Copy
View this email in your browser

NEWS DIGEST #201

October 31, 2018

Flippin' hard: Myanmar's sea turtles fight against the odds - Channel News Asia
Myanmar's waters boast five of the world's seven sea turtle species - all listed as vulnerable. Peril plagues the lives of Myanmar's baby turtles: if crabs don't get them before they scramble from beach to sea, then poachers or fishing trawlers might finish them off instead.
Report highlights Cambodia's land woes - Phnom Penh Post
Land disputes remain a chronic issue that has affected more than 20,000 families across the country, with some cases allegedly involving authorities who collude with traders or private firms to grab people’s land, a report released by the NGO Coalition of Cambodian Farmer Community (CCFC) says.
 
New climate change report highlights grave dangers for Vietnam - Mongabay
Vietnam was named among nine countries where at least 50 million people will be exposed to impacts of rising sea levels and more powerful storms, among other dangers. Research has found that Vietnam is also home to abundant renewable energy potential, which could help alleviate some of these threats.

 
Share
Tweet
Forward

MEKONG DEVELOPMENT

Hydropower dams of the Mekong River basin: a review of their hydrological impacts - Science Direct
To help manage tradeoffs between dam benefits (hydropower, irrigation, flood control, domestic water supply, and navigation) and their consequences to livelihoods and ecosystems, the study reviews observed and projected impacts on river flows along both the Mekong mainstream and its tributaries. Prior reviews of flow alteration in the Mekong basin have largely neglected impacts along tributaries, including diversions and inter-basin transfers. 

What’s in the first Vietnam-Laos-Cambodia trilateral border exchange? - The Diplomat
Though the event was just one among many developments within the management of border relations between these countries, its significance nonetheless bears noting within the context of both regional developments on that front as well as Vietnam’s own priorities in this respect.

Dam project killing dolphins, hurting fishing and tourism industries - RFA
Local authorities are utilizing legal loopholes to avoid adhering to regulations that would protect the biodiversity of the Mekong River.

CAMBODIA

Why Cambodia's poverty statistics dispute matters - The Diplomat
Hun Sen claims to have radically improved Cambodia's living standards, thus blind eyes should be turned as his regime becomes more repressive and dictatorial.

Challenges as Kingdom heads for Industry 4.0 - Phnom Penh Post
While it is becoming a new trend for Cambodians to prepare for international competition, economists say the country still has many challenges to adapt to.

Cambodian villagers say authorities failed to honor promises for flood relief - RFA
Nearly 100 families in two villages affected by flooding from the controversial Lower Sesan 2 hydropower mega-dam in northeastern Cambodia’s Stung Treng province said that authorities have failed to honor promises they made to rebuild submerged communities and provide much-needed supplies and services.

'After my release, I want to protect the environment even more' - VOA
In Cambodia, the large-scale, unchecked exploitation of natural resources such as land, timber and minerals has long had heavy impacts on the environment, and has prompted environmental activists and affected communities to campaign against the companies involved.

China pledges more investment in Cambodia’s coastal province - Phnom Penh Post
As China continues to invest in Preah Sihanouk province, despite fears raised by residents over the recent influx of its nationals, an official from the Asian giant on Monday said President Xi Jinping is pushing for further investment in the coastal area.

LAOS

Hydroelectric power in Laos: Economic security in energy-hungry South-East Asia - Future Directions
Studies have found that every country in the Greater Mekong region theoretically has access to energy sources that are 100 percent renewable. 

Laos: China is building, West is destroying and spreading Nihilism - Dissident Voices
It is, of course, much cheaper to blow the mountains down with explosives. But earlier this year, China engraved the “Ecological Civilization” into its Constitution, and what it preaches at home, it also implements abroad.

In Laos, a World Bank 'model' dam and the myth of sustainable hydropower - Devex
The community benefits attached to the Nam Theun 2 mega-dam were doomed from the start, experts who have researched the project told Devex.  

Dead in the water: Global lessons from the World Bank's model hydropower project in Laos (book review) - Water Alternatives
This book is about the the Nam Theun 2 Dam (NT2) in Laos. It explores how NT2 came to be built, and how it helped Laos break ground in attracting private finance for the build-own-operate dam schemes that are a feature of the country's hydropower development to the present day. In detailing the many socio-ecological and economic issues, the book makes the case that the NT2 has not kept the World Bank’s promises of poverty reduction and environmental sustainability.

“I feel helpless and useless” – struggles since Lao dam collapse - International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
Three months since the dam failure cut a path of destruction through 13 villages, many communities are finally able to move into government-built temporary housing.

Lao governor walks back projected costs for housing in flood-hit Attapeu - RFA
The governor of a province in Laos hit by flooding from a dam breach earlier this year has issued conflicting estimates of the projected cost to house displaced persons, giving figures deemed unnecessarily high by another official source and contradicting statements he himself had made earlier in an interview. (See also: Govt needs over 6 trillion kip for flood recovery - Vientiane Times)

Incentives needed to attract investment in special economic zones - Vientiane Times
The government has ordered action to further improve the business environment and offer additional incentives aimed at boosting investment in special and specific economic zones (SEZs) amid growing competition in neighbouring countries. A recent survey suggests that Cambodia, Myanmar and Thailand have also established SEZs and are offering greater incentives. 

MYANMAR

Business groups speak out against potential withdrawal of EU GSP - Myanmar Times
A statement co-signed by six European business groups has been addressed to the monitoring mission, arguing that withdrawing GSP “will undoubtedly have a detrimental impact on the most vulnerable people in Myanmar while also closing the door to the spread of European standards with regard to responsible business.”

UNDP new plan for sustainable development in Myanmar - Myanmar Times
The new country programme will be instrumental in shaping Myanmar’s future, including the general election in 2020. 

Myanmar draws up agricultural development master plan for Yangon region - Mizzima
The master plan includes 22 agricultural development projects under the government-private partnership and is designed to create more than 6,000 job opportunities.

India, Myanmar sign pact on Rakhine port projects - Myanmar Times
The statement said the MoU will enhance Myanmar’s connectivity with India and add to development of the region, particularly Rakhine and Chin states.

THAILAND

PM mulls Thai canal plan but army brooks no delay - Bangkok Post
According to Gen Thawatchai, a group of Chinese investors have reached a deal with the Thai Canal Authority to support the mega-project to bisect the Thai peninsula.

A comparative look at higher education: National capacity building in Thailand (opinion) - Bangkok Post
Despite the commodification of brand name education, we believe a comprehensive and concrete education at home, with educational opportunities across a global network, will do the most to incubate the next class of leading innovators in Thailand. A comparative look at the education systems in India and Germany offer insight into the higher education market and how universities in Thailand could support the goals of Thailand 4.0.

4 EEC projects worth B470bn get nod - Bangkok Post
The four EEC projects are: U-Tapao aviation city (290 billion baht), due to operate in 2023; a maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) centre (10.6 billion) set to open in 2022; the third phase of Laem Chabang seaport (114 billion) due to open in 2023; and the third phase of Map Ta Phut seaport (55.4 billion) due for launch in 2025. (See also - China to deepen EEC focus - The Nation)

Farmers worry over agrochemical control regulations - The Nation
The group, who support the free use of these three extremely poisonous farm chemicals, said the new control measures were too strong and impractical hence they should be lifted entirely or at the least their enforcement delayed.

Cabinet okays Bt31-bn for six water projects - The Nation 
They are to be implemented over the next six years. Among them are two major flood drainage tunnels for Bangkok. 

VIETNAM

Climate change sinks the delta, mindset worsens it - Vietnam Express
The sinking situation of the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta in the south of Vietnam—seen in the rising tides and worsening floods affecting the region—is obviously caused by climate change. But the mindset of planners that fostered the building of embankment systems around the delta decades ago has worsened today’s situation. (See also - How UK universities are building flood resilience in Vietnam and Peru - Environment Journal)

HSBC financing and Vietnam climate injustice - The Ecologist
Regardless of whether the short term viability of our shared climate is at stake, HSBC still has the reckless pursuit of profit as its driving motive devoid of the social and ecological context. (See also: Banks race to fund green energy projects - Vietnam News)

VN to scrap hydropower projects - Vietnam News
During the rainy season, water discharged from the plants along with flooding from upstream inundate a number of areas, causing landslides, sweeping away homes and bridges, and damaging roads.

Vietnam owns US$40 billion of coal capacity under construction and planned - Hanoi Times
As Vietnamese government's policy, market liberalisation and renewable technology advances play out across the country, owners of coal power stations in Vietnam risk losing up to US$11.7 billion in stranded asset.

Three Vietnamese fishing boats seized, 14 crew arrested in Gulf of Thailand - The Nation
A Royal Thai Navy patrol boat has seized three Vietnamese fishing vessels and arrested 14 crew members for illegally raking the seabed for sea cucumbers in the Gulf of Thailand. (See also: Vietnam strengthens efforts towards eliminating EC’s illegal fishing warning - Nhan Dan)

REGIONAL/GLOBAL CONTEXT

Wind, sun to strand US$60 billion of coal assets in Southeast Asia - Bloomberg
New solar plants may become less costly than operating existing coal projects by 2027 in Vietnam, 2028 in Indonesia and 2029 in the Philippines. As more of that cheaper solar and wind generation is added in those countries, coal plants will go idle more often and struggle to generate revenue needed to repay their loans, 

In pursuit of a paradigm shift in development - Khmer Times
Furthering a hub in Asia that contributes to the production of holistic knowledge on sustainable development is urgently needed to transform a non-people friendly development model.
The Mekong Eye's weekly News Digest curates news, commentary and resources on development, its environmental and social impacts, and the context affecting the Mekong region. We reach nearly 6000 key development professionals, government officials, business leaders and journalists. Submit stories, press releases, resources or feedback to: editor@mekongeye.com
 
Copyright © 2018, Internews, All rights reserved. Please share this email.