The thump of jackhammers and the whine of drills pierce the air, workmen in orange safety hats beaver away and a massive concrete wall rises slowly above the river. Here, in lush northeastern Cambodia, the US$800 million Lower Sesan 2 Dam stands as a potent symbol of China’s growing reach, and Beijing’s ambitious plans to expand its influence across Asia by building desperately needed infrastructure.
Construction began on the Nghi Son 2 Thermal Power Plant at the Nghi Son Economic Zone in the central province of Thanh Hoa on September 18. The plant is being built at a total cost of 2.3 billion USD, with 25 percent contributed by a joint venture between Japan’s Marubeni Group and the Republic of Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco) and the remaining coming from foreign banks.
An environmental watchdog based in Viet Nam is asking the Laos government to reconsider the construction of a controversial hydropower plant along the Mekong River. The non-governmental organisation Viet Nam River Network issued a press release last Friday stating that the Don Sahong project, the second largest dam approved by the Laos government, would adversely affect the area.
As Southeast Asia struggles to save the last of its Mekong River and Irrawaddy Dolphins, some ponder: should these remarkably intelligent animals be given “human” rights?
“The forest is our main source of food year round. Our lives are tied to it,” said Mr Pan, 57, also the head of a two-century-old village located in the forest of Ob Khan National Park’s Mae Khan River basin. But this lifestyle based on nature is under threat. The villagers have lived with anxiety for 20 years under the shadow of a dam construction project that has been dusted off by successive prime ministers despite the villagers’ protests.
On 16 September, the European Union (EU) and EU Member States met with more than 50 local Civil Society Organisations for the launch of the EU Roadmap for engagement with civil society according to an EU statement on 16 September. The Roadmap is the result of an extensive and inclusive process of consultation with over 150 Myanmar Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), the EU and its Member States. At the event, CSOs, international partners and the EU discussed priorities for future action which are outlined in the Roadmap.
The Salween River meanders through pristine mountain forests before reaching a camp for internally displaced people at Ei Htu Hta, near the Thai-Myanmar border. Temporary bamboo shelters dot the hills around the camp, with small solar panels attached to the thatched roofs providing power for a few hours a day. There is no government electricity supply to the camp and many of the people displaced by the fighting between the Burma Army (BA) and ethnic armed forces believe there never will be, despite seven dam projects proposed for the Salween. They also believe that the recent outbreaks of fighting between the BA and Karen forces are part of a master plan to ensure the dam projects, many of which will supply cheap energy to Thailand, go ahead.
Journalists from the Asean countries of Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia gathered in Phnom Penh this week to learn about energy and hydropower development trends in the region.
Government officials and civil society representatives from across the Mekong region have agreed to establish a working group to develop a regional public participation guideline for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) this week in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Since its founding, the inhabitants of Can Tho city have sold their wares atop the water, which has become a tourist spectacle. Rush hour at the floating market is around 8am. After noon, the sellers pack up their boats and return home. In recent years, local communities have begun to struggle against the growing problems of erosion and pollutants that threaten their way of life on the Hau River, a large branch off the MekongThe 185-kilometre (115-mile) Hau River passes through the southern part of Vietnam and into Cambodia, where it is called the Bassac River. In both countries, people call this river their home and depend on it for the livelihood by selling products from the Can Tho delta.