IN THE NEWS: China winning new Cold War on the Mekong

By Bertil Lintner [Asia Times, 24 June 2019]

Screenshot_2019-07-03 Asia Times China winning new Cold War on the Mekong Article.png

When the state tabloid China Daily ran a paid advertisement in the New York Times extolling the virtues of Beijing’s proliferating dams in Laos, the piece sparked a new cold war controversy.

Entitled “Employment on hydroelectric project in Laos delivers better lives”, the piece stated that a proposed cascade of dams on the Nam Ou River will enable well-paid local workers to buy pickup trucks and provide the poor country with badly needed electricity.

The paid placement also noted the Nam Ou cascade “is a key part of the China-led Belt and Road Initiative and is the first project undertaken by a Chinese-invested company to cover an entire river.”

With its rising regional clout and massive state resources, China has recently gained a clear upper hand vis-à-vis the United States and Japan in determining the crucial waterway’s future development and direction.

It’s an economics-over-environment vision that downstream nations have often opposed but without recourse or resources to fight back there is little they can do as US and Japan-backed counter-initiatives for the river wash away into irrelevance.

A cargo boat on the Mekong River near the Pak Ou tributary, Luang Prabang, Laos, February 1, 2017. Photo: Wikimedia/Christian Terrissen

The new cold war on the Mekong is being fought in part on environmental grounds. International Rivers, a nongovernmental organization (NGO), views China’s dam-building differently than as portrayed in the New York Times’ paid advertisement.

The group states on its website that the propaganda piece “paints a rosy picture of a highly destructive set of dams currently under construction in Southeast Asia.”

Rather than benefiting economically from the construction of new dams, International Rivers claims that farmers affected by the project have lost their land and that many never received the compensation they were promised.

The cascade has resulted in the forced relocation of over 4,000 people and undermined livelihoods for tens of thousands more villages in the river’s basin, the NGO says.

It also claims the company, China Power, is developing 350 kilometers of the 450-kilometer-long river and has “rejected offers from the International Finance Corporation and the Mekong River Commission (MRC) to participate in a broader watershed management planning.”

That is hardly surprising. In recent years, China has managed to outmaneuver the MRC, a decades-old initiative which brings together Mekong River countries for development projects, with the creation of its own Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC).

Lancang is the Chinese name for the Mekong River and the forum, which includes all the riparian countries from the river’s headwaters to its exit in the South China Sea, explicitly excludes traditional regional donors like Japan and the UnitStates.

According to Carl Middleton and Jeremy Allouche, two Western scholars writing for the Italian journal the International Spectator, the LMC “proposes programs on both economic and water resource development, and anticipates hydro-diplomacy via China’s dam-engineered control of the headwaters” of the Mekong.

Read more at this link here.

UPCOMING INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE: "XVIIth Global Conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons" [Lima, 1-4 July 2019]

The XVII Biennial IASC Conference, entitled ‘In Defense of the Commons: Challenges, Innovation, and Action’ will be held at the Catholic University of Lima, Peru on July 1-4, 2019. For more details about the conference, please visit this link.

Panel 3B - Hybrid governance of transboundary environmental commons in Southeast Asia

10:30 - 12.00, July 2, Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru

Chair: David Taylor

  • Marcel Bandur (National University of Singapore): Hybrid Governance of Transboundary Forest Commons in the Rohingya Crisis

  • David Taylor (National University of Singapore): SR15, NET and the possible implications for biomass governance at low latitudes

  • Rini Astuti (National University of Singapore): Assembling Commercial ForestPeatland Commons in Indonesia

  • Carl Middleton (Chulalongkorn University): The Lancang-Mekong River as a transboundary hybrid commons: Competing collective actions and ethical principles

For more details on Carl's presentation, please take a look at the abstract here.

peru.png


UPCOMING INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE: "Political Ecology in Asia: Plural Knowledge and Contested Development in a More-Than-Human World" [Bangkok, 10-11 October 2019]

Thursday-Friday, 10-11 October 2019, Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand

Co-organized by Center for Social Development Studies (CSDS); Research Institute on Contemporary Southeast Asia (IRASEC); French Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD); French Institute of Pondicherry (IFP); IRN-SustainAsia; POLLEN Political Ecology Network

Panel topics include:

  • Resource politics and the public sphere;

  • Hydrosocial rivers and their politics;

  • Post-development and systemic alternatives from Asia;

  • Ontologies of infrastructure;

  • Industrialization and ecological justice;

  • Particulate matters: the emergence of a political ecology of haze in Asia;

  • Asia’s urban political ecologies;

  • Human Rights and the Environment in Asia;

  • People and the biodiversity crisis: reshaping governance and justice in conservation?;

  • Representations of nature and political engagements;

  • Interspecies cohabitations in Asia: non-human animals and political ecology.

There are a limited number of spaces remaining for self-funded participants to join the conference either as a paper presenter or participant. For further information, please contact PoliticalEcologyinAsia@gmail.com.

For the most updated information, you can also visit the conference’s landing page here.

Political Ecology in Asia-Mix-ed.png

UPCOMING PANEL DISCUSSION: Mega dams, sand mining and renewable energy: Navigating a new course for the mighty rivers of Southeast Asia

Screenshot_2019-06-10 Mega dams, sand mining and renewable energy Navigating a new course for the mighty rivers of Southeas[...].png

19.00 - 22.00, Wednesday, 12th June 2019 at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand (FCCT), Penthouse, Maneeya Center, 518/5 Ploenchit Road, Patumwan, Bangkok, Thailand

Carl Middleton from CSDS will be presenting on this event. Carl will be talking about the future relationship between the Mekong River Commission (MRC) and the Lancang Mekong Cooperation (LMC)

Panelists include:

  • Dr. Leonie Pearson, senior research fellow, Water for Stockholm Environment Institute: A renowned ecological economist and expert in sustainable development, landscape water management, livelihood policy and urban-rural integrated assessments.

  • Marc Goichot, WWF-Greater Mekong Water Lead, who has spent two decades in Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Laos working on water stewardship, hydropower, disaster risk reduction and climate change.

  • Dr. Carl Middleton, lecturer in International Development Studies and deputy director for international research in the Center for Social Development Studies at Chulalongkorn University, where he focuses on the politics and policy of the environment in Southeast Asia, with a particular emphasis on environmental justice and the political ecology of water and energy.

  • Rina Chandran, land and property rights correspondent, Thomson Reuters Foundation and a former business journalist in India, Singapore and New York with Reuters News, Bloomberg and the Financial Times.

For more information about this event, please visit the webpage here.

IN THE NEWS: REDISCOVERING THE WATER-FOOD-ENERGY NEXUS

IN THE NEWS

By Jeremy Allouche [STEPS Centre, 10 April 2019]

jeremyblog.png

A few months ago, I presented the findings of a new book, The Water-Food-Energy Nexus: Power, Politics and Justice, to an International Water Association conference on the same topic at Salerno. To my great surprise, I was the only social scientist out of 200 participants.

Nexus approaches help to bridge the separate domains of water, energy and food to highlight the links and interactions between them. For example, hydroelectric dams are obviously sources of energy, but they need (and use) water for it, with knock-on effects for food – changing the conditions for irrigation, fishing or groundwater – in the areas where they operate. So, anyone responsible for large projects, including in developing countries, can use the Nexus to make decisions and think through what problems or synergies they might create.

So for many engineers and environmental economists, who made up most of the audience, the Nexus is an exciting new idea. It presents them with the practical challenge of modelling ever more complexity and interactions between the resources they work with. In fact, the Nexus is becoming so engineering-dominated that our new book is sold on Amazon under the topic of civil engineering!

Read more at this link here.

Jeremy Allouche, Dipak Gyawali, and Carl Middleton of CSDS are the co-authors of the book “The Water-Food-Energy Nexus”. More information about this book can be read here.

UPCOMING EVENT: CU Graduate Student Seminar Series 'The Water-Food-Energy Nexus' [Bangkok, 21 May 2019]

Tuesday 21 May 2019, 13.00 - 16.00 at Alumni Meeting Room, 12th Floor, Kasem Utthayanin Building (อาคารเกษม อุทยานิน), Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand (guide to the venue here)

Our inaugural interdisciplinary seminar will highlight ongoing graduate student research related to the water-food-energy nexus. Students will present cross-cutting research in the areas of political ecology of water, bioenergy, agriculture, and the politics of water allocation in Southeast Asia. Join your fellow graduate students for an engaging exchange of ideas in a relaxed atmosphere!

Speakers:

  • "A political ecology of Bangkok waters: the institutional interplay between subsidence, floods and water infrastructures" by Thanawat Bremard, ABIES, AgroParisTech, France

  • "Alternative approaches toward agriculture and energy nexus thinking: historical, geographical and political processes of socio-‘techno’-nature interactions" by Hiromi Inagaki, Department of Geography, National University of Singapore

  • "The politics of water policy making process in Indonesia" by Tanaporn Nithiprit, Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University

  • "Industrialization and water quality in Rayong Province, Thailand: are international, national and local water management strategies complimentary or contesting?" by Wipawadee Panyangnoi, GRID Program, Chulalongkorn University

Discussants:

  • Dipak Gyawali, Nepal Academy of Science and Technology

  • Dr. Takeshi Ito, Graduate Program in Global Studies, Sophia University, Japan

To register for this event, please send and e-mail to  CU Graduate Student Seminar Series at cugradseminar@gmail.com.

CUGradSeminar-May2019ed.png


UPCOMING EVENT: Book Launch 'Unpacking the Water-Food-Energy "Nexus" in Asia: Power, Politics and Justice' [Bangkok, 21 May 2019]

Tuesday 21 May 2019, 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)

The ‘nexus’ of relations between water, food and energy is often seen as a technical matter in public policy, addressing issues of risk, security or economics. In this public seminar, the speakers will discuss their new book on the water-food-energy nexus that challenges some of these underlying assumptions to show that at the very heart of the nexus arise questions about resource politics, ethics, and justice. The public seminar will encourage an interdisciplinary debate on the implications for natural resource policy, including for Asia’s major river basins such as the Ganges and Mekong.

Read more details about the book here, and download an open access chapter.

Speakers:

  • Dipak Gyawali, Nepal Academy of Science and Technology

  • Jeremy Allouche, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex (by Skype)

  • Carl Middleton, Center for Social Development Studies, Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University

Discussants:

  • Dr. Takeshi Ito, Graduate Program in Global Studies, Sophia University

  • Dr. Supawan Visetnoi, Chulalongkorn University School of Agricultural Resources (CUSAR)

Chair:

  • Dr. Kasira Cheeppensook, Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University

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.

THE WATER-FOOD-ENERGY NEXUSadd.png

NEW PUBLICATION: "BOOK: The Water-Food-Energy Nexus: Power, Politics and Justice"

nexus.jpg

Carl Middleton of CSDS is a co-author of a new book, “The Water-Food-Energy Nexus: Power Politics and Justice”.

The ‘nexus’ of relations between water, food and energy is often seen as a technical matter, addressing issues of risk, security or economics. In a new book in the Pathways to Sustainability series, Jeremy Allouche, Carl Middleton and Dipak Gyawali argue for a political approach to the Nexus.

Read the details of the book here, and download an open access chapter.

REVIEWS:

"Beyond the commonplace recognition that the 'nexus' conceptual basis is not new and that integrative imperatives already featured in IWRM, this book further examines the underbelly of the beast and convincingly exposes the political underpinnings of a concept presented as a-political and 'manageable' through integrative tools, expert modeling, bureaucratic reforms and rational efficiency-driven thinking. It reveals the underlying business imperatives and green economy logics, traces the global diffusion of the concept, and emphasizes that issues of distributional justice, knowledge production and democratization of governance need to take center stage if the concept is to be transformative rather than supporting the status quo. An excellent reading for all water students and scholars interested in deciphering the word of water concepts and the interests and values that undergird them." — Francois Molle, Editor of Water Alternatives [Full review here]

"We frequently hear of the nexus - but what does this mean, what does it entail, and where to begin? To such questions, Allouche offers a critical guide. Careful to consider complexities and uncertainties, the theoretical discussion coupled with multi-sited case studies, offers a compelling treatment. Readers wanting to know more of the concept, including political economic and equity implications, will find reading the book to be time well spent." — Leila M Harris, University of British Columbia, Canada

"Skilfully delving into the nuances of the nexus approach, the authors trace and explain the emergence of the ‘new’ concepts of nexus – between water, food, energy, environment and more. Unravelling the tangle of nexus-invoking discourses, motivations and practices yields a valuable, sense-making analysis." — John Dore, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

IN THE NEWS: "Book Review 'Dead in the Water: Global Lessons from the World Bank’s Model Hydropower Project in Laos' from Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography"

journalsg.jpg

In 2024, Laos PDR (‘Laos’) is set to move beyond ‘least developed country’ status. This, according to the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, is a significant accomplishment. The Rapporteur, however, also notes that ‘behind this apparent success story lies a more complicated and problematic reality’ (Alston, 2019: 1).

Enter Dead in the Water, a book that is part of a long-standing effort into comprehending key facets of this ‘problematic reality’. 1 The route taken is via one of the highest profile poverty alleviation projects in Laos, and indeed, of the World Bank: the Nam Theun 2 (NT2) hydropower dam.

***

Read the full review here.

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)


IN THE NEWS: "Book Review 'Dead in the Water: Global Lessons from the World Bank’s Model Hydropower Project in Laos' from Southeast Asian Studies"

By Keith Barney [Southeast Asian Studies, Vol. 8, No. 1, April 2019, pp. 153-157]

SEAS0801_BR_Barney-page-001.jpg

Tens of millions of dollars have been spent on environmental and social mitigation programs for the Nam Theun 2 (NT2) hydropower project in Laos, extending over the full footprint of the project zone from the Vietnam border down to the confluence of the two impacted rivers with the Mekong. What are scholars, development practitioners, and concerned citizens to make of this high-profile infrastructure project? Costing about US$1.45 billion in the end, it made such a significant investment in addressing its socio-environmental externalities, but as the authors of Dead in the Water argue, has still come up short.

. . .

Dead in the Water does not specifically set out to theorize a new framework for understanding the NT2 project or the implications of hydropower development in Laos. Its aims are more applied and grounded, and constitute a basic warning that “supporting high-risk projects—those with the potential for severe social and environmental impacts—in countries with significant governance issues is fundamentally inappropriate and likely to cause more harm than good” (p. 298). The approach is set by some well-crafted chapters by the lead editors: independent researcher/consultant Bruce Shoemaker, and conservation biologist William Robichaud, both whom have long-term experience in the country. While none of the other chapter contributors are Lao nationals, which is a shame but understandable, given the constraints with freedom of speech in the country; almost all of the other writers have spent decades working and researching about Lao resource management issues.

****

Read the full review here

Citation: Barney, Keith. Review of Dead in the Water: Global Lessons from the World Bank’s Model Hydropower Project in Laos edited by Bruce Shoemaker and William Robichaud. Southeast Asian Studies, Vol. 8, No. 1, April 2019, pp. 153-157

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)

UPCOMING EVENT: "Demarcating public and private in land and environmental governance in the Mekong Region" [Kyoto, 19 April 2019]

Seminar by:

Emeritus Professor Philip Hirsch, School of Geosciences, University of Sydney and CSEAS Visiting Research Scholar

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

Moderator: Dr. Xiaobo Hua, CSEAS, Kyoto University

12:00 - 13:00, Friday 19th April 2019

Tonan-tei (Room no. 201), 2nd floor of Inamori Foundation Memorial building, Center for Southeast Asia Studies (CSEAS), Kyoto University

Abstract:

In this presentation we take a critical look at the context-determined demarcation between the public and private spheres in the realm of land, natural resources and environmental governance in the Mekong Region. We explore the generation of plural meanings of “public” and “private” through development projects and policies, and the implications that such meanings hold for: the actor configurations and power relations that shape how collective and individual interests are defined; how claims to ownership of resources are formulated and legitimized; the spaces within which projects can be debated, contested and governed; and ultimately how benefits, costs and risks are distributed across society. Hydropower dams and large scale land concessions set the context in which we examine these issues.

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

jpk.png

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.

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

By François Molle [Water Alternatives, 2019]

nexus.jpg

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)

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. 

Workshop-Jan2019-ed3.png

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

FCCT-Jan2019-FINAL.jpg

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.

SSRCProgramAbstracts_as of Oct 17-01.jpg

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.

 
CDposter1-FINAL0827 (1).jpg

UPCOMING INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE SESSION: "New Regimes of Commodification and State Formation on the Resource Frontier of Southeast Asia" [Helsinki, 17 August 2018]

Session organized for the 4th Annual Conference of the World-Eco­logy Research Net­work in Helsinki, Fin­land

13:00-14:30, 17 August 2018, Fabianinkatu 33, Room 3008, University of Helsinki

 

Conveners: Anu Lounela, Tuomas Tammisto and Mira Kakonen

Discussant: Carl Middleton

This thematic panel is to examine the interplay between the commodification of nature, value production, and state formation especially in Southeast Asia but possibly also in other regions. Southeast Asian countries are experiencing rapid transformations shaped by new dynamics involving investors from China and from the wealthiest ASEAN countries. The pace of change is fast, with high-tech special economic zones, extractive mining and hydropower enclaves, and large-scale agro-industrial land concessions emerging alongside smallholders or forest-dependent communities whose populations in Southeast Asia still number in tens of millions. New boom and bust cycles of industrial crops like rubber and oil palm are constantly re-shaping the rural landscapes. In the Southeast Asian resource frontiers competition over resources and land is high, the presence of the state is fragmented and uneven, and new property systems and legal arrangements are in the making. This panel aims to explore: How does rapid commodification of natural elements constitute or entangle with various processes of state formation in the frontiers of Southeast Asia? How do different actors and groups compete over different values and meanings of resources and with what effects?

Presenters:

  • "New Commodity Regimes in the Making of Frontiers in Indonesia" by Anu Lounela (University of Helsinki)
  • "State Formation on the Oil Palm Frontier of Papua New Guinea" by Tuomas Tammisto (University of Helsinki)
  • "Interplay of Resoruce-Making and State-Making in the Cardamom Mountains, Cambodia" by Mira Kakonen (University of Helsinki)
  • “Resource Politics in Myanmar/Burma through the Lens of Hydrosocial Territories: Implications for the Peace Negotiation Process" by Johanna Gotz and Carl Middleton (Chulalongkorn University)

Conference details are available here.

wern2018_nostokuva_gray.jpg

UPCOMING PUBLIC SEMINAR: "Conflicts and Resource Politics in Myanmar" [Helsinki, 15 August 2018]

Conflicts and resource politics in Myanmar

Discussion on the complex resource politics and its implications for the peace process in Myanmar

 

Wednesday 15th August, 10:00-13:30 at Think Corner (Tiedekulma), University of Helsinki, Yliopistonkatu 4, Helsinki, Finland

Organized by: Development Studies, University of Helsinki in collaboration with Felm and Siemenpuu Foundation

Myanmar is experiencing a complicated process of transition towards a civilian government, multi-party democratic elections, and peace negotiations. At the same time, the recent opening of the country has resulted in an accelerating rush for the rich natural resources, including a boom in extractive industrial and agribusiness projects. Most of these resources are located in the ethnic states and many of the grievances of the various ethnic communities are entangled with the questions of access to and control over resources. In this event researchers, NGO representatives and social movement activists discuss the ways that land and other resource rights should be addressed as a part of conflict resolution towards sustainable peace in Myanmar.

The recent political changes in Myanmar has also meant a rush of different international development organisations to the country. Recently Finland too has decided to focus its support in Southeast Asia to Myanmar. The event includes a panel discussion on the Finland’s future role in Myanmar with perspectives from civil society, ministry officials and private sector.

Speakers:

  • Carl Middleton, Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University
  • Khu Khu Ju, Land in Our Hands, Transnational Institute
  • Kyi Phyo, Mekong Energy and Ecology Network

*This event is a side event of the 4th Annual World-Ecology Research Network Conference that takes place this year in Helsinki (15-18 August).

Event details are available here.

wern2018_nostokuva_gray.jpg