The Khong-Loei-Chi-Mun project is the latest version of a long history of plans for large-scale irrigation in Northeastern Thailand. Visiting the area, Mai Lan hears how Thailand’s Royal Irrigation Department is pushing ahead with studies, as communities, NGOs, and downstream countries worry about the environmental and social impacts.
The first regional consultation for the Don Sahong hydropower dam in Laos produced more questions than answers. The dam threatens the region’s capture fisheries and will have high costs for local livelihoods. The authors explain why, as Laos embarks to become the energy hub for the Mekong Region, dams risk increasing rural poverty.
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.
In the Mekong Region, after decades of governments, donors, corporations, experts and others pursuing development, winners and losers have emerged. In this first “Commons Comment” editorial, we discuss the changing lives in the Mekong Region, new development trends, impacts on the commons, and why Mekong Commons was initiated.