Opinions

Open Letter from Save the Mekong Coalition to the developers of the Don Sahong Dam

The Save the Mekong Coalition has issued an Open Letter to the developers of the Don Sahong Dam to express our serious and ongoing concerns over the development of the project.

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Letters from the Mekong: A Call for Strategic Basin-Wide Energy Planning in Laos

This issue brief—the third in Stimson’s “Letters from the Mekong” series—continues to challenge the prevailing narrative that the current rapid pace of dam construction on the Mekong River in mainland Southeast Asia will continue until the entire river is turned into a series of reservoirs.

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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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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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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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Responsibility vs. Accountability

If you want to understand why Vietnam’s environmental problems are so intractable, read the article in the August 23, 2013 edition of Viet Nam News entitled Illegal wharves threaten environment.

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