Mekong Eye

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Cambodia

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Report: Economic, Environmental and Social Impacts of Hydropower Development in the Lower Mekong Basin

The Mekong River is the largest freshwater fishery in the world (estimated fish catch 2.1 to 2.5 million tons/year) and the third most bio-diverse river system (with approximately 800 fish species) after the Amazon and the Congo. However, this would change drastically if all proposed hydropower projects are constructed as fish migration routes would be blocked. This paper focuses on potential economic consequences and is based on the Costanza report which in turn used much of the data, assumptions and projections reported in BDP2 and SEA. The main differences between the Costanza report and BDP2 were the estimated fish value, valuation of ecosystem services and discount rates for natural capital such as capture fisheries and wetlands.

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Opinion

Mekong Region: Asia’s New Growth Center and Strategic Frontier

The Mekong countries of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam are emerging to be not only the new growth center but also a new strategic frontier in Asia. With a population of around 240 million and a combined GDP of $664 billion, the Mekong region has geopolitical significance and economic weight. It is located at the junction of the enormous emerging markets of Asia and their combined population of about 3.3 billion. Myanmar’s landmark election and the likelihood of a peaceful and smooth power transition have drawn more international attention and interest to the Mekong region as a whole. Myanmar is expected to be a key regional actor and now possibly a catalyst of regional peace, democracy, and development.

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Stop Sesan Dam, Locals Tell Gov’t

More than 90 percent of people affected by the $800 million Lower Sesan II hydroelectricity project want the government to halt construction of the dam and the area turned into one of the world’s largest eco-tourism reserves, a survey released yesterday by the NGO Forum found. One of the survey’s authors, Kem Ley, who is also a political analyst, said the compensation and resettlement process was inconsistent and lacked transparency and the whole project was undermined by the lack of community consultation from the beginning. “About 93 percent of those affected demand the government cancel the construction project because they don’t want to lose their culture and their burial and spiritual lands,” he said.

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Mekong: a river rising

The fate of 70 million people rests on what happens to the Mekong river. With world leaders meeting in Paris next week for crucial UN climate talks, John Vidal journeys down south-east Asia’s vast waterway - a place that encapsulates some of the dilemmas they must solve. He meets people struggling to deal with the impacts of climate change as well as the ecological havoc created by giant dams, deforestation, coastal erosion and fast-growing cities

read more at The Guardian »

ADB Supports Cambodia’s Push to Develop New Environmental Plan

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is supporting the Government of Cambodia to develop a National Environmental Strategy and Action Plan (NESAP) to help the country achieve its sustainable development goals. The NESAP will prioritize policy tools and financing options to ensure that environmental protection and sustainable natural resource management are pillars of economic development. The plan was introduced to senior officials from 17 ministries, as well as development partners, at an ADB-supported workshop held in Phnom Penh on November 2, according to ADB. “The NESAP is a strategy for all government ministries as well as the private sector, civil society, and development partners to integrate environmental concerns into economic policies and investments,” said Say Samal, Minister of Environment, in opening remarks at the start of the workshop. He added that all stakeholders would need to work closely together to achieve the NESAP aims.

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Interview

With Asean Integration Come More Threats to Natural Resources: NGO Forum

Asean integration will start at end of this year, opening the region to a free flow of goods and services across borders. But many analysts say Cambodia will have a difficult time integrating and benefiting from the cooperation. There are other downsides, as well. VOA Khmer recently spoke with Toek Vannara, director of the NGO Forum, to discuss the likely environmental problems Cambodia and other countries could face if they do not act to protect their natural resources.]

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Mekong Dams Could Halve Fish Stocks: Study

Fish stocks in the Mekong River in Cambodia and the Vietnamese Delta could be halved if 11 planned hydropower dams go ahead, according to the preliminary results of an extensive study funded by the Vietnamese government. Presented at a regional conference on water, food and energy in the Mekong River Basin, the study’s results are an in-depth look into what environmental groups and fisheries experts have been warning for years: that damming the Mekong extensively will have drastic impacts on one of the world’s most important aquatic ecosystems.

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Opinion

Why the Mekong River Commission May Be In Peril

The fallout from the Great Fall in financial markets, equities and currencies is ricocheting through the regional economy and beginning to exact a toll – initially among badly-run companies and poorly-managed government institutions.

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Cambodian mining digs itself out of a hole

Cambodia's long-dormant mining sector could finally be seeing some movement after years of aborted foreign-backed projects, as the government introduces wide-ranging reforms in an effort to turn around the country's economic fortunes. Crucial new mining legislation proposed by the government of Prime Minister Hun Sen is aimed at bringing the fledgling industry in line with international practices in order to attract investment and compete with other regional economies.

read more at Nikkei Asian Review »

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