Public Participation in Mekong Basin Development

This volume is comprised of writings from three classes of EarthRights Mekong School graduates. EarthRights International’s Mekong School is a training program for civil society advocates from the Mekong Region (Yunnan/China, Burma, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam) whose work focuses on human rights and the environment.

The authors whose work is featured in this volume represent a wide range of communities along the Mekong, from its origins on the Tibetan plateau to the Mekong Delta, where the river completes its 4,350 km journey and flows into the South China Sea.    Mekong School alumni speak a cumulative total of twenty-three regional languages (Brao, Burmese, Cambodian, Chinese, Jarai, Kavet, Khmer Krom, Khmu, Krueng, Lao, Lisu, Mon, Naxi, Palaung, Phu Thai, Pumi, Shan, Tai Lue, Tampuen, Thai, Tibetan, and Vietnamese), and are committed to the shared goal of strengthening environmental promotion and protection in the Mekong region.

The papers presented here take an in-depth look at the impacts of large-scale infrastructure projects, and how citizens are engaged in advocating for more equitable development in the Mekong region. In the first section, authors investigate community complaints regarding negative impacts from Asian Development Bank (ADB) and World Bank funded projects, and make recommendations to strengthen international financial institution safeguard policies. The second chapter examines the threats posed by the series of hydropower dams currently planned and under construction along the mainstream of the Mekong to migratory fish stocks, local livelihoods, and regional food security. The final chapter is a survey of problems related to resettlement in the wake of large dams, with a look at how civil society groups are advocating for policy reform.

It is hoped that the papers presented here will inspire further work towards greater public participation and transparency in development planning in the Mekong region.

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