More kinds of data are now available and accessible especially in developing countries. However, open accessibility and ease of sharing is not always possible in the countries of the Mekong region, where governments take care to guard data and information from reaching the public. Lan Nguyen explores the future of open data sharing in the Mekong region and the obstacles that remain in place.
From the Commons
One of the greatest impacts of dam construction in the Mekong Basin is on inland fisheries and the livelihoods of small-scale fishers. A fisher in the Mekong Delta talks about the plight of inland fishing livelihoods in An Phu district, An Giang province in Vietnam.
With Vietnam producing about 15 million tons of waste each year, both the increasing quantity and the changing composition of waste is posing a huge environmental challenge for municipal authorities and local communities in Vietnam. Truong Minh Chien writes about the need for more efficient waste management policies combined with raising public awareness to tackle the serious waste problem.
The Ou River, the longest tributary of the Mekong in the Lao PDR, is undergoing massive changes, with seven dams in various stages of construction already affecting the livelihoods of Khmu communities that have resided there for generations. Sabrina Gyorvary recently visited the area with a local guide and recounts her conversations with community members as they recollect their memories of living with the Ou River.
Known as a national treasure of Cambodia, the Prey Lang forest in Preah Vihear province serves as the main source of livelihoods for indigenous people and is an indispensable part of the country’s forest ecosystem. In the last few years, the forest has come under destruction from logging and large-scale plantations. Youth campaigns are supporting the local communities, who depend on the forest, in an ongoing struggle to protect the forest areas from being completely wiped away.
The Dawei Special Economic Zone (SEZ) project in Myanmar will establish large-scale industrial estates for export-led industrialization. Japan has recently expressed interest in investing in the Dawei SEZ. Japan’s economy has been built on this model of industrial development. This development model has caused enormous environmental and health impacts.
Minari Tsuchikawa questions whether it is appropriate for Japan to impose this type of “development” model on Myanmar rather than allow the people of Myanmar to find their own path of sustainable development.