NETWORK: CSDS joins POLLEN political ecology network

NETWORK: CSDS joins POLLEN political ecology network

The Political Ecology Network (POLLEN) is an umbrella organization of political ecology researchers, groups, projects, networks and ‘nodes’ across the globe. It aims to provide a platform for the ‘cross fertilization’ of ideas and where the world’s many rich, diverse traditions can come together, discuss, and debate the latest developments in the field of political ecology. It also aims to function as a vehicle to promote, encourage and facilitate political ecological research with other academic fields and disciplines, as well as civil society.

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NETWORK: Advisory Committee member to Platform on Disaster Displacement

NETWORK: Advisory Committee member to Platform on Disaster Displacement

The Center for Social Development Studies is honored to be invited to the Advisory Committee of the Platform on Disaster Displacement. We aim to contribute our research and recommendations on disaster displacement, human rights and development in Southeast Asia, building on our recent studies on political ecologies of mobility.

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COLLABORATION: Disaster and Displacement through a Human Rights Lens in Asia-Pacific

COLLABORATION: Disaster and Displacement through a Human Rights Lens in Asia-Pacific

When a disaster strikes leading to people’s displacement not all are impacted in the same way, and often it is marginalized groups who are affected the hardest. The Raoul Wallenberg Institute (RWI) has initiated a regional study on the relationship between disaster and people displacement through a human rights lens in the Asia Pacific. The research is underpinned by the recognition that pre-existing patterns of discrimination can exacerbate vulnerability to disaster-related harm. The research is informed by the UN Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights' Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement and will examine how state actors fulfill their obligations to prevent displacement, protect people during displacement, and facilitate durable solutions in the aftermath. It is intended to offer recommendations on future policy and implementation across the region.

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VACANCY: Communications Coordinator

VACANCY: Communications Coordinator

Currently seeking a Communications Coordinator. This is a full-time position, to be based in our office within the Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University. The position is open to all nationalities. For the selected candidate, if non-Thai, we are able to offer a Thai visa and work permit. Appropriate training will be provided as needed.

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COLLABORATION: Sustainable Governance of the Transboundary Environmental Commons in Southeast Asia

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The Sustainable Governance of the Transboundary Environmental Commons in Southeast Asia (TECSEA) project is a new multi-disciplinary five year project based at the Asia Research Institute (ARI), National University of Singapore (NUS). Led by Professor David Taylor and Professor Jonathan Rigg, it’s goal is to further understanding of key issues in the sustainable development of the ecological commons in Southeast Asia from a transboundary governance perspective, with a focus on air and fresh water.

The research project involves a team spanning the region, including the Center for Social Development Studies as a collaborator in Thailand. We are very excited to contribute to this project, in particular on its fresh water component. With growing pressures on commons ranging from the local to the national and transnational scale, this project will contribute new insights and policy guidance at a critical decision-making juncture.

For further details on the project, visit the project’s website. An introductory article on the project is published in ARI’s March 2018 newsletter (#41) which can be downloaded here.

Contact at CSDS: Dr. Carl Middleton (Carl.Chulalongkorn@gmail.com).

 Peatland in Jambi, Indonesia | Photo credit: David Taylor

Peatland in Jambi, Indonesia | Photo credit: David Taylor

IN THE NEWS: 'Salween Stories:' Nujiang, China

IN THE NEWS: 'Salween Stories:' Nujiang, China

Mae Sam Laep is located near to the Salween National Park and the Salween Wildlife Sanctuary, and was once a site of a booming timber industry. A long-time trading site, with the village established at least as early as the 1960s, it is now a place where tourists can start their journey along the Salween River, and for surrounding residents a point of departure to travel up and downstream, to Tha Ta Fang or Sob Moei villages, for instance. 

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IN THE NEWS: 'Salween Stories:' Mong Pan, Myanmar

IN THE NEWS: 'Salween Stories:' Mong Pan, Myanmar

Mae Sam Laep is located near to the Salween National Park and the Salween Wildlife Sanctuary, and was once a site of a booming timber industry. A long-time trading site, with the village established at least as early as the 1960s, it is now a place where tourists can start their journey along the Salween River, and for surrounding residents a point of departure to travel up and downstream, to Tha Ta Fang or Sob Moei villages, for instance. 

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IN THE NEWS: "'Living with Floods in a Mobile Southeast Asia': A book review"

By Andreea R. Torre [Stockholm Environment Institute Asia, 10 January 2018]

The newly published book, “Living with Floods in a Mobile Southeast Asia: A Political Ecology of Vulnerability, Migration and Environmental Change”, sets out to sensitize national and regional policy-agendas and responses to environmental disaster and climate change-related hazards – flood hazards in particular – to the complexities of human mobility in Southeast Asian contexts.

Co-edited by Carl Middleton, Rebecca Elmhirst, and Supang Chantavanich the volume uses empirical urban and rural case studies from eight different countries - Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia - to offer a nuanced and plural account of the causes and the multiple and intersecting environmental, social and political factors shaping everyday experiences of “living with floods” and mobility in the region.

 Disaster responses and policy agendas centering mainly on relocation to physically safer places without considering patterns of mobility, livelihood strategies and security cannot be successful (Source: SEI Asia)

Disaster responses and policy agendas centering mainly on relocation to physically safer places without considering patterns of mobility, livelihood strategies and security cannot be successful (Source: SEI Asia)

IN THE NEWS: "Flashing cash, China spearheads Mekong economic integration"

By Marwaan Macan-Markar [Nikkei Asian Review, 12 January 2018]

Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang used a visit to Cambodia this week to strengthen China-led economic integration across mainland Southeast Asia. Li celebrated his embrace of multilateralism with an op-ed penned specially for a Cambodian newspaper, and basked in China's triumph with its five southerly neighbors, all of whom share the Mekong, Southeast Asia's longest river. 

"Being located downstream, the lower Mekong countries have long struggled to negotiate with China on its dam construction upstream," said Carl Middleton, director of the Center for Social Development Studies, at Chulalongkorn University, in Bangkok. "A weakness of the current Lancang Mekong Cooperation Framework's approach is that there appears to be little interest by China to develop specific written rules for trans-boundary water sharing."

 Jinghong Hydropower Station in Yunnan province  (Source: AP)

Jinghong Hydropower Station in Yunnan province  (Source: AP)

China's determined push into mainland Southeast Asia lays bare the limits of existing Mekong initiatives supported by Japan, the U.S. and other Western nations, all of which focused on the five basin countries but shut out China. They pose little challenge to China, and are short on the verbal fireworks over another body of water in Southeast Asia -- the disputed South China Sea.

Read full article at: https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics-Economy/International-Relations/Flashing-cash-China-spearheads-Mekong-economic-integration?page=1

IN THE NEWS: 'Salween Stories:' Mae Sam Laep, Thailand

IN THE NEWS: 'Salween Stories:' Mae Sam Laep, Thailand

Mae Sam Laep is located near to the Salween National Park and the Salween Wildlife Sanctuary, and was once a site of a booming timber industry. A long-time trading site, with the village established at least as early as the 1960s, it is now a place where tourists can start their journey along the Salween River, and for surrounding residents a point of departure to travel up and downstream, to Tha Ta Fang or Sob Moei villages, for instance. 

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IN THE NEWS: 'Salween Stories:' Hpa-an, Myanmar

IN THE NEWS: 'Salween Stories:' Hpa-an, Myanmar

Hpa-an town sits alongside the Salween River in the southeastern part of Myanmar. It is the capital city of Karen (Kayin) State, and home to over 400,000 people who are mostly Karen ethnicity. Surrounding the town are numerous limestone karst mountains, within some of which are located sacred caves and temples. These same mountains, however, have also attracted the mining industry, who view them as raw materials for cement production.

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IN THE NEWS: 'Salween Stories' Website Launch

IN THE NEWS: 'Salween Stories' Website Launch

There are many stories about the Salween River. Myths from long ago. The hopes and tragedies of the recent past. The present day stories of a diversity of local lives and cultures. Dreams for a better future - some shared and some dissimiliar.  

“Salween Stories” is a space to share the stories of this unique river, told by those who live alongside and passionately care about its future.

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IN THE NEWS: "One By One Big Hydropower Dams Disrupt Mekong River’s Free Flow"

By Keith Schneider [Circle of Blue, 2 August 2017]

In unfolding global energy revolution, expensive and ecologically risky dams may not be right choice to generate more electricity...

“The energy revolution is evolving around the world,” said Carl Middleton, an assistant professor of political science at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, and a scholar on Mekong River development. “This region is resisting the shift, though, because of the economics of building big new projects. But it seems inevitable that the shift will happen here. It raises questions about continuing to build so many big dams.”...

Read more at: http://www.circleofblue.org/2017/world/one-one-big-hydropower-dams-disrupt-mekong-rivers-free-flow/

IN THE NEWS: "Salween River Dams Intrude on Contested Land"

IN THE NEWS: "Salween River Dams Intrude on Contested Land"

By Brett Walton [Circle of Blue, 8 November 2016]

In a HotSpots H2O interview with Circle of Blue reporter Brett Walton, Dr. Carl Middleton discusses the strain that hydropower development is adding to one of the region’s most politically, culturally, and biologically diverse watersheds. Dr. Middleton, director of the Center for Social Development Studies at Chulalongkorn University, in Bangkok, Thailand, also explores alternate futures for the Salween River.

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