The New Mekong: Changes and Expectations

On Thursday, October 29, 2015, stakeholders and experts on hydropower development and water resources in the Lower Mekong River Basin participated in a panel discussion entitled, “The New Mekong: Changes and Expectations.” Panelists included Mr. Trinh Le Nguyen (People and Nature Reconciliation), Mr. Nguyen Hong Toan (former Vietnam National Mekong Committee Secretary-General), Dr. Richard Cronin (The Stimson Center), Dr. Tran Viet Thai (Institute for Foreign Policy and Strategic Studies), and Mr. Jake Brunner (IUCN). A few key themes and topics were reiterated throughout the discussion:

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Changing Tides for a Common Future: The MRC and Hydro-Diplomacy

The Mekong River Commission (MRC), the only intergovernmental body mandated to sustainably manage and protect the Lower Mekong River, is on the brink of demise. While transboundary water governance has faced significant challenges in the region since the MRC was established in 1995, the Commission’s first real test came more recently with the start of the regional debate over plans to build a cascade of eleven mainstream dams on the Lower Mekong River. It was a test that the MRC has so far failed. The real question now, is will the MRC sink or swim? Just as the Mekong River ebbs and flows, can the MRC change the tide of decision-making to fit the urgent needs of a shared river basin where more than 60 million people are deeply dependent on the river functioning as it has for centuries: A key source of livelihoods, food security, and cultural identity?

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Green Talk: Comparing the Discourse on Climate Change and Sustainable Development between Environmental NGOs and the State in Vietnam and Bolivia

Environmental non-government organizations (ENGOs) and national governments are key players in the political sphere surrounding issues of climate change and sustainable development. The relationships between the discourse on “climate change” and “sustainable development” and ENGOs and the state in both Vietnam and Bolivia provides a critical look into the ways in which these issues are approached in two highly-vulnerable countries with different political regimes

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Mekong: Hydropower Up – Communities Down

A short video produced by PanNature, reflecting opinions and perspectives of different stakeholders, especially local people living in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, about hydropower dam projects on the mainstream Mekong.

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Dams vs. Airplanes

In August 2014, a 5.5 MW hydropower dam broke for the second time in Gia Lai Province. Luckily no one was killed. This isn’t the first time that dams have leaked or broken in Vietnam but what was striking was the fact that according to the article the construction company ignored basic safety consideration by building the dam in the wet season. As a result, the cement didn’t dry properly and couldn’t withstand the water pressure. After the dam failed for the first time in June 2013, the provincial government ordered the company to suspend construction. The company refused.

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Revised Environment Law Needs to Innovate Mechanisms for Public Pollution Lawsuits

Vietnam’s environment has faced accelerating pressures of degradation and pollution from development. Pollution not only affects the health, property and lives of citizens and the state, but is also a potential source of political and social unrest, causing civil protests to stop the acts of pollution. Therefore, clear litigation for citizen lawsuits to protect their rights and interests will be an essential solution and beneficial for citizens, the state, enterprises, and other parties.

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The Forest Asia Summit 2014: Small Rooms, So Much Heat!

Just for 2 days, 5-6th May 2014, the Forests Asia Summit held in Jakarta, Indonesia has waved many pressing issues in the sustainable development goals of the region.

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Vietnam’s Management of Forest Products: Such as Child Abandonment

If forests generally and forest products particularly are seen as a property; then its owners need at least balance between “protection” and “utilization”. However, in this reason, the management of the State of Vietnam on forests has not been to do so!

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The Real Barrier to Environmental Protection: Lessons from China

The Financial Times recently published an article entitled China: The road to reform. The first sentence reads: “For those who have to endure the toxic smog of northern China, it often comes as a surprise to learn that Chinese environmental laws and emissions regulations are some of the most stringent in the world.”

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Video: Introducing Nam Dam Community Tourism Site

Since 2012, Caritas Switzerland and PanNature with funding from Misereor have implemented the community-based tourism project in Nam Dam village. The objective of this project is to develop a model in Nam Dam as a pilot model of how community-based tourism can contribute towards the improvement of livelihoods of the local people while preserving their cultural and natural heritage.

For more information about Nam Dam, please contact:

Mr. Ly Dai Duyen (Homestay Owner)
Cell phone: 01647606917

Ms. Kim Dzung (CBT Project Officer)
Cell phone: 0974 308 950

People and Nature Reconciliation | Office: 24 H2, Khu do thi moi Yen Hoa
Yen Hoa quarter, Cau Giay district, Hanoi, Vietnam
Phone: ++844 3556-4001 | Fax: ++844 3556-8941 | Email: