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  • Order flawed but regime doesn’t care

    03/15/2016

    In plain words, the NCPO’s order No.9/2559 can only quicken projects when it assumes the EIA and EHIA will be approved as a rubber stamp. All other attempts to justify it are illogical.

    But then again, there is a similar failed logic here as in past suggestions that people grow velvet beans instead of rice, shower less in the face of drought or refrain from making sparks to avoid wildfires.

    As the military regime lingers on, the daily dose of illogicality is increasing and becomes more flagrant. If a fast-track solution is ever needed, it’s to expedite the exit of one immodest man’s rule to the more sensible one-man, one-vote.

  • Myanmar : Aung San Suu Kyi and China’s Options

    03/13/2016

    As Myanmar nears a historic political transition, the incoming National League for Democracy (NLD) will have a lot on their plate. They will face the enormous challenge of steering the country according to their plans. Having struggled for two and a half decades against a hardline military rule, they will have a clearer understanding of […]

  • Linking rural development with SDGs

    03/06/2016

    The 2030 agenda for sustainable development undoubtedly proposes an exciting vision, and promises a future of peace and prosperity; but these goals will not be easy to achieve unless we develop effective global partnerships and learn from the outcomes of Millennium Development Goals (MDG). We need to investigate both the successes and failures of MDGs, set our focus on result-oriented development, and encourage government and their development partners to think about the linkages between plan, policy, delivery and monitoring in resource mobilisation and management.

  • Dam Building on Lower Mekong Accelerating, Threatening Path of Destruction

    03/06/2016

    This week the hydro-power industry gathered in Vientiane, Laos to attend the International Conference and Exhibition on Water Resources and Hydro-power Development in Asia.

    The conference comes at a time when the pace of dam building on the lower Mekong River mainstream appears to be accelerating at a dangerous speed, and it threatens to leave a path of destruction in its wake.

  • A Tipping Point for the Mekong

    02/25/2016

    A cascade of hydropower dams, driven primarily by Thailand and Laos, threatens to turn this thriving, productive waterway into a fragmented, impoverished ghost of itself. And that spells trouble for the region – and beyond. As President Obama meets with Southeast Asian leaders in California, he must address the conflicts over these projects, and advocate for a solution that will ensure the health of the river and thus the region’s economic and political future.

  • Pak Moon dam still a dilemma 25 years on

    02/24/2016

    When dam proponents came to her house almost three decades ago and made promises that Pak Moon dam would bring prosperity and progress to surrounding villages, Lamphai Khamlap was immediately suspicious.

    Today, her concerns are being realised. The dam which was completed in 1994 on the Moon River, a tributary of the Mekong River, has had a severe impact on the livelihood of the villagers in Ubon Ratchathani.

    “Hell” was the terse response of Mrs Lamphai, now 59, when asked what the Pak Moon dam meant to her. Her harsh indictment was echoed by many others.

  • Myitsone dam is as much Aung San Suu Kyi’s problem as Beijing’s

    02/22/2016

    In September 2011, Myanmar President Thein Sein announced that construction of China’s largest hydroelectric project in Southeast Asia — the $3.6 billion-plus Myitsone dam in northern Myanmar — would be suspended for the duration of his term.

    This came as a shock to China, which had believed that Myanmar was securely within the Sinocentric orbit, if not quite a “client state.”

  • World Bank safeguards review: “human rights-free zone”

    02/18/2016

    As the third and final consultation phase on the second draft of the World Bank’s proposed new environmental and social framework (ESF), replacing the current safeguards, progresses, civil society organisations (CSOs), the UN and certain member states continue to demand that the Bank incorporates human rights in all its activities (see Observer Autumn 2015, Winter […]

  • Keeping it Clean: Renewable Energy a Better Way for Myanmar

    02/18/2016

    Villagers in Ayeyarwady Region, Mon State and elsewhere across Myanmar are refusing to accept plans for power projects in their neighbourhoods, fearful pollution will harm their health, farms and fisheries. Evidence from around the world, including China, India and Thailand, suggests they are right to be worried.

    In 2014, energy use caused damage worldwide amounting to US$5.3 trillion, according to analysts’ estimates at the International Monetary Fund. Of that, $5.124 trillion was due to fossil fuels with two-thirds attributed to coal. Climate change accounted for a quarter of the costs, with the rest due to sickness, premature death and degradation of the environment.

    Analysts believe the damage adds up to 8-16 per cent of GDP for developing countries in Asia, which for Myanmar equates to $4-8 billion in 2014.

  • Fair Share: Toward an Equitable Resource Revenue System

    02/16/2016

    Myanmar’s government currently collects much of the trillions of kyat generated by oil, gas, gemstones and other minerals each year, primarily through its state-owned economic enterprises (SEEs). In the face of such centralized control over revenue, many ethnic groups have long asserted their right to make decisions over resource management in their states. In fact, combatants in areas of active conflict and leaders from several ethnic minority parties—particularly those associated with Kachin, Rakhine and Shan states—have openly called for greater resource revenue sharing.

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