Increasing seawater intrusion into the intricate system of rivers and streams in the Mekong Delta is affecting freshwater supplies and threatening its hugely productive rice and sugarcane fields and fruit and vegetable gardens.
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.
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.
Economic growth in Southeast Asia has bought jobs and increased state revenues, but also wrought labour rights violations, community dispossession of land and natural resources, and environmental degradation. Carl Middleton argues that economic reform starts with greater Corporate Accountability, including across borders.