Mekong Eye

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  • IFC and Private Sector Launch Working Group to Drive Change in Myanmar Hydropower Sector


    IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the private sector launched the first working group for Myanmar’s hydropower sector. The Hydropower Developers’ Working Group (HDWG), first established in Lao PDR in late-2013, is the only platform exclusively for hydropower companies and industry-related professionals to influence policy and identify solutions to improve upon sustainability and business operations in Myanmar.

    Over 100 stakeholders from Myanmar’s hydropower sector including companies, civil society organizations, financial institutions and government officials attended the working group’s first General Forum today in Yangon. The interim executive committee presented the working group’s agenda focusing on strengthening private sector relations with the government and highlighting the best practices and policies needed to develop projects sustainably. The committee comprises local and international hydropower companies and consultants operating in Myanmar.

  • Into the Zone: SEZs in the Mekong Region, Income…or Instability? (Part 2)


    While neighboring Thailand’s Special Economic Zones are now progressing without much public consultation or review, Myanmar may be moving in the opposite direction. Its three SEZs which were launched in the waning years of the junta, are now under the direction of the civilian government fully aware of concerns raised by communities and independent researchers, and inclined to take stock of what their predecessors set in motion. At issue are a whole range of social and environmental grievances, as well as the viability of the projects themselves and to what extent they reflect the new leadership’s priorities.

  • don sahong dam

    China Gezhouba Group signs deal to construct 35-MW Xelanong 2 hydropower project in Laos


    The China Gezhouba Group Corp. has signed an agreement with the Laotian government to develop a 35 MW hydroelectric plant in Laos’ southern Salavan province, according to reports from state news sources.
    China Gezhouba will develop what is being called the Xelanong 2 project using a build-operate-transfer model, with construction of the US$72 million facility expected to take about 40 months.
    Xelanong 2 and its 55-meter-high dam will be located on an unspecified tributary of the Mekong River and is part of the Laotian government’s effort to dramatically increase the availability of electricity to its population by 2020.
    Other significant hydroelectric plants being developed in Laos include the 1,285-MW Xayaburi, 1,156-MW Nam Ou and 410-MW Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy, amongst others.

  • Thilawa Zone B to start in November


    Development of the second stage of the country’s first economic zone will begin with infrastructure including roads, electricity and water, said U Myint Zaw, general manager of Myanmar Japan Thilawa Development Limited.

    “We will implement Zone B in phases. Once one phase is complete, we will start on the next one,” he said.

    Meanwhile the smaller Zone A is around 90 percent complete, with US$760 million in foreign investment committed to the project across 400 hectares of land. The project is located to the south of Yangon.

  • SEZ polluting Bavet canal, villagers say


    Villagers living along a canal in Svay Rieng province’s Bavet town say its water has been polluted by untreated discharge from the nearby Manhattan Special Economic Zone (SEZ), rendering it unusable.

    Three communes live along the Tapov canal – Bati, Prasat and Bavet – with villagers from the first two saying that they have complained about the pollution since 2015 and that the quality of the water has continued to decline and the smell is unbearable.

  • Cambodia Pushing for More Benefits From Mekong Integration


    The government is seeking to develop ways of increasing the benefit felt by Cambodia from economic corridors opened throughout the Greater Mekong Subregion as part of Asean integration, an official has said.

    Sok Chenda Sophea, secretary general of the Council for the Development of Cambodia, told reporters after a meeting of ministers from countries in the region held on Thursday that the government had developed a strategy to remain competitive.

  • New book: Licensed Larceny: Infrastructure, Financial Extraction and the global South


    This new 144-page book, just published by Manchester University Press, argues that the current push worldwide for Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) is not about building infrastructure — roads, bridges, hospitals, ports and railways – for the benefit of society but about constructing new subsidies to benefit the already wealthy. It is less about financing
    development than developing finance.

  • Work on Thilawa ‘Zone B’ to begin after rainy season


    The investors behind Myanmar’s first special economic zone will start accepting proposals for factories in second zone known as “Zone B” at the end of the rainy season, as both phases of “Zone A” near completion, with US$760 million in foreign investment committed to the project so far.

    Myanmar Thilawa SEZ Holdings chair U Win Aung told The Myanmar Timesthat the first zone, covering 400 hectares, is almost finished. Seventy-three foreign investors from 16 countries have agreed to invest in the project, which is located in Thanlyin township, around 25 kilometres (16 miles) south of Yangon.

  • Compensation for mining company’s ‘poisoning’ not enough: plaintiffs


    PEOPLE in Tak province say nothing has been done about removing cadmium contamination from their water source, while the Appeals Court yesterday upheld the Civil Court’s earlier ruling against zinc-mining companies on the leakage of toxins into the Mae Tao River Basin.

    The Southern Bangkok Civil Court upheld the previous court decision to sentence 84 people in three tambon of Tak’s Mae Sot district in a complaint filed against Padaeng Industry and Tak Mining Co. It also ruled that the 20 plaintiffs be given Bt62,000 each in compensation for cadmium poisoning. No court decision has been made on environmental damage.

  • “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.


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