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  • Hurdles for environmental impact assessments

    09/19/2016

    What is the biggest challenge in carrying out an environmental impact assessment (EIA) for a project in Việt Nam?
    As we all know, an EIA is a scientific process that comes up with some projection of the environmental impacts that a project may cause to its surroundings. But currently, an EIA is expected to come up with assessments on areas that do not belong to its ‘original task’ like social impact assessments (SIA), health impact assessments (HIA) and risk assessments (RA).

    Though the work demanded for a good EIA report is large, the capital resources allocated for EIAs in Việt Nam is very limited – between just 1-10 per cent of the average resources it receives in other countries. That’s the key reason why an EIA report in Việt Nam is not as comprehensive and independent as it should be.

  • Why silt is so important for the Mekong

    09/15/2016

    Just as forests are more than only trees, rivers are more than water. The Mekong river carries massive loads of sediment and nutrients from upstream to downstream and across national borders, replenishing and enriching the land as it goes. This process is key to sustaining the ecological integrity of the river and surrounding landscapes, which in turn supports the economy.

    However, a boom in sand mining and hydropower development on the Mekong is transforming the river’s sediment flows, with profound consequences for the region if left unchecked. For a prosperous, sustainable future for the region, all Mekong countries must come together now and adopt international standards for managing transboundary river resources.

  • German companies eye young solar energy market in Vietnam

    09/14/2016

    Representatives of six German companies on Monday began their business trip in Vietnam to explore the potential of the local solar photovoltaic market.

    The Delegate of German Industry and Commerce in Vietnam, which organized the trip, said the representatives participated in a conference in Ho Chi Minh City to discuss and learn about investment opportunities.
    They also presented their products and services to some 150 Vietnamese companies and participants, and attended bilateral meetings.

  • Southern Vietnam faces power starvation

    09/12/2016

    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.

  • Video Calls for Angkor Beer Boycott Over Mekong Dam

    09/09/2016

    Community members worried about a major dam being constructed in Laos released a video this week appealing for a boycott of Cambodia’s number one beer manufacturer, Angkor Beer.

    “Stop Don Sahong, Boycott Angkor Beer” claims the 32 meter-high dam now under construction will affect the flow of the Mekong River, destroy fisheries and farmland in Cambodia and the lower Mekong, and affect millions of people in neighboring countries—all to generate only 260 MW of hydroelectricity. Of particular concern is the loss of of the last of the Irrawaddy dolphin’s Mekong habitat.

  • Research: Impacts of Dams and Global Warming on Fish Biodiversity in the Indo-Burma Hotspot

    08/23/2016

    Both hydropower dams and global warming pose threats to freshwater fish diversity. While the extent of global warming may be reduced by a shift towards energy generation by large dams in order to reduce fossil-fuel use, such dams profoundly modify riverine habitats. Furthermore, the threats posed by dams and global warming will interact: for example, dams constrain range adjustments by fishes that might compensate for warming temperatures. Evaluation of their combined or synergistic effects is thus essential for adequate assessment of the consequences of planned water-resource developments.

  • Flood crisis threatens to kill Vietnam’s rice bowl

    08/22/2016

    The Mekong Delta makes up 55.5 percent of the country’s annual rice output. Shortage of floods has resulted in a hefty 50 percent decrease in sediment deposited in the Mekong Delta each year, causing Vietnam’s largest delta to face serious subsidence and likely disappearance in the future.

  • Major rivers of Vietnam’s Mekong Delta become unusually deeper

    08/18/2016

    Vietnamese scientists have warned of the unusual increase in the depth of two major rivers in the Mekong Delta, with sand mining and hydropower dams said to be the cause.

    According to experts, instead of being accreted, the 250-kilometer long Tien (Front) River and 200-kilometer Hau (Back) River have become five to seven meters deeper since 2008.

    The Mekong separates in Phnom Penh into the Tien River, the main northern branch, and the Hau River, the primary southern distributor, after entering Vietnam.

  • China’s lack of cooperation causing problems for Vietnam’s water resources programming

    08/15/2016

    According to the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment (MARD), the total area of the entire Red-Thai Binh River basin is 169,000 square kilometers, of which 86,700 square kilometers, or 51.3 percent, belong to Vietnam, 81,200 square kilometers (48 percent) to China and 1,100 square kilometers, or 0.65 percent, to Laos.

    Tong Ngoc Thanh, director of the National Center for Water Resources Planning and Investigation (NAWAPI), said at a workshop held recently that since China was uncooperative, and that it was difficult for Vietnam to get information for development programming about the water source in the upper course belonging to the Chinese territory.

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

    08/15/2016

    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.

  • Vietnam, Laos discuss Vientiane-Hanoi expy project

    07/20/2016

    At a meeting in Laos on Wednesday, the two sides agreed the route layout and related issues for the 760-kilometer expressway connecting the capitals of the two countries, according to Vietnam’s Ministry of Transport.

    The agreement was reached based on results of a pre-feasibility study conducted by Vietnam’s Transportation Design Consultancy Corporation (Tedi).

    The expressway is planned to start from Vientiane, passing through Laos’ Pakxan and Nghe An Province’s Thanh Thuy, and end in Hanoi.

  • VN urged to reduce raw mineral exports as natural resources decline

    07/18/2016

    A report from the General Statistics Office (GSO) showed 6.82 percent growth in industry, lower than 9.66 percent in the same period of last year.

    The decrease in industrial production growth rate was attributed to a decline in coal, oil and gas mining. The decline was not blamed on weak production activities, but on other reasons, including shortage of natural resources.

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