AWARENESS: World Water Day [22 March]

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Today, we observe the World Water Day!

Convened by the UN-Water, it’s an observance day that highlights the importance of freshwater, and to advocate for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. The theme for 2019 is "Leaving no one behind" and encourages people to consider marginalized groups as these are often overlooked and discriminated against when they try to access safe water.

In CSDS, water is an integral topic that is discussed frequently under several of our working themes. Under Resource Politics, we highlights the issues of water governance and water security, with our project such as Water governance and access to water in Hakha Town, Chin State, Myanmar. Under Rethinking Regionalization, we highlights the issue of transboundary water governance through our project     Water governance and knowledge production on the Lancang-Mekong River. Meanwhile, under Human Rights, Human Security, and Justice, we questions the accountability of large hydropower construction on transboundary rivers through a rights-based approach with our project Transboundary Rivers: Arenas of Justice.

Most recently, we’ve also published a policy brief titled Reciprocal Transboundary Cooperation on the Lancang-Mekong River: Towards an Inclusive and Ecological Relationship which assessed emerging principles for transboundary water cooperation under the LMC, in particular the concept of reciprocity that expands upon the UN Water Courses Convention. It also assesses the role of the LMC vis-a-vis the Mekong River Commission in transboundary water governance.

Illustrations for the promotional materials of the 2019 World Water Day Campaign “Leaving no one behind.” Right to left: Water for all older people, Water for all refugees, Water for all rural people. Images: UN Water.

Illustrations for the promotional materials of the 2019 World Water Day Campaign “Leaving no one behind.” Right to left: Water for all older people, Water for all refugees, Water for all rural people. Images: UN Water.

For more information about the World Water Day and additional downloadable resources, please visit the official United Nations website.

IN THE NEWS: 'Powering Up Sustainable Energy for Asia'

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IN THE NEWS

By Sam Geall [Chatham House, 11 March 2019]

Asia’s cryosphere, the vast stores of frozen water in the high mountains that feed the rivers on which some 1.3 billion people depend, is warming far faster than average, an expert assessment warned recently, adding that two-thirds of Himalayan glaciers could disappear by the end of the century.

This and other warning signs make clear the need for a sustainable energy transition in Asia, not only given the urgency of mitigating climate change, but also because renewable energy technologies can help to provide cheap and reliable energy to areas where grid-based provision is unreliable or otherwise prohibited by geography or high costs.

A green transformation, if done right, can address poverty reduction goals and improve health and environmental quality. But achieving this requires rethinking many assumptions about the current system that generates and distributes electricity, and its interconnections with a genuinely sustainable society.

Read more at this link here.

This article was produced from the forum we co-organized with Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung e.V. and Chatham House on “Powering up Sustainable Development for Asia: The Future of Global and Regional Investment in Asia’s Energy Sector”, which was held in Chulalongkorn University, 25 January 2019. For more information about this forum, please visit the link here.

UPCOMING EVENT: "Why Money and Disequilibrium Matter to Economics" [Bangkok, 14 March 2019]

Public Lecture by Professor Steve Keen

Honorary Professor, University College London Institute for Strategy, Resilience & Security (UCL ISRS) Distinguished Research Fellow, Crowdfunded Professor of Economics on Patreon

Thursday 14 March 2018, 10.00 - 12.00 at Alumni Meeting Room, 12th Floor, Kasem Utthayanin Building (อาคารเกษม อุทยานิน), Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand (guide to the venue here)

Economist (or as he prefers, anti-economist) Steve Keen joins us to unveil the role of money in economics and how the idea of equilibrium leads us astray. He will also explain what it means to have become the crowdfunded Professor of Economics, and why most of the things many people, within and outside academia, believe about the world of economics, finance and business are simply wrong.

Awarded the Revere Prize for most accurately forecasting the Global Financial Crisis, Professor Keen remains the leading global expert on the role of money, finance and debt in the modern world, from Australia’s property bubble, through to the list of countries he describes as the Walking Dead of Debt.

He is currently working on his 'magnum opus', writing articles and publishing podcasts, including breakthrough work on the role of energy use in economic development, while also trying to debunk financial myths in the comic book format of ‘e-CON-comics’.

Discussants:

  • Emeritus Professor Dr. Suthiphand Chirathivat , Faculty of Economics, Chulalongkorn University

The event will start at 10 am, and the registration is open from 09.30 am.

For more information and to RSVP, please send an e-mail to communications.csds@gmail.com.

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IN THE NEWS: Review of "The water-food-energy nexus. Power, politics and Justice"

By François Molle [Water Alternatives, 2019]

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Although water-food-energy nexus thinking can hardly claim to be new wine, the growth of 'nexus literature' in the past ten years is remarkable. It has gained currency as a buzzword with the potential to convene water experts in global jamborees, to elicit books and special journal issues, and to challenge the long-established Integrated Water Resources Management concept as the new champion of integrative imperatives.

. . .

The book does a great job at showing how a water-energy-food nexus approach emphasises demand-led technological and market solutions, downplays supply-side limits, promotes a technical and supposedly apolitical treatment of trade-offs, and largely ignores the political dimensions that shape control over, and access to, resources. But even in its reductionist form of an optimising tool for cross-sectoral planning or business, the systemic complexity that the nexus seeks to address is baffling, and it is no wonder than in practice empirical work focuses on sub-nexuses using monetary metrics.

***

Carl Middleton of CSDS is the co-author of this book.

Read full article here
Buy the Book (coming soon)

AWARENESS: World Day of Social Justice [20 February]

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Today, we observe the UN World Day of Social Justice!

It was observed following the Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 26 November 2007, in which the General Assembly recognized the following key points related to social justice:

  1. Social development and social justice are indispensable for the achievement and maintenance of peace and security within and among nations and that, in turn, social development and social justice cannot be attained in the absence of peace and security or in the absence of respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms;

  2. Broad-based and sustained economic growth in the context of sustainable development is necessary to sustain social development and social justice;

  3. Globalization and interdependence are opening new opportunities through trade, investment and capital flows and advances in technology, including information technology, for the growth of the world economy and the development and improvement of living standards around the world, while at the same time there remain serious challenges, including serious financial crises, insecurity, poverty, exclusion and inequality within and among societies and considerable obstacles to further integration and full participation in the global economy for developing countries as well as some countries with economies in transition;

  4. There is a need to consolidate further the efforts of the international community in poverty eradication and in promoting full employment and decent work, gender equality and access to social well-being and justice for all.

In CSDS, Human Rights, Human Security, and Justice is one of our working themes. Our most recent project in this theme is Flooding disaster, people’s displacement and state response in Hat Yai, where we examine through a human rights lens whether the 'Hat Yai model' offers new insights and strategies. Last year, on 29 November 2018, we also hosted a workshop to discuss about disaster and displacement in Asia Pacific. The discussion is part of a ten-country study on a range of types of disaster and displacement scenarios understood through a human rights perspective. The overall study examines how state actors fulfill their obligations to prevent displacement, conduct evacuation, protect people during displacement, and facilitate durable solutions in the aftermath. The insights from the workshop can be read in our report: Disaster and Displacement - A Human Rights Perspective.

Other recent publications that focus on social justice include:

For more information about the World Day of Social Justice and additional downloadable resources, please visit the official United Nations website.

UPCOMING RESEARCH FORUM: "Powering up Sustainable Development for Asia: The Future of Global and Regional Investment in Asia’s Energy Sector" [Bangkok, 25 January 2019]

09.00 - 17.00, Friday, 25th January at Alumni Meeting Room, 12th Floor, Kasem Utthayanin Building (อาคารเกษม อุทยานิน), Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand

Co-organized by Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung e.V., Chatham House, and Center for Social Development Studies, Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University

Renewable energy technologies not only help to mitigate climate change by substituting for carbon-emitting fossil fuels, but also can expand energy security by avoiding exposure to the volatility of fossil fuel markets. Renewables can also help provide cheap and reliable energy to areas where grid-based provision is unreliable or otherwise prohibited by geography or high costs. The increased efficiency and renewable nature of such energy can improve energy availability, energy security and economic resilience.

Last year saw the second highest level of investment in global clean energy, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), at US$333.5 billion, despite falling technology costs. Globally, the solar sector in China dominated, with a total of $132.6 billion of investments – leading to over 50 GW of additional solar capacity. In regional terms Asia, largely China, continued to dominate the global landscape. According to the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), Chinese sustainable energy investment oversees has doubled in the last three years and now stands at $44 billion. 

The importance of the accelerated deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency is also reflected in UN Sustainable Development Goal 7: Affordable and Clean Energy, and it is a central goal for many countries in Asia. It is also increasingly an important focus for, and aspects of, countries’ and institutions investments in Asia.

China has put emphasis on the green ‘Belt and Road’ and 'South-South environmental cooperation', for example. In Myanmar, a Chinese government partnership with a Beijing-based environmental NGO pledged to provide US$2.9 million worth of solar panels and clean cook stoves. Leading Japanese companies are also looking overseas for opportunities in the renewable energy sector, including in India. Aid programs from a range of countries, including the US, Japan and Korea are also seeking to support sustainable energy transition.

Civil society groups and communities are also calling for – and working directly towards – an energy transformation across the region, including promoting decentralized electricity generation, energy efficiency, demand side management, and more participatory power planning processes. Countries across Asia also have a great deal of their own experience to draw on in promoting renewable energy that serves the needs of the poor.

The workshop aims to:

  • Assess the role of clean energy in Asia’s goal to develop sustainable energy that serves the needs of the poor;

  • Consider the place of renewables in overseas aid and investments strategies in Asia, including in China’s Belt and Road Initiative;

  • Address whether learning across different regional contexts on the implementation of cost-effective, reliable clean energy might bring benefits for clean energy development.

  • Create a network of interested experts who can develop further research proposal(s) and collaboration on these topics.

 Key outcomes of the events will be:

  • Sharing lessons on how clean energy enhances both energy security and climate change mitigation;

  • Enhanced understanding of the importance of Asian, and in particular Chinese, sustainable energy investment in the global market;

  • Examining how and where Asian countries can draw on both good and bad experiences of their own and other countries’ energy and development policy with regard to sustainable energy that serves the needs of the poor; and,

  • Develop plans for the creation of a network with an understanding of the opportunities for common research and activities.

Program and List of Panelists:


08.30 - 09.00  Registration

09.00 - 09.15  Welcome remarks 

  • Dr. Ake Tangsupvattana, Dean, Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University

  • Dr. Sam Geall, Chatham House

  • Dr Peter Hefele, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung

09.15 - 10.45  Panel 1: Trends and Emerging Opportunities

Chair: Dr. Carl Middleton, CSDS, Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University

  • “Energy Transition Pathways for the 2030 Agenda in Asia and the Pacific” by Hongpeng Liu, Energy Division, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific

  • “Energy Trading in Thailand” by David Martin, Power Ledger, Australia/Thailand

  • “A Power Sector Vision for the Greater Mekong Region“ by Shannon Siyao Wang, World Wildlife Fund

  • “Energy transformation and the role of civil society in Thailand” by Suphakit Nuntavorakarn, Healthy Public Policy Foundation, Thailand

10.45 - 11.15 Tea Break

11.15 - 12.45  Session 2: Aid and investment agendas supporting an energy transition

Chair: Dr. Champa Patel, Asia-Pacific Programme, Chatham House, London

  • “How EU development cooperation can support the energy transition” by Jerome Pons, Delegation of the European Union to Thailand

  • “Role of business and private actors in the process of low-carbon transformation in China” by Dr. Wei Shen, Institute of Development Studies, Brighton, United Kingdom

  • ‘'Climate finance and the sustainable energy transition in Asia” by Yossef Zahar, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)/IGES

12.45 - 13.45 Lunch

13.45 - 15.15 Session 3: Enhancing Energy Sector Investments in Asia: Assessment and Inclusive Decision Making

Chair: Ellen Kelly, Department for International Development (DFID), UK

  • “Transforming Southeast Asia’s electricity sector through Impact Assessment” by Dr. Decharut Sukkumnoed, Faculty of Economics, Kasetsart University

  • “Towards Strengthening Environmental and Social Safeguards in Southeast Asia” by Matthew Baird, Asian Research Institute for Environmental Law and Visiting Scholar, Vermont Law School

  • “Environmental Assessment in Energy Projects in Myanmar: Civil societies experience and recommendations” by Pyi Pyi Thant, Heinrich Böll Stiftung

15.15 - 15.45 Tea Break

15.45 - 17.15 The Way Ahead: Realizing opportunities for sustainable electricity transformation

Chair: Dr. Jakkrit Sangkhamanee, Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University

  • “Hydropower vs other renewables in the Greater Mekong region: Ensuring the resilience of Asian Deltas” by Marc Goichot, World Wildlife Foundation

  • “Green Jobs and Energy Transition in Southeast Asia” by Chariya Senpong, Climate and Energy Campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia

  • “Lessons learned from China’s solar boom, and implications for Asia” by Dr. Sam Geall, Chatham House

  • “Off-grid solutions in rural Myanmar: Innovation in technology and approach” by Nathalie Risteau, Yoma Mandalay

17.15 - 17.30 Wrap-up and Closing Remarks

  • Dr. Champa Patel, Asia-Pacific Programme, Chatham House, London

  • Dr. Carl Middleton, CSDS, Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University

To register for this forum, please e-mail us your name, organisation, and position to  Anisa Widyasari (CSDS) at communications.csds@gmail.com. The seat is limited and registration will be accepted on first come first served basis. 

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UPCOMING PANEL DISCUSSION: "Meeting the Challenge of Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Transformation in Asia" [Bangkok, 24 January 2019]

19.00 - 21.00, Thursday, 24th January at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand (FCCT), Penthouse, Maneeya Center, 518/5 Ploenchit Road, Patumwan, Bangkok, Thailand

Co-organized by Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung e.V., Chatham House, and Center for Social Development Studies, Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University

Scientific warnings on climate change are more urgent than ever, but global talks lack ambition. Meanwhile, renewable energy industries are booming, and China claims it is building a green "Belt and Road". Is it enough? Can Asia power up a sustainable transition?

Panel Discussion

  • “Geopolitics of energy in Europe and Asia” by Dr. Peter Hefele, Director, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung RECAP, Hongkong/PR China

  • “Global climate politics and China” by Dr. Sam Geall, Chatham House and chinadialogue, London/UK

  • “China’s renewable energy transformation and its global effects” by Dr. Wei Shen, Institute of Development Studies, Brighton/UK

  • “Thailand’s electricity future: Prospects, Opportunities and Challenges” by Suphakit Nunavorakarn, Healthy Public Policy Foundation, Thailand

Chair: Dr. Champa Patel, Head of the Asia-Pacific Programme, Chatham House, London, United Kingdom

For inquiries about this event, please contact us at communications.csds@gmail.com

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UPCOMING INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE:"Sophia Symposium - Global Water Security and the SDGs: Japan’s Role at Home and Abroad" [Tokyo, 9 January 2019]

Sophia Symposium Global Water Security and the SDGs: Japan’s Role at Home and Abroad

Sophia University, Tokyo, Japan, January 9, 2019

Carl Middleton from CSDS and Wipawadee Panyangnoi, recipient of Center of Excellence in Resource Politics for Social Development: Student Research Grants 2018, will be presenting on this event. These presentations build on our collaboration with Dr. Takeshi Ito of Sophia University on Connecting Thailand’s and Japan’s water security.

First Panel: Water security in the context of East Asian Regional Economic integration (11:10am-12:40pm)

  • Future Directions on Global Water Security and the Role of Virtual Water Trade, Jaap Feil (Water Footprint Network)

  • Are River Basin Closures in Japan and Thailand Teleconnected: A Relational Political Economy of International Aid, Investment and (Virtual Water) Trade, Takeshi Ito (Sophia University) and Carl Middleton (Chulalongkorn University)

Third Panel: Regional Dynamics of Virtual Water Trade in Asia: A political economic turn in water security? (3:45-5:15pm)

  • Cross-boundary Practices on Water Governance in Asia: How Can We Secure ‘Our Water' in and Beyond Boundaries?, Kenji Otsuka (JETRO-IDE)

  • Industrialization and Water Quality in Rayong Province, Thailand: Are International, National and Local Water Management Strategies Complimentary or Contesting, Wipawadee Panyangnoi (Chulalongkorn University)

See the full final program here.

For more information about this event, please contact Takeshi Ito at takeshi.ito@sophia.ac.jp

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UPCOMING INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE SESSION: "Cooperation on the Lancang-Mekong: civil society perspectives on transboundary water governance and investment [Yangon, 6 December 2018]"

Session organized for 2018 Greater Mekong Forum on Water, Food, and Energy

13:30 - 15:30, 6 December 2018, Session Room 2 (Session 35), Myanmar Inya Lake Hotel, Yangon

The institutional landscape for transboundary water governance and investment in the Lancang-Mekong basin is changing. A key factor is the growing role of the Lancang Mekong Cooperation framework (LMC) and its links to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and broader engagement in the region. The emergence of new institutions such as the LMC brings opportunities for strengthened cooperation. This includes, for example, cooperation between upper and lower Mekong basin countries and stakeholders on transboundary water governance and standards for cross-border investments under the LMC and BRI. However, to date, limited information is available to understand how new platforms for cooperation will build on existing institutions in the lower Mekong basin, such as the Mekong River Commission, or how they will engage with community and civil society stakeholders.

This session will explore civil society and community perspectives on transboundary water governance and investment in the Lancang-Mekong River basin. The aim is to share experiences from a history of engagement with existing institutions in the lower Mekong, as well as with investors and developers, in order to draw lessons for emerging institutions and prompt dialogue on ways forward for public participation.

The session will be structured to include a civil society and community panel comprised of representatives from lower Mekong countries, together with commentary from an academic and international NGO perspective.

Session speakers:

  • Mr Niwat Roykaew, Rak Chiang Khong Group (Thailand)

  • Ms Ormbun Thipsuna, Network of Thai People in Eight Mekong Provinces (Thailand)

  • Mr Leang Bunleap, 3S Rivers Protection Network (Cambodia)

  • Ms Van Nguyen Thi Hong, Vietnam Rivers Network

  • Dr Carl Middleton, CSDS, Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University

  • Ms Maureen Harris, International Rivers 

Conference details are available here.

This session is organized by International Rivers and Save the Mekong coalition

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UPCOMING PUBLIC SEMINAR: "Resource Politics and the Public Sphere In Southeast Asia: Deliberation, Accountability and Alternatives" [Bangkok, 13 December 2018]

09.00 - 17.00, Thursday, 13th December at Alumni Meeting Room, 12th Floor, Kasem Utthayanin Building (อาคารเกษม อุทยานิน), Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand

Co-organized by the Center for Social Development Studies (CSDS), Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University, the Foundation for Community Educational Media (FCEM), and Heinrich Boell Stiftung (HBS) Southeast Asia Office

In Southeast Asia, access to resources, ranging from land and water, to clean air and energy, are central to livelihoods and wellbeing. The distribution of access to resources reflect state policies and societal values, as well as the inclusiveness and accountability of decision-making processes that link them together and result in their translation into practice. The public sphere is the arena where state policies and societal values interact and are debated, including on potentially contested issues such as access to resources. It includes public venues, and via the mass media and social media.

Civil, political and media freedoms are necessary for a vibrant public sphere, but they are increasingly challenged in Southeast Asia, and in practice accountability occurs only in part. Opportunities to utilize the public sphere for accountability and exploring alternatives vary across Southeast Asia due to diverse political and legal systems. It is important to reflect on the implications of these trends, and explore established and new opportunities to maintain an active public sphere for deliberating public policies and societal values, ensuring accountable decision-making and debating alternative development visions.

This public forum invites civil society, academics, journalists, lawyers, state officials and others to discuss the trends, opportunities and challenges of the public sphere for ensuring fair resource politics in Southeast Asia. Panelists will provide a range of case studies and analysis from across Southeast Asia in relation to resource politics and the public sphere, including: the role of civil society, government and corporations; an evaluation of the opportunities and challenges in local, national and transnational laws and policies; and the role of mass media and social media.

For the presentations and live video feed from this public forum, please click here.

For our blog about this event, please click here.

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CSDS News: Center of Excellence in Resource Politics for Social Development: Student Research Grants 2018

Congratulations to 6 MAIDS and GRID students on being awarded research grants by the CSDS Center of Excellence on Resource Politics for Social Development.

We’ve created a new page for the recipients of these grants, which can be viewed here.

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The Center of Excellence in Resource Politics for Social Development in the Center for Social Development Studies (CSDS) offers research grants and mentoring to MA and PhD students studying on the MAIDS and GRID programs of the Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University. The goal of the research grant program is to support young researchers to undertake studies on resource politics for social development and to publish their work in academic journals. Funding is kindly provided by Chulalongkorn University’s financial support for the Center of Excellence.

IN THE NEWS: 'Why the Mekong matters'

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IN THE NEWS:

By Sam Geall [The Third Pole, 1 November 2018]

The countries of the Mekong should build a “community of shared future”, said China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi, in December last year. The Lancang-Mekong Cooperative Framework (LMC) is “practical and highly effective”, he said. “We do not go after a high-profile ‘talk shop’, but a down-to-earth ‘bulldozer’”.

China has managed to cement its influence over the transboundary river in recent years, in a move that has important implications for the riverine environment and the people that rely on its resources. Its primary vehicle, or “bulldozer”, the LMC, will drive dam and development projects, special economic zones and trade.

It also illustrates China’s changing approaches to Southeast Asia – the central topic addressed recently in a policy forum The Third Pole and chinadialogue co-organised with the Centre for Social Development Studies (CSDS) and the Faculty of Political Science at Chulalongkorn University, in Bangkok.

Read more at this link here

UPCOMING INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE SESSION: "Sustainable Transboundary Governance of the Environmental Commons in Southeast Asia" [Singapore, 1-2 November 2018]

Sustainable Transboundary Governance of the Environmental Commons in Southeast Asia is a workshop organised by the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore. This multi-disciplinary workshop will explore key issues in sustainable development with particular reference to the ecological commons in Southeast Asia from a transboundary governance perspective.

For more details about the workshop, please visit this link.

Panel 7 - Transborder Governance Frameworks

15:30 - 16.30, November 2, AS8 Level 4, Seminar Room 04-04, National University of Singapore, Singapore

How East Asian Regional Economic Integration Teleconnects and Transforms Wetland Commons and Community Vulnerability in Japan and Thailand

  • Carl Middleton, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand

  • Takeshi Ito, Sophia University, Japan

Global and regional economic integration teleconnect distant places not only economically but also ecologically. Japan is a key exporter of capital and aid provider to Southeast Asia, catalyzing industrialization and new flows of trade and investment. Whilst much emphasis has been placed by governments and transnational corporations on the economic benefits of regionalization, research has also revealed impacts to local environments including enclosure of commons and differentiated changes for communities’ vulnerabilities

For more details on this session, please take a look at the abstract here.

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UPCOMING FORUM SESSION: "YouthQuake - Bangkok Forum 2018" [Bangkok 24-25 October 2018]

The Bangkok Forum “Future Sustainable Asia” is an integrative knowledge platform, a new initiative launched in 2018 by Chulalongkorn University with the support from Korea Foundation for Advanced Studies (KFAS). CSDS has been involved in the Bangkok Forum 2018 to help organize the “YouthQuake” event

For more information about this initiative, please visit this link.

YouthQuake

16:30 - 17:30, October 24, Music Hall, Art & Culture Building, Chulalongkorn University

It is a certainty that the youth are the future of society. The experience of the youth in contemporary society is a very different experience to that of older generations. New challenges and opportunities exist for today’s youth, who experience perhaps most directly the rapid changes that society is undergoing. In a world where new perspectives are urgently needed, the youth have an important contribution to make. Furthermore, for a sustainable future, intergenerational dialogue and knowledge sharing is also increasingly an apparent necessity. In the “Youthquake” session, we will stimulate debate and share perspectives of the youth on their priorities for a sustainable future. Overall, the session will explore the key role of both youth and education institutions in building a sustainable society, share innovative approaches, and propose key priorities.

Moderator: Dr. Carl Middleton, Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University

16:30 – 16:35 Introduction to the panel and the panelists (Dr. Carl Middleton)

16:35 – 16:45 Introduce and show “Chula Youthquake” film (synopsis) (Dr. Pasicha Chaikaew, Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University; and Dr. Supawan Visetnoi, Chulalongkorn University School of Agricultural Resources)

16:45 – 17:15 Panel discussion

  • Paulista Surjadi, Communication Director, Kota Kita, Indonesia

  • Sawang Srisom, Secretary for Transportation for All (T4A)

  • Chanthalangsy Sisouvanh, Founder and Executive Director, Rural Development Agency, Laos

17:15 – 17:25 Q&A

17:25 – 17:30 Wrap-up (Dr. Carl Middleton)

For more details about the YouthQuake, please visit this link.

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IN THE NEWS: "Review of “Dead in the water: global lessons from the World Bank's model hydropower project in Laos”"

By Rajesh Daniel [Water Alternatives, 2018]

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In July 2018, the massive dam break of the Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy dam in Laos killed more than 30 people in Laos and left thousands of people homeless in both Laos and Cambodia. The US$1 billion Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy dam was a "build-operate-transfer" project much like the Nam Theun 2 (NT2) dam.

. . .

This book provides a fascinating account of how, with the NT2, the World Bank and the GoL took the first steps on the dam-building program that has brought us to where we are now: more than 72 new large dams, 12 of which are under construction and 25 in advanced planning stages in Laos, many involving private-public partnerships.

****

Carl Middleton of CSDS contributed the chapter “Branding Dams: Nam Theun 2 and its Role in Producing the Discourse of “Sustainable Hydropower”” to the book (see here)

Buy the Book: Dead in the water: global lessons from the World Bank's model hydropower project in Laos (University of Wisconsin Press, 2018)

Read full article here.

UPCOMING EVENT: Book Launch 'Dead in the Water: Global Lessons from the World Bank's Model Hydropower Project in Laos' [Bangkok, 19 October 2018]

Friday 19 October 2018, 10.00 - 12.00 at Alumni Meeting Room, 12th floor, Building 3, Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand

Moderated by Kasira Cheeppensook (Center for Social Development Studies, Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University)

Panelists:

This event will be broadcasted on Facebook Live: www.facebook.com/CSDSChula/

To register for this event, please e-mail us your name, organisation, and position to  Anisa Widyasari (CSDS) at communications.csds@gmail.com. The seat is limited and registration will be accepted on first come first served basis.

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UPCOMING INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE SESSION: "Enclosing the Urban Commons: “Eco-Connected” Processes of Wetland Transformation in Tokyo and Bangkok" [Washington, 5 October 2018]

Session organized for the Celebrating Commons Scholarship Conference

15:15-16:45, 5 October 2018, Breakout Room #3 (Hotung 6006), Georgetown Law Center Washington DC


Paper presented:

Enclosing the Urban Commons: “Eco-Connected” Processes of Wetland Transformation in Tokyo and Bangkok

Takeshi Ito, Faculty of Liberal Arts and Graduate School of Global Studies, Sophia University (takeshi.ito@sophia.ac.jp)

Carl Middleton, Center for Social Development Studies, Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University (Carl.Chulalongkorn@gmail.com)

Abstract

Global and regional economic integration “eco-connect” distant places not only economically but also ecologically. In East Asia, regional economic integration accelerated since the 1980s. Japan became a key exporter of capital to Southeast Asia, catalyzing a rapid industrialization and new flows of trade and investment. Whilst much emphasis has been placed by governments and transnational corporations on the economic benefits of regionalization, many researchers and civil society groups have also revealed significant impacts to local environments including enclosure of commons, and differentiated changes for communities’ economic, social and environmental vulnerabilities in both positive and negative ways.

In this paper, we detail how economic and environmental processes “eco-connect” together and have transformed the social-ecological functions, spaces and commons of two urban wetlands near Tokyo and Bangkok. By taking a longue duree approach to environmental change, we show that the two wetlands are distant yet connected, mediated by economic and virtual resource flows. In Japan, the area today called Watarase wetland was home to a rural village. Located on the floodplain of the Watarase river, rice farming provided an important livelihood for some 2,500 villagers. In the late nineteenth century, however, the village was heavily affected by pollution through the river from copper mining near Ashio. Faced with fierce protests in the village as well as Tokyo, in 1902 the Japanese government decided to transform the entire village into a reservoir to dilute mineral poison. Within a time span of a century, Japan’s economy underwent a cycle of industrialization and deindustrialization while the reservoir was constructed as a lush wetland protected under the Ramsar convention. In Thailand, Bang Kasii in Samut Prakarn Province that thirty years ago was a fishing and farming community has since transformed into a peri-urban area of Bangkok containing a mixture of residential areas, industrial zones and fishing/farming activity. The factories, many of which are investments from Japan since the 1980s, have provided employment for some, including many migrants into the community, and supported secondary industries; at the same time, transforming land use has enclosed wetlands, and previous fishing livelihoods lost due to water quality degradation due to industrial pollution.

We build upon literature on teleconnected processes (Adger et al. 2008; Robbins, 2014) to analyze how economic trade and virtual resource flows connect together these two distant locations in Thailand and Japan, including in terms of industrial development, environmental change, resource availability, access and use, and water (in)security. We find that in Japan, deindustrialization has been an opportunity for furthering environmental protection as well as water security, but has also increased economic vulnerability for industrial workers as jobs moved overseas. In Thailand, whilst economic growth has reduced vulnerability for some, environmental degradation and pollution, and loss of access to resources such as water, fisheries, forests and land has also increased vulnerability for many others. Overall, we argue that it is necessary to render visible how distant places are eco-connected in order to build social momentum towards challenging and transforming existing regional economic integration models towards one that is more just and sustainable.


Conference details are available here.

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UPCOMING EVENT: "FUTURE LITERACY in a Disruptive and Unequal World: Implications for ASEAN" [Bangkok, 30 August 2018]"

Public Lecture by Prof. Riel Miller

Thursday 30 August 2018, 14.30 - 16.00 at Malai Meeting Room, 12th floor, Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand

For thirty years Prof. Miller has been co-creating innovation, leadership and transformation in both the public and private sectors around the world. He is one of the worldʼs leading strategic foresight designers and practitioners. Currently Prof. Miller holds the position of Head of Futures Literacy at UNESCO in Paris. Previously he has worked as Head of Foresight at UNESCO, a senior manager in the Ontario public services, and for some thirteen years in total at the OECD in Paris.

Moderator:

Prof. Surichai Wun’gaeo, Chair, Global and Regional Studies Program, Chulalongkorn University

Discussants:

  • Dr. Victor Karunan, MAIDS-GRID program, Chulalongkorn University
  • Dr. Carl Middleton, Center for Social Development Studies, Chulalongkorn University
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UPCOMING PUBLIC SEMINAR: "Understanding the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Framework and China’s role in the Mekong Region" [Bangkok, 3 September 2018]

09.00 - 17.00, Monday, 3rd September at Alumni Meeting Room, 12th Floor, Kasem Utthayanin Building (อาคารเกษม อุทยานิน), Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand

Co-organized by chinadialogue, The Third Pole, Earth Journalism Network, and the Centre for Social Development Studies, Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok

The Mekong region is facing a period of rapid change shaped by a significant shift over the past decade in its relationship with China. New pathways of regional integration and intergovernmental cooperation have emerged, including through the Belt and Road Initiative and the Lancang Mekong Cooperation Framework. Associated with these shifts have been deepening trade between China and the Mekong Region, and growing flows of investment from China into a range of projects including large dams, railways, and industrial projects. Whilst these trends reflect a geo-economic shift, longstanding challenges on environmental sustainability, social equity, government-investor accountability to the public and public participation remain. Inevitably it seems, China, as a powerful country, will play a key role in shaping the future path of the Mekong Region.

This public forum will bring together experts and journalists from China and lower Mekong countries to discuss the geopolitical implications of Chinese investment and regional initiatives in the Mekong Region. It will address the Belt and Road Initiative; the challenges and opportunities in transboundary water governance under the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Framework, together with other emerging cooperation issues; and debate by regional journalists about the trends, challenges and successes for Southeast Asia’s media on reporting on China’s role in the Mekong Region.

 

Program and List of Panelists:

08.15 - 09.00  Registration

09.00 - 09.15  Welcome remarks by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ake Tangsupvattana, Dean of Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University

09.15 - 10.45  Session 1: The Belt and Road Initiative:  Geopolitical implications for Asia

Moderator: Asst. Prof. Dr. Carl Middleton, Center for Social Development Studies, Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University

  • 'Geopolitics and Geoeconomics of the Belt and Road Initiative' by Dr. Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Institute of Security and International Studies (ISIS), Chulalongkorn University

  • 'The Belt and Road Initiative: A Perspective from China' by Mr. Li Hong,Permanent Mission of the People's Republic of China to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (UNESCAP)

  • 'What does the Belt and Road Initiative mean for US-Thailand relations?' by Benjamin Zawacki, Independent Analyst

  • 'Debt Diplomacy?: The experience of Sri Lanka' by Amantha Perera, Journalist

10.45 - 11.15  Coffee break

11.15 - 12.45  Session 2: Transboundary Water Cooperation – Progress and Challenges

Moderator: Dr. Ukrist Pathmanand, Mekong Research Center, Institute of Asian Studies, Chulalongkorn University  

12.45 - 13.30  Lunch

13.30 - 14.45  Session 3: Rise of the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Framework: Emerging cooperation issues

Moderator: Kamol Sukin, China Dialogue

14.45 - 15.15  Coffee Break

15.15 - 16.45  Session 4: Reporting on the Mekong and China’s role: Trends, challenges and successes for Southeast Asia’s media

Moderator: Sim Kok Eng Amy, Earth Journalism Network

16.45 - 17.00  Closing Reflections

  • Dr. Sam Geall, China Dialogue

  • Professor Surichai Wun’gaeo, Center for Peace and Conflict Studies, Chulalongkorn University

 

*This event will be broadcasted on Facebook Live: www.facebook.com/CSDSChula/

 

To register for this forum, please e-mail us your name, organisation, and position to  Anisa Widyasari (CSDS) at communications.csds@gmail.com. The seat is limited and registration will be accepted on first come first served basis.

 
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UPCOMING INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE SESSION: "ASEAS Conference: Southeast Asia Meets Global Challenges" [Leeds, 5-7 September 2018]

 

ASEAS (Association of Southeast Asian Studies) facilitates cooperation between scholars, institutions and research programmes in Southeast Asian studies both within the UK and with other countries.

The Association was established in 1969 and has members from dozens of different universities and over 15 countries, including academics, postgraduate researchers and others who are just interested in Southeast Asia.

 

15:30-17:30, 5 September 2018, PGG 4, University of Leeds

How to Rule with an Iron Fist: Legitimating Authoritarianism in Southeast Asia
Convenor: Erwin S. Fernandez, House of Pangasinan Studies

Authoritarianism has been a political feature of many governments in Southeast Asia. After World War II the region undertook decolonization and these countries, one after the other, gained independence. ’Strongman rule’ reigned in the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore while brutal military dictatorships ruled in Burma and Thailand. In former Indochina, communist regimes swayed in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. In recent years, authoritarian longing and lure have pervaded the atmosphere in some Southeast Asian countries even in countries that transitioned to democracy. In order to legitimate their authoritarian rule, state elites have used a variety of ways to justify their regimes.

This panel seeks to understand and examine the ideologies, mechanisms, means and processes – or the Althusserian ideological state apparatuses – that state actors in Southeast Asia deploy to rationalize and perpetuate their either one-man or one-party rule.

Panelists:

  • 'Martial Law and the Filipino Intellectuals: Defending and Justifying the New Order' by Erwin S Fernandez
  • 'Recalling hydraulic despotism: Hun Sen’s Cambodia and the re-emergence of staunch authoritarianism' by David J.H. Blake
  • 'Political trust in authoritarian settings: Forms, functions, and roles in governance' by Kasira Cheeppensook (CSDS)
  • 'How an authoritarian regime crafted good women: the case of women volunteers in Indonesia' by Vita Febriany
  • 'Political Learning and Military Rule in Thailand: From the 'Wasted' 2006 Coup to the NCPO Regime' by Panuwat Panduprasert
 

15:30-17:30, 5 September 2018, SED 5, University of Leeds

Beyond Water Terror: Everyday Life, Labour and Mobility amidst Southeast Asia’s Changing Hydrology
Convenor: Dr Laurie Parsons, Department of Geography, Royal Holloway University of London

As the likelihood of conflicts over water increases, global scholarship is increasingly attentive to the politics of this vital resource. Parts of the world are growing drier in the face of climate change and population growth, leading the threat of terror and war to become heightened in those areas where states compete most strongly for scarce resources. Elsewhere, more than three billion people are threatened by catastrophic flooding with the potential to fuel existing armed conflicts. Indeed, so seriously are world leaders taking the issue, that water crises were ranked as one of the five greatest threats facing the world at the 2018 World Economic Forum.

Yet this narrative of international conflict masks a more pernicious reality. Currently, two thirds of the global population lack adequate water supplies at least one month per year and half a billion face severe water scarcity all year round. At the same time, others face an opposite threat, as changing rainfall patterns lead inland flooding to become more intense and less predictable, leading to shifting livelihoods, migration and poverty.

The struggles that arise show that water conflict is not confined to the scale of nations, but acts also as an everyday axis of inequality, intertwined in social and economic systems. As Southeast Asian nations face water growing water shortages, this ticking time bomb is driving ever more people into precarious labour, bondage, and modern slavery across the region. This panel seeks to explore this nexus, exploring how the everyday politics of water are becoming embedded in the life and labour of the region.

Panelists:

  • 'The Spatial Politics of Water in Cambodia: Marginality, Precarity, Power' by Laurie Parsons
  • 'Developing mobile political ecology in Southeast Asia: insights from flood contexts' by Carl Middleton (CSDS) & Rebecca Elmhirst
  • 'The Everyday Politics of Hydrological Engineering and the Geography of Death Under the Khmer Rouge' by James A. Tyner
  • 'Shaping the Water and Grabbing the Land: The Elite Land Grabbing in Cambodian Urban Poor Communities' by Sopheak Chann
  • 'Livelihood as a Measure of Vulnerability in the Wake of Typhoon Yolanda' by Pauline Eadie
 

11:00-12:30, 6 September 2018, PGG 1, University of Leeds

Is There a ‘Leeds School’ of Southeast Asian Political Studies? - Thailand: Politics And Public Policy
Convenor: Professor Duncan McCargo, School of Politics and International Studies, University of Leeds

Over the past quarter century, more than 25 students have successfully completed Leeds PhDs  on  different  aspects  over  Southeast  Asia’s  politics,  international  relations  and development. Many of these theses were co-supervised or internally examined by Duncan McCargo, David Beetham, Ricardo Blaug, Gordon Crawford, Joern Dosch, Caroline Dyer, Hugh Dyer, Christine Harlen, Mike Parnwell, Ruth Pearson, Adam Tyson and Polly Wilding. This panel asks whether these doctoral theses, along with subsequent publications by their authors, work done by Leeds academics, and work published by students who studied for MAs at Leeds before pursuing doctorates elsewhere, amount to a ‘Leeds School’ of Southeast Asian political studies? Arguably, the Leeds School is characterised by an emphasis on empirical fieldwork, the use of qualitative methods including ethnographic approaches, and an emphasis on developing clear, comparative concepts rather than theorising for its own sake.

Panelists:

  • 'Thailand’s Authoritarianism' by Naruemon Thabchumpon (CSDS)
  • 'Urban Development and Autocracy in Thailand' by Pechladda Pechpakdee
  • 'Cultural Limitations on Talented Millennials in the Thai Bureaucratic Arena' by Krittinan Anantakoon & Pad Lavankura
  • 'The Evolution of Vote-Canvasser Networks in Thailand' by Anyarat Chattharakul
 

14:00-16:00, 7 September 2018, School of Politics & International Studies, University of Leeds

Roundtable on Cambodia’s Elections
Convenor: Professor Duncan McCargo, School of Politics and International Studies, University of Leeds

Discussants: Naruemon Thabchumpon (CSDS), Sophal Ear, and Vathana Seourn

Cambodia’s scheduled July 2018 elections were widely expected to bring about a significant realignment in the country’s politics, given the strong performance of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) in both the 2013 general election and the June 2017 commune council elections. However, the recent court-imposed closure of the CNRP leaves the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) with no significant challenger in the 2018 elections; meanwhile a recent crackdown on civil society and media organisations which has included the shutdown of the English-language Cambodia Daily has had a chilling effect on political life in the country. This roundtable will discuss the latest political situation in Cambodia, with respect to electoral politics, the growing role of the courts, the sphere of civil society and the salience of both mainstream and social media.

 

Conference details are available here.

 

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