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Stories on “Society & Community“

  • PARTNERSHIP IN ACTION Regional governments and civil society journey toward improving public participation

    01/11/2016

    The 25 members represent governments and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) from across the region. They have tasked themselves with drafting public participation guidelines to ensure communities and citizens have input into development projects such as dams, mines, transportation links or economic zones. Through drafting a regional standard on participation in EIA, the group hopes countries across the region will improve public involvement in the decision-making process.

    Getting 10 civil society organisations, five governments and an array of ministries to agree on one set of guidelines will be hard. But the members are up for the challenge. They have a lot to teach each other. And are eager to learn from experiences in other countries and sectors.

    We talked to a few members of the RTWG during their first official meeting in Bangkok in September to see how they felt about this challenging but exciting opportunity. Their video interviews are below.

    My country, Thailand, hosted this kick-off meeting, and two of Thailand’s five members are Mr. Suphakij Nuntavorakarn, Healthy Public Policy Foundation and Ms. Chanakod Chasidpon, Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) of the Thai government.

  • Villagers from Bamnetnarong district visited 5 ASEAN Embassies , protesting coal-fired power plant

    01/11/2016

    More than 30 representatives from Bamnetnarong District in Chaiyapoom province submitted a letter to ASEAN diplomatic representative, protesting the coal-fired power plant for Potash mining project. The content of the letter stated that ASEAN Potash Mining Company Limited (Public) is pushing the construction plan of coal power plants for use in the mining operation, informing the villagers that Thailand shortage of energy. And the villagers against the use of coal for electricity generation.

  • Stop Sesan Dam, Locals Tell Gov’t

    01/07/2016

    More than 90 percent of people affected by the $800 million Lower Sesan II hydroelectricity project want the government to halt construction of the dam and the area turned into one of the world’s largest eco-tourism reserves, a survey released yesterday by the NGO Forum found.

    One of the survey’s authors, Kem Ley, who is also a political analyst, said the compensation and resettlement process was inconsistent and lacked transparency and the whole project was undermined by the lack of community consultation from the beginning.

    “About 93 percent of those affected demand the government cancel the construction project because they don’t want to lose their culture and their burial and spiritual lands,” he said.

  • Ghost town ‘forgotten’ in Chiang Khong border trade

    01/07/2016

    The freshly painted welcome signs at Chiang Khong market are conspicuous, greeting visitors as they cross the border from Laos. Few arrive however, and behind the signs they see only shuttered shops and scattered clothing sellers.

    The “new town”, as some business operators called it after the opening of the fourth Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge across the Mekong River in 2013, is now known as a ghost town by locals.
    Once a bustling trade development area, the market located just a kilometre from the bridge, has been a flop and doesn’t seem to be able to attract tourists.

    But there is a chance the market could be resurrected, after Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s government announced Chiang Rai would be the location for the second phase of the Special Economic Zones, set to be launched this year.

  • Dams may worsen arsenic problem: study

    12/15/2015

    A Stanford University study conducted in Cambodia has shed new light on the natural introduction of the poison arsenic into groundwater – an established problem in Cambodia that could be exacerbated by hydrological development, particularly dams, researchers say.

    According to a report on their findings, published in the journal Nature Geoscience on Friday, the Stanford team carried out experiments on wetlands in Kandal province’s Kien Svay district in order to better understand how water is contaminated by the lethal toxin here and in other parts of South and Southeast Asia.

  • Environmentalists Hope for Stronger Safeguards under NLD

    12/15/2015

    In the wake of recent disasters that have shone a light on the human toll wrought by a lack of environmental and development-related safeguards, local activists are hoping to reverse Burma’s abysmal environmental protection record when a new government assumes office in March next year.

    In July and August, swaths of the country were inundated by severe flooding, which in some areas triggered deadly mudslides, exacerbated in part by deforestation. Less than a week ago, a landslide near a jade mine in Kachin State’s Hpakant Township claimed more than 100 lives when a man-made mountain of earthen waste collapsed on workers’ makeshift huts.

  • Heated Mae Sot SEZ 97 households are convicted

    11/29/2015

    Lands have been expropriated and Mae Sot villagers, who worry about having industrial estates in the area instead. They protested against the issuing of ‘land deeds’ for originally reserved forest. If the state succeeds then local communities could be arrested as invaders, said a conservation group of Mae sot residents. The expropriated areas include 803 rai of national reserved forest, 2,182 rai of permanent forest area, and 13 rai of public space. The Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand was assigned to manage 803 rai and the Treasury Department manages 1,287 rai.

  • 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.

  • 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.”

  • 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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