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  • Regional NGOs meet in Myanmar to improve community involvement in infrastructure decisions

    09/28/2016

    This week, 50 representatives from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) across the Mekong region met in Myanmar to share successes and challenges in effectively involving local communities in environmental impact assessment (EIA) processes.

    At the “Community Engagement in Environmental Impact Assessment: A Regional Exchange and Learning Forum” in Yangon, participants explored approaches to helping communities constructively engage with businesses and government to ensure sustainable and equitable development in the context of increasing infrastructure investment in the region, according to a press release September 23.

  • 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.

  • Myanmar likely to join Asean Power Grid

    09/26/2016

    MYANMAR is likely to be the fifth Asean country to sign up for the Asean Power Grid formed by Laos, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore, energy ministers have said.

    “We had long discussions with our Myanmar counterparts,” said Laos Vice Minister for Energy and Mines Viraphonh Vilavong. “They are keen to join. I expect that to be quite soon.”

    Viraphonh on Thursday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Thai Energy Minister General Anantaporn Kanjanarat and Malaysian counterpart Johnity Ongkili that would allow the transportation of electricity.

  • Why silt is so important for the Mekong

    09/15/2016

    Just as forests are more than only trees, rivers are more than water. The Mekong river carries massive loads of sediment and nutrients from upstream to downstream and across national borders, replenishing and enriching the land as it goes. This process is key to sustaining the ecological integrity of the river and surrounding landscapes, which in turn supports the economy.

    However, a boom in sand mining and hydropower development on the Mekong is transforming the river’s sediment flows, with profound consequences for the region if left unchecked. For a prosperous, sustainable future for the region, all Mekong countries must come together now and adopt international standards for managing transboundary river resources.

  • Dam the Mekong, Thailand Buys More Hydroelectricity from Laos

    09/09/2016

    A power purchasing agreement was signed on Tuesday, during Thai Prime Minister General Prayuth chan-Ocha’s visit to the Prime Minister of Laos Thongloun Sisoulith, while attending the 28th and 29th Asean Summits and related meetings from September 6-8 in Vientiane.

    Thailand has increased its purchase of electricity from 7,000 to 9,000 megawatts from Laos this year to ensure sufficient supply and meet rising demand.

  • Video Calls for Angkor Beer Boycott Over Mekong Dam

    09/09/2016

    Community members worried about a major dam being constructed in Laos released a video this week appealing for a boycott of Cambodia’s number one beer manufacturer, Angkor Beer.

    “Stop Don Sahong, Boycott Angkor Beer” claims the 32 meter-high dam now under construction will affect the flow of the Mekong River, destroy fisheries and farmland in Cambodia and the lower Mekong, and affect millions of people in neighboring countries—all to generate only 260 MW of hydroelectricity. Of particular concern is the loss of of the last of the Irrawaddy dolphin’s Mekong habitat.

  • Gigawatts for Mega-spenders: Infographic shows Bangkok’s luxury malls use more energy than some provinces

    09/05/2016

    Thailand may be a middle income country, but enter one of the capital’s many new, opulent shopping complexes and you’ll think you’ve been transported to New York or Singapore. EmQuartier, Bangkok’s latest retail destination for the well-healed houses such brands as Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Prada, Dior, Tiffany and Cartier as do half a dozen of its predecessors along a six kilometers retail corridor in the city’s downtown.

  • Recharging Asia’s Battery

    09/05/2016

    Next week, Barack Obama will be the first sitting U.S. president to visit Laos, a poor, landlocked country whose large-scale efforts to dam the Mekong River threaten to destabilize the region. This concerns the United States because Southeast Asia is one of the country’s largest trading partners and a key security ally that can counterbalance China’s growing regional influence. Obama should seize this opportunity to help Laos make energy choices that, over the long term, can unify the region and preserve the Mekong.

  • Into the Zone: SEZs in the Mekong Region, Income…or Instability? (Part 1)

    08/30/2016

    The Mekong region is abuzz with news about special economic zones (SEZs). From Thailand’s prime minister telling US business leaders that the Kingdom’s SEZs are a cornerstone to his economic reforms, to Ho Chi Minh City’s mayor wanting 890 km2 designated as an SEZ to revive his city’s economic leadership, to Myanmar’s newly elected government facing increasing pressure to review the outgoing-junta-approved SEZs now underway there—these foreign-investment magnets are picking up steam as ASEAN integration progresses within the Greater Mekong Subregion.

    But what’s so special about these zones? Can they unlock new pathways to region’s economic potential, or as the Bangkok Post warned recently, should policy-makers proceed with caution given the immense complexities to securing SEZs’ desired benefits?

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