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July 27, 2020

Flood risk for 1 million in Phnom Penh as wetlands destroyed - VoA
Human rights and environmental groups surveyed 469 families living in or using the Tompoun/Cheung Ek wetlands area and its rivers. The resulting report sheds light on the potentially devastating impacts of residential and industrial development to 1,500 hectares of wetlands that sustain local communities and play a vital role in Phnom Penh’s waste management and flood prevention. (See also: Suspend development projects destroying the Tompoun/Cheung Ek wetlands- Equitable Cambodia)
Many Myanmar mining firms fail to name politically connected owners  - Irrawaddy
At least 10 companies in Myanmar have failed to identify “politically exposed persons”—those with links to high-ranking present or former military officials and ethnic armed groups—among their owners, according to a new Global Witness report.
Vietnam bans imports of wild animals to reduce risk of future pandemics - The Guardian
Vietnam has banned all imports of wild animals, dead or alive, and announced a crackdown on illegal wildlife markets as part of efforts to reduce the risk of future pandemics such as Covid-19. Uses of wildlife for medicinal purposes, however, or wild animals being kept as pets are not covered.
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Water wars: Mekong River another front in U.S.-China rivalry - Reuters
It’s a confrontation in which the Trump administration - which has largely maintained funding for an Obama-era environmental and development programmes in the Lower Mekong - is losing ground.

Why has China built dams along the Lancang River - CGTN
Drought Characteristics of Lancang -- Mekong River Basin and the Impacts of Reservoir Regulation on Streamflow, published by Chinese experts on July 15, 2020 stated, "The water supplementary role of Lancang cascade dams can generally alleviate drought occurring in the Mekong River Basin." (See also: Report helps enhance mutual trust and cooperation: international experts - Tsinghua University News)

Mekong is at historical lows - Khmer Times
The Mekong is once again at historical lows. The Mekong River Commission gauge at Phnom Penh Port shows river level to be four metres below average for this time of year – and lower than last year’s record. (See also: MRC detects extreme drought in Northeast Cambodia - Khmer Times)


Fishermen without fish as Cambodia's river reversal runs late - Reuters
Fisherman San Savuth, 25, wants Cambodia’s government to negotiate the release of water from Mekong dams to help Kampong Khleang’s 2,000 families.

Feeding Cambodia’s hungry children amid COVID-19 and saving the environment too - AEC News
Although Cambodia has escaped largely unscathed from the medical effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic the effects of lost jobs on household incomes is something else.

Activist ban ‘spurs forest crimes' - Phnom Penh Post
The activists complained they are barred from forest protection efforts and are being obstructed from carrying out patrols to protect illegal activity.

Environmental groups call for intervention in Prey Lang - Thyme Thyme
In a joint statement issued last week, more than 60 groups of monks, activists, community associations, and civil society organizations claimed that the two companies were still operating their timber operations.

Government to investigate illegal Mondulkiri land grabs - Phnom Penh Post
Minister of Interior Sar Kheng issued a directive last week establishing an inter-ministerial working group to study illegal forest land occupation and encroachment of protected areas in Mondulkiri province.


Survivors of Laos’ worst dam disaster still struggling two years later  - RFA
Two years after a dam collapse that caused Laos’ worst flooding in decades, many of the thousands of rural villagers who lost their homes and land in the disaster say they are still struggling to recover with inadequate support from the dam’s developers and the Lao government. (See also: A broken dam and broken promises: Laos doubles down on hydropower despite risks - ASEAN Today)


Myanmar govt proposes borrowing from ADB for key infrastructure - Myanmar Times
This includes the Bago-Kyaikhto highway, part of the Greater Mekong Sub-region East-West Economic Corridor, which links Vietnam through to Myanmar starting from Danang port, cutting across parts of Laos and Thailand, and ending at Thilawa port in Yangon.

The US-China feud spills into Myanmar - The Indian Awaaz
In an unusual and not normally seen in diplomatic circles was the open letter by United States Embassy in Myanmar openly accusing China of steadily eroding the sovereignty of the countries of ASEAN including Myanmar:  "China has had no environmental concerns for Myanmar. The Chinese exploitation of Letpadaung Copper Mines is one example," said the statement. (See also: How the erosion of sovereignty elsewhere impacts Myanmar at home - US Embassy in Burma)

Chinese investment in Myanmar: Beyond Myitsone Dam - The Diplomat
The dam project was not the only Chinese mega-project undergoing construction in Myanmar at that time. Two other multi-billion-dollar projects, namely, the Letpadaung copper mine project and the Sino-Myanmar oil and gas pipelines project, also encountered severe public opposition and pressure when Myanmar started its partial transition from military dictatorship to quasi-civilian semi-democracy.

‘One stone can change our lives’ - Vice 
For the informal miners struggling to pull themselves out of poverty, the risks, no matter how bad, are worth it.


Silent killer claiming thousands - Bangkok Post
A vicious cancer from liver fluke infection that infects 14,000 Thais annually could be eradicated if wastewater management and eating habits could be changed. 

Water reserves at 4 dams fall to 'critical' - Bangkok Post
If water reserves remain low next year, farmers along the Chao Phraya River basin (Thailand's rice bowl) will not be able to use water from the dams' irrigation systems for a second consecutive year. (See also: Masterplan to protect Phuket water - Bangkok Post)

Win-win solution for forests, people - Bangkok Post
The change resulting from switching the farming practices in Mae Chaem to chemical-free sustainable agroforestry comes with many dimensions.

ONWR approves more than 27,000 water projects - The Nation
The Office of National Water Resources (ONWR) has given the green light to more than 27,000 water development projects worth Bt100 billion.


Vietnam's lack of transparency on environmental issues is glaring - Vietnam Express
Even 15 years after ratification, the Vietnamese environmental law has never been imposed on corporations, leading to increasing pollution nationwide. (See also: Untreated solid waste illegally buried and burned - Vietnam News)

Will Vietnam’s new energy policy mark a turning point for coal? - China Dialogue
“What we see is that in many projects which face difficulties in mobilising finance, or if banks from other countries say no, Chinese banks are willing to jump in,” says GreenID.

Vietnam coal consumption growth among world’s fastest - Vietnam Express
The country consumed 2.07 exajoules of electricity from coal last year, up 30.2 percent year-on-year, according to the "BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2020" report by energy firm BP.

Northern Vietnam suffers longest heat wave in 49 years - Vietnam Express
The National Center for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting revealed the northern region had recorded 21 sweltering days in June with average temperatures 1.5-2.5 degrees Celsius higher than previous years.

Vietnam can cut pesticide use significantly without productivity loss: - Vietnam Express
An experiment in the Mekong Delta’s An Giang Province showed a reduction in the frequency of yearly pesticide use did not affect productivity.

Vietnam to step up battle against dirty air—will its measures go far enough? - EcoBusiness
New decree reportedly calls for sweeping changes in the transport and construction sectors as well as better monitoring of pollution levels and sources, involving efforts from the ministries of transport, construction and health. 

Vietnam needs US$10 bln a year for energy development - Vietnam Express
The government will amend laws on electricity, oil and gas as well as enact new regulations on renewable energy to develop specialized mechanisms encouraging investment in development of electricity generation and transmission systems.

MOU signed for 3.5 GW offshore wind project - Offshore Wind
The project, called La Gan, is estimated to be worth up to US$10 billion (approximately EUR 8.6 billion) and is one of the first large scale offshore wind projects in Vietnam.


Shifting sands: Concrete-hungry Singapore orders a million tonnes of aggregate from Australia - GCR
In the past, Singapore has sourced sand from Southeast Asian countries, but a UN report last year warned that unregulated sand mining in the Mekong basin was hurting habitats in Laos, Thailand and Cambodia.

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