Mekong Eye

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  • Thai power producer RATCH to invest $1b in overseas plants in Indonesia, Laos, China

    11/29/2015

    Thailand’s listed power producer Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding PCL (RATCH) plans to invest around $1 billion in power plants in Indonesia, Laos and China, a top official with the company said.

    The company expects its aggressive investment to double its electricity production capacity to 8,000 megawatts, increasing its enterprise value from the current level of 124 billion baht to 188 billion baht by 2018.

    Rum Herabat, the newly-appointed chief executive officer, said the company is looking at three main approaches to increase business. These include – exploring new investments, managing efficiency of main power plants and completing construction of new power plants as planned.

    The potential projects, for which the company is conducting feasibility studies and negotiation include, 2,000-MW JAWA7 in Indonesia, 400-MW Sekong 4 hydropower project in Lao PDR, seven solar farms projects for the public sector in Thailand (with a combined capacity of 35 MW) and 2,000-MW power plant project in China.

  • Myeik developer plans two island resorts

    11/29/2015

    Compared with other destinations in Myanmar such as Bagan and Inle Lake, the islands in the Andaman Sea off the southern tip of the country are still underdeveloped, with just a handful of hotels and resorts.

    “There are so many beautiful places in this archipelago, but not many resorts or facilities yet to attract tourism,” said U Aung Chain, project director and general manager of Myeik Public Corporation.

    The entire area had just five hotels and motels with a total of 196 rooms by the end of 2014, according to the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism.

    This may soon change. For the past two years, U Aung Chain’s company has been trying to secure Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) permission to develop two islands – Saw Mon Hla and Kun Thee, which means “betel nut”.

  • 300,000 Vietnamese coastal residents seriously threatened by forest loss-triggered erosion

    11/29/2015

    Thousands of households along the coast of Tien Giang Province in the Mekong Delta have been seriously endangered by soil erosion caused by the loss of protective forests.
    Since the strip of protective forest, 21 kilometers long, covering the coast of Go Cong District has been ruined, around 300,000 locals and 55,000 hectares of farming land there have been “put under a knife blade” for years.

    Houses in the coastal area from the Soai Rap River mouth in Vam Lang Town to Den Do in Tan Thanh Commune are under permanent threat and may be swept away or sunk by erosion any time.
    A sea dike of steel concrete was built along the coast to protect local residential areas but it is just a temporary measure since sea waves have continued to encroach on land day by day.

  • ADB Supports Cambodia’s Push to Develop New Environmental Plan

    11/27/2015

    The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is supporting the Government of Cambodia to develop a National Environmental Strategy and Action Plan (NESAP) to help the country achieve its sustainable development goals.

    The NESAP will prioritize policy tools and financing options to ensure that environmental protection and sustainable natural resource management are pillars of economic development. The plan was introduced to senior officials from 17 ministries, as well as development partners, at an ADB-supported workshop held in Phnom Penh on November 2, according to ADB.

    “The NESAP is a strategy for all government ministries as well as the private sector, civil society, and development partners to integrate environmental concerns into economic policies and investments,” said Say Samal, Minister of Environment, in opening remarks at the start of the workshop. He added that all stakeholders would need to work closely together to achieve the NESAP aims.

  • Myanmar will join the first time on EITI report –7 Days Daily (Burmese language)

    11/27/2015

    “Myanmar has $2.5 Bn income from oil and gas industry which is the data provide from the government” said Mr. Wan Aung, the CSO representative from Myanmar EITI committee. However, the figures will be much higher, as it excludes some of the oil and gas exploration site. The EITI report will release in January 2016. But, Myanmar will not report some other sectors, like gems. Myanmar government said the annual revenue from Jade is $650 mn, but the recent Global Witness report said, it could be $31 bn, and it equals 48% of the country’s GDP.

  • IEAT aims to establish industrial estates in SEZs –Bangkok Biz (Thai language)

    11/27/2015

    The governor of the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand Mr. Verapong Chaiperm mentioned that currently, Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand (IEAT) is accelerating the study design on the establishment of industrial estates in the special economic zones in Sa kaeo and Mae Sot, Tak provinces in according to the policies of Mr. Somkid Jatusripitak, Deputy prime minister who has been delegated during the recent Policy Committee on Special Economic Zone Development. They are expecting to finish the study within the six months period before the implementation of the next investment phrase. This is a part of the pilot project that will also engage private sectors to invest in this respective area. For investment of enterprises which are required to comply with IEAT’s rules and regulations involved many steps for example, the study on EIA and is subjected to PM’s consideration if any special laws can be applied to shorten the process in order to speed up the investment and to meet the required timeframe.

  • In the Mekong Delta: Erosion, Pollution, and Millions of Shrimp

    11/27/2015

    “Wrong way!” Stephen, our driver, shouted at Pablo through the rolled-up window of his 4×4. We had jumped out of the car to take a ferry across the Mekong to the toothbrush-shaped island of Phu Thanh, and apparently Stephen was unimpressed with our door-closing technique. Heedless of the swarms of motorcycles flowing around the vehicle, he engaged the handbrake and got out himself to demonstrate the proper method.

    Opening the door and quickly slamming it with exaggerated force, he pointed accusingly at Pablo. “Wrong way.”

    Once more he pulled the door open, smiling as he gently closed it with a barely audible click. “Right way.”

  • With Asean Integration Come More Threats to Natural Resources: NGO Forum

    11/27/2015

    Asean integration will start at end of this year, opening the region to a free flow of goods and services across borders. But many analysts say Cambodia will have a difficult time integrating and benefiting from the cooperation. There are other downsides, as well. VOA Khmer recently spoke with Toek Vannara, director of the NGO Forum, to discuss the likely environmental problems Cambodia and other countries could face if they do not act to protect their natural resources.]

  • Report: Myanmar’s Protected Areas Are Facing Critical Funding Shortages

    11/27/2015

    Myanmar’s protected areas are facing critical funding shortages, with several unable to cover the costs of essential equipment, maintenance, and operational activities, in addition to needing more dedicated staff with increased technical capacities. A new report offers an assessment of the financial status, constraints, and opportunities for financing of these areas.

    The report, Sustainable Financing of Protected Areas in Myanmar (http://goo.gl/cGip0X), was published by WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) under a research project funded by the European Union.

  • Despite Community Protest Marble Production Continues

    11/27/2015

    “We just want to stop the project” said U Zaya Kyaw, a member of Taungote community network. A Vietname based company named Myanmar SIMCO Song Da Limited Joint Stock Company (MYSICO) get the license for 25 years of Marble Tile production in Nay Pu Taung (Nay Py Mountain), which is situated in Taungote Townshiop, Rakhine, Myanmar. “According to the contract, they will employ 240 local workers, but they only hire 10 local people so far (with contract). The whole project operation is not transparent and accountable. It will spoil our environment and we don’t have much benefit from it.” U Zaya Kyaw continued. “The investment is 18.17 mn, but they didn’t say anything about EIA or SIA to us.” U Soe Win, another member of the community network said.

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