Mekong Eye

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Stories on “Policy“

  • Myanmar likely to join Asean Power Grid


    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.

  • Govt sidesteps controversial Thanlwin in hydropower push


    U Htay Aung, deputy permanent secretary of the Ministry of Electric Power and Energy, told The Myanmar Times last week that the projects – the Shweli (3), Upper Yeywa and Upper Kyaing Taung dams – are seen by the ministry as a means of meeting energy-deprived Myanmar’s electricity needs, while noting that the earliest expected completion dates were 2020.

    Along with a fourth dam under construction in Rakhine State and a fifth in Nay Pyi Taw’s Pyinmana township, the projects’ electricity generation will total more than 1500 megawatts, he said, nearly half of Myanmar’s current installed capacity nationwide.

  • Southern Vietnam faces power starvation


    Southern Vietnam, which is home to commercial hubs like Ho Chi Minh City and manufacturing clusters such as Dong Nai and Binh Duong, may face more power shortages from 2017.

    The country’s total power output is likely to fall short of the south’s demand by 10-15 percent, said Duong Quang Thanh, chairman of state monopoly Electricity of Vietnam (EVN).

    The state utility plans to run more power plants on diesel to produce about 5 billion kilowatt-hours per year starting from next year to supplement supplies in the south, Thanh added.

  • New Myanmar investment law is the ‘right move’


    The new law, a consolidation of existing Myanmar Citizen Investment Law and the Foreign Investment Law, introduces a new form of approval called MIC Endorsement, in addition to issuing MIC permits.

    If a company’s business activities do not fall under one of the restricted categories, it will not require an MIC permit to do business in Myanmar. Instead, they can apply for an MIC endorsement, which will provide the same benefits as an MIC permit such as long-term lease and tax incentives.

  • Recharging Asia’s Battery


    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.

  • Draft Regional Guidelines for Public Participation in EIA Released for Public Comment


    USAID-funded Mekong Partnership for the Environment (MPE) has invited public comment on the draft Regional Guidelines on Public Participation in Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), via These regional EIA guidelines have been developed by the Regional Technical Working Group (RTWG) on EIA in response to the shared concern for how to increase meaningful public participation in development planning, particularly in the context of rising levels of investment for development projects across the Mekong region.

  • Civil society groups secure pledges from PM Hun Sen at forestry forum


    Billed as a Cambodian first, the invitation of 500 civil society and community representatives to a forum on environmental issues with Prime Minister Hun Sen proved largely a platform for the premier to hold forth on policy and politics, with many observers bemoaning the sidelining of community voices.

    “We consider this an enlarged cabinet meeting and decisions taken today have the effect of cabinet decisions . . . otherwise the value of today is just sweet talk,” Hun Sen said near the start of a five-hour soliloquy on environmental policy that left little room for contributions from the audience.

  • Aung Sun Suu Kyi moves to clean up Myanmar’s murky jade trade


    Myanmar’s new government has announced ground-breaking reforms to its $31bn (£23.7bn) jade industry in a move campaigners claim could signal “a new era of fundamental change” in a business long dominated by abuse, corruption and cronyism.

    The decision to freeze any renewals of existing jade permits, and to suspend the licensing of new ones, follows a series of deadly landslides in resource-rich Kachin state, widespread protests against lack of regulations, and extensive NGO and media reports exposing social and environmental abuses in Myanmar’s jade trade.

  • China Economy Ripples Into Laos


    A decade long mining boom, combined with a rapid development of hydropower, has seen Laos’ growth rate reach over 7 percent a year, allowing national output to more than double, generating some half a million jobs.

    A key player in the economic progress has been China. A recent World Bank report on the Lao economy noted China’s influence was continuing to grow.

  • “Lean, clean and green”? The AIIB’s first weigh-in


    Representatives from 57 countries, journalists, industry experts and civil society leaders gathered in Beijing on 25-26 June for the first annual meeting of the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

    This was the bank’s first weigh-in, where its first six months of progress since launching in January would be judged by stakeholders and engaged parties. Of keen interest to many were the AIIB’s green credentials.

  • Government Told to Demand Transparency From SEZ Firms


    The companies involved in planning and building special economic zones (SEZs) in Dawei and Kyaukphyu are failing to disclose impact assessments and other information relating to the massive projects, according to the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ).

    Progress on the Dawei SEZ, in southern Burma’s Tenasserim Division, has been delayed by a lack of funding, but the governments of Burma, Thailand and, more recently, Japan, are all involved in a project that looks to be moving ahead.

  • Public Participation and Learning in Impact Assessment


    Members of the Regional Technical Working Group on Environmental Impact Assessment (RTWG on EIA, facilitated by Mekong Partnership for the Environment) participated in the Annual Conference of International Association for Impact Assessment in Nagoya, Japan in May 2016. IAIA is a global conference focusing on Impact Assessment tools and issues such as EIA, Health Impact Assessment (HIA), Public Participation, Biodiversity, Climate Change, and other topics. Here, an RTWG member shares his thoughts on the event and particularly one session “Learning-Centered Approaches to Impact Assessment.”

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