Mekong Eye

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Vietnam

  • Vietnam needs clearer windpower laws: experts

    04/11/2016

    These were among the petitions related to administrative procedures that were raised at a validation workshop held in HCM City last week.

    The aim of the workshop was to create more opportunities for further wind power.

    The Validation Workshop on “Wind Power Investment Guidelines” was co-hosted by the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Inter-nationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH in Vietnam and the General Directorate of Energy (GDE) under the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) in Vietnam.

    Aurelien Agut, a GIZ consultant, said that interest to invest in small wind turbines was strong, but there were no clear regulations on the import of small turbines as well as on relevant procedures.

  • Vietnamese campaign warns of nightmarish coal future

    04/03/2016

    A future built on coal is a dark and dystopian nightmare, according to a new anti-coal campaign launched by environmental groups in Vietnam.

    The new photo campaign is called “I Can’t” and it features popular Vietnamese actors, musicians and artists wearing gas masks, performing before a devastating backdrop of smog, societal breakdown and climate change devastation.

  • Thailand’s transparency deficit: Haste makes waste on mega-projects

    03/29/2016

    One of the country’s top bankers is stressing the need for faster action to transform Thailand into a hub for CLMV countries (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam).

    Kevin Tan, CEO of HSBC Thailand, was speaking during an interview on Vietnam’s increasing attractiveness to foreign investors. Vietnam’s gross domestic product grew a whopping 797 per cent between 1995 and 2014, from US$20.74 billion to $186.2 billion. Thailand’s GDP growth was sluggish in comparison, rising from $169.28 billion to $404.8 billion over the same period.

    And with big names like Intel, Apple and Samsung now showing interest in Vietnam, it seems the times are against Thailand.

  • Drowning in generosity

    03/29/2016

    Again?” Chai Tamuen, 42, thought when he saw Mekong water rising at the riverbank of Chiang Khan district in Loei eight days ago.

    Overnight, water had engulfed the sandy shore of Kaeng Khut Khu, a tourist spot popular for swimming and recreation, leaving stalls stranded on an “island” now surrounded by water.

    As a vendor, Mr Chai was forced to leave his kiosk four days later when water submerged half of the island.

    “This is not the first time that the bank has been flooded in dry season. It’s happened like this for the last five years,” he said.

    “We can’t predict water. Our income has not been stable since Chinese dams have taken control over the water upstream.”

    China announced on March 14 it would discharge a massive quantity of water from one of its dams, claiming it would help communities in the Mekong region facing severe drought.

  • China Focus: Lancang-Mekong cooperation enriches countries along the river

    03/28/2016

    A border railway station which has been in existence for more than 100 years in southwest China’s Yunnan Province got a new lease on life last year after having been left desolate for a decade.

    The cargo train via Shanyao Station on the China-Vietnam border hit the buffers in 2013 and was suspended for a while. The service has since resumed and is now busier than ever.

    A railway linking Kunming in Yunnan province and the border with Vietnam opened in December 2014 and the following year 366,400 tonnes of cargo — iron ore, sulfur, fertilizer and so on — flowed from China into Vietnam via Shanyao, over 100 times more than the year before. Already this year, 89,700 tonnes of goods have gone the same way.

  • Laos releases dam water to ease drought in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta

    03/28/2016

    Laos has started releasing water from its dams to the Mekong River to help Vietnam’s southern region cope with severe drought and saltwater intrusion, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    The ministry on Friday quoted Lao Minister of Energy and Mines Khammany Inthirath as saying that Laos had discharged around 1,136 cubic meters of water per second to the lower Mekong River basin on Wednesday. The country planned to keep doing so until the end of May.

  • The Manual: Community consultation and monitoring on the impact of hydropower

    03/28/2016

    According to the report of the Commission on Science, Technology, Environment and Government, by 2013 Vietnam has had 113 terraced Hydroelectric power plants on some major rivers and 1,108 small hydropower plants are now being projected. The development of this manual is important as it illustrates the many evidences of hydropower impacts on the environment and society. This manual was produced when state policies and guidelines were aimed at promoting the role of community participation and supervision.

  • Water management center for Mekong River to be established

    03/28/2016

    The Prime Minister has revealed a water management center will be set up under the Mekong-Lancang Cooperation (MLC) to manage water levels in the Mekong River more effectively.

    Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha said after returning from the first MLC meeting in China that the water management center will alert countries in the Mekong River Basin to be prepared whenever China discharges water into the river.

  • Deforestation threatens Vietnam’s rare monkey

    03/25/2016

    After trekking the leech-ridden jungle from dawn to dusk for days on end, exhaustion was starting to show on the conservation team’s sweaty faces and damp gear.

    Midway into a 10-day field assignment in Vietnam, the team had no more than two good photographs of the critically endangered grey-shanked douc to show on their long-range cameras. They needed a lot more.

    Such is the elusiveness of the rare monkey – even the experts have a hard time trailing it.

    The grey-shanked douc can only be found in the remote forests of Vietnam’s Central Highlands. Until the recent discovery of a new population of 500 doucs by a survey team from Fauna & Flora International, the species was believed to have as few as 800 remaining in the wild.

    Visible snare lines and the absence of gibbons and larger mammals in the jungle point to heavy hunting in the past, said Mr Jonathan Eames, who leading a photography and book project on the primate.

  • NGOs question China’s dam release

    03/24/2016

    One week ago, China doubled the quantity of water released from the Jinghong Dam along the Mekong River in Yunnan province. This came two days following Vietnamese officials meeting in Beijing to request the increase due to severe drought conditions and low flows in the Mekong Delta. But at a press conference in Bangkok yesterday, representatives of Thai civil society and communities denounced the action as destructive and insincere.

    “No one doubts that people in the Vietnamese Delta may be suffering from salt water intrusion due to low Mekong flows this dry season,” said Montree Chantawong from Towards Ecological Recovery and Regional Alliance (TERRA), “But these additional dam releases can’t really help them, yet are hurting many of us.”

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