In recent decades the Mekong region has witnessed a rapid development of large-scale hydropower projects in the name of energy security, economic growth and sustainable development. Yet do these justifications outweigh the social and environmental costs, and are these justifications even genuine?
The Mekong Delta Study initiated by Government of Vietnam (2013-2015) aimed to look at the impacts of Mekong mainstream hydropower on Vietnam’s Mekong Delta that is the rice and fruit production centre for Vietnam. But the weak study process ignored local people’s concerns and has failed to protect the Mekong Delta and its communities.
The people of the Kampong Phluk community, a seasonally-flooded wetlands on the Tonle Sap Lake in Cambodia, are facing impacts on their culture and livelihood from recent changes in fisheries management and planned dams. Women in the community voice their perspectives and concerns.
Urbanization in the Mekong Region is transforming societies that were once dependent upon agricultural production. This article explores how some urban inhabitants have not fully let go of their rural traditions, raising the question can such wisdom bring a more sustainable lifestyle to urban areas?
Inside Lao PDR, the Mekong hydropower projects are presently being built in an atmosphere of fear where local communities cannot express critical opinions, ask questions or request information. This article explores why this repressive atmosphere means we will never really know what these affected local communities think or feel about the many dams being built for so-called “development” and “rural benefit”.
Vam Nao village in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam used to be known for its abundant fisheries. The construction of a large irrigation system ten years ago allowed villagers to plant 3 crops of rice per year. However, the results of villager-lead local knowledge research revealed that the scheme has seriously impacted the fisheries.
The Lower Sesan 2 hydropower dam in Cambodia will affect tens of thousands of people if built. This article shows how lessons have not been learned from past upstream dam construction in Vietnam, and the project will mainly reap profits for the dam developers, rather that result in “poverty reduction”.
The debate about the power of naming is long-running and contentious, engaging citizens and colonizers, academics and activists. “South” of China, “East” of India, Southeast Asia is a name that came primarily from people not native to these regions who instead imagined the region through acts of war and nation building.