China is demonstrating that it has real power to control and manage the Mekong River, as Beijing launches a diplomatic campaign to engage with affected countries downstream. This situation has become clear after China’s contacts with the other five countries along the river – Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Physically, about half the nearly […]
Society & Community
Civil society organisations meeting in the Kachin State mining town of Hpakant have called for a suspension of all jade mining projects, saying the industry is costing lives, ruining the environment and fuelling conflict.
“Until rules, laws and regulations are legislated and enacted, jade businesses and projects should be halted. Proper policy guidelines, laws, mechanisms, and rules and regulations for the extractive industry should be legislated as fast as possible,” the groups said in a statement directed at the incoming NLD government.
Their call for a suspension of mining activities in Kachin State echoed a call for a moratorium on oil and gas production in Rakhine State that was issued yesterday by Arakan Oil Watch, an NGO that is campaigning for the devolution of management and ownership of natural resources.
Local activists have accused China of using the Mekong River’s water resources to increase its political power in the region.
The accusation came Tuesday as Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha left Thailand for China for the opening day of the first Mekong-Lancang Cooperation meeting being held in Sanya, Hainan province, until tomorrow.
Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and China will discuss cooperation under the theme “Shared River, Shared Future”.
Earlier, China announced on March 10 it had released water from Jinghong dam in Yunnan, with further releases planned until April 10, to help ease the drought in Thailand and other countries in the sub-region.
China has agreed to share information on the management of dams in the Mekong River, known as Lancang in China, with other countries connected to the river, says Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment spokesman Suphot Tovichakchaikul.
The move aims to reduce the impact of these dams on millions of people who reside around the lower part of the Mekong River, he added.
In Cambodia’s Northern Prey Lang forest, one of the last remaining evergreen forests in Southeast Asia, a community is organizing itself to preserve its roots, traditions, and protect the land to which it belongs.
Environmental scholars and a network of Civil Society Organizations protested against NCPO’s order no. 9/2559 which permits the state enterprises to select private companies to initiate their projects before an environmental impact assessment (EIA) gets approval. On March 10, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment as the primary agency responsible for the preparation for EIA reports, clarified regarding the concerns raised by academics and the CSO network that called for review and cancellation of the order.
Amid late-arriving rains and increasingly unpredictable weather patterns, groundwater supplies are shrinking, a fact that could leave 1.5 million Cambodian farmers unable to water their crops within 15 years, according to a study published last month in the Journal of Hydrology.
The study by Laura Erban and Steven Gorelick of the department of earth system science at Stanford University found that a growing reliance on groundwater use – which has grown by 10 per cent annually in recent years – may drop the water table below the “lift limit” of suction pump wells.
“Extensive groundwater irrigation jeopardises access for shallow domestic water supply wells, raises the costs of pumping for all groundwater users, and may exacerbate arsenic contamination and land subsidence that are already widespread hazards in the region,” the study authors wrote.
Even if the Kingdom starts drawing more irrigation water from rivers and lakes, its options are limited, the study found.
Much of the mighty Salween River continues to flow freely. Beginning in the Tibetan Himalayan Mountain Range, the river meanders through China’s Yunnan Province where it runs parallel to the Mekong and Yangtze Rivers, forming the Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas, a UNESCO World Heritage site. It then flows across the Burma (Myanmar) border into Shan State, and on into Kayah (Karenni) State, forming the border between Burma, in Karen State, and Thailand, in the Mae Sariang and Sob Moei Districts of Mae Hong Son, before flowing into Mon State and emptying into the sea at Moulmein. The entire length of the river is 2,800 kilometers.
The Salween River is home to a large number of diverse ethnic groups and is a rich hub of natural resources. It is a highly complex ecosystem, teeming with life. Unlike other major rivers around the world, the Salween remains largely untouched by man-made developments.
Center for Environment and Community Research (CECR) conducted policy research to investigate the nature, extent, constraints and outcomes of women’s participation in two development project sites in Vietnam. These project sites were the Trung Son Hydropower Project funded by the World Bank and the Phu Hoa Landfill Project supported by the Asian Development Bank. Both projects have undergone EIA processes.
The new president must listen to the voice of the people, who do not agree to the resumption of the Myitsone Dam project, said Kachin State Democracy Party chairman Dr Manam Tu Ja on March 7.
His spoke in response to news that China is seeking to find ways to resume the project.
He said the resumption of Myitsone project must depend on the desires of the people.
Commission added ‘community rights’ in the charter draft and required projects that have impacts on health to do EIA. At the same time, the revised provision also stipulates that the public have the right to file complaints against state agencies if they fail to comply with this charter.
Thai government plans to allocate about 195,000 rai of state land in 47 provinces for landless poor so they will have a land plot to build a living quarter and to make a living. Government spokesman said that the government intends to narrow the gap of social disparity by distributing land plots in degraded forest, public land, land for land reform project to the landless poor.