Mekong Public Forum - The Mekong We Want

Tuesday, July 30, 2019 -
01:00 to 10:30

Overview

Mekong River is the world’s 12th longest river, most productive inland fishery and known as one of the most important rivers on earth because of its rich ecosystem and biodiversity. Indeed, it is home to more than 65 million people. The Mekong is a transboundary river in Southeast Asia, its originate flow from Tibetan Plateau, running through China, Myanmar, Lao PDR, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. To manage this shared water resources, Mekong River Commission was formed in 1995 to ensure sustainability of the river.

Hydropower dams have been one of the major threats to the Mekong River. China has built seven hydropower dams on the upper Mekong River (known as the Lancang in China) and plans to build 21 more. Similarly, Lower Mekong region also plan to build 11 dams on the Mekong mainstream and 120 dams on its tributaries by 2040. Align with an increasing trend in the region-China’s ambitious strategy to boost global trade, energy generation through large scale hydropower and coal projects have been presented as keys to supply dramatic industrial development and trade investments. These forms of large scale energy generation, mainly hydropower projects are posting harms to ecosystems and food supply chains, affecting livelihoods and food sources for downstream communities and often forcing affected communities to relocate.

Over six years, the Mekong River Commission (MRC) conducted a study on the sustainable development and management of the Mekong River, including impacts of mainstream hydropower projects—known as the Council Study. The study revealed that the planned dams on the Lower Mekong River and its tributaries will seriously threaten the region’s ecology, food security- local people’s access to sufficient nutritious food and economy.

The Council Study recommends that Mekong countries’ governments to seriously consider emerging energy technologies such as solar and wind as energy alternatives to Mekong-destructive dams. Indeed, a new report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) outlined that unsubsidized renewable energy is now most frequently the cheapest source of energy generation and it supports sustainable development.

Trending has been shown that there is a growing demand for economic development throughout the region requires massive energy supplies, align with the current increasing trend of investment on hydropower while its impacts are severe, StM will facilitate a public forum within objectives as below:

To exchange information and perspectives on existing challenges for the Mekong basin and collect alternatives responding the rising issues.

To provide space for community representatives from Lower Mekong basin countries to share their views on changes to the river ecosystems, impacts on their livelihoods and everyday life, as well as express their concerns and recommendations to policy-makers in the region.

To offer an opportunity for relevant institutions such as academia, scientists, and government agents responding to the voices of local communities and share their perspectives on impacts of climate change and hydropower development on the Mekong basin.

To identify energy alternatives, its challenges and rooms for improvement.

Agenda

8:30AM
Welcome remarks by Luy Rasmey, Director of Culture and Environment Preservation Association (CEPA)
Opening remarks by Mr. Biju Abraham, Acting Director of Oxfam in Cambodia
Forum opening

8:50AM

Mekong Situation Update: CSO and Community Perspectives
Mekong Update by Gary Lee, International Rivers
Community Voices Panel: Challenges and Solutions (3SPN)

10:30AM

Panelist: Mekong Challenges and Solutions
Speakers from govt, academia, private sector, donors

  • MRC representative
  • CNMC rep? TBC
  • Dr. Touch Bunthang, Acting Director of IFReDI
  • Mr. Ham Kimkong, Managing Director of E&A Consultant
  • Mr. Pich Sereywath, Wetland Specialist/Freelancer
  • EU in Cambodia representative

1:30PM
Panelist: Mekong Energy Futures

  • Ms. Nguy Thi Kanh, GreenID, VN
  • Ms. Jill Hepp, Sustainable Energy Advocacy Lead of WWF Cambodia
  • Solar Green Energy (Cambodia) Co., Ltd. representative
  • Q and A-30 min

3:15PM

Panel: Safeguarding Investments in the Mekong’s Future

  • Maureen Harris, International Rivers
  • Ms.Thi Dieu My, Director of Center for Social Research and Development (CSRD)
  • Mr. Pomun Teerapong, Mekong Community Institute (MCI)
  • Mr. Sam Sovann, Northeastern Rural Development (NRD), Cambodian representative

The Mekong We Want!
Advancing People’s Partnerships for Mekong’s Sustainability by CVS and CYN

Closing by Mr Tek Vannara, NGOF