismic shift, some countries have chosen to work in partnerships while others are tackling the challenges alone. All of them reflect Asia’s unique aspiration to take on global competitive pressure. Some nations aim to get out of the middle-income trap, while others want to secure a higher standard of living for their people.

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