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

Political Ecology in Asia: Plural Knowledge and Contested Development in a More-Than-Human World

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

Co-organized by Center for Social Development Studies (CSDS); Chula Global Network (CGN); 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

Keynote Speakers:

  • “Reflection on Vijñana of Religion: New Animism in the Age of the Anthropocene” - Thanes Wongyannava, Retired Professor, Faculty of Political Science, Thammasat University

  • “The Political Ecology of Climate Change, Uncertainty and Transformation in Marginal Environments” - Lyla Mehta, Institute for Development Studies, University of Sussex.

Panel topics include:

  • Resource politics and the public sphere;

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

  • Hydrosocial rivers and their politics;

  • Ontologies of infrastructure;

  • Post-development and systemic alternatives from Asia;

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

  • Industrialization and ecological justice;

  • Asia’s urban political ecologies;

  • Feminist political ecology in Asia;

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

  • Representations of nature and political engagements;

  • Political ecologies of land in Southeast Asia: Beyond the technical-regulatory gaze.

To register for this forum, please e-mail us your name, organisation, and position to Anisa Widyasari (CSDS) at PoliticalEcologyinAsia@gmail.com. Registering participants are requested to pay 400 THB per day for lunch and coffee breaks. Students may join for free.

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IN THE NEWS: แม่น้ำโขงที่ผันผวน และกลไกรับวิกฤต

[BangkokBizNews, 1 September 2019]

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ดร.คาร์ล มิดเดิลตัน นักวิชาการผู้ติดตามภูมิศาสตร์การเมืองของแม่น้ำโขงมาอย่างยาวนานจากศูนย์ศึกษาการพัฒนาสังคม (Center for Social Development Studies) คณะรัฐศาสตร์ จุฬาลงกรณ์มหาวิทยาลัย กล่าวว่า สถานการณ์ความแห้งแล้งและความผันผวนของแม่น้ำโขงปีนี้ และข้อกล่าวหาที่พุ่งตรงไปที่บทบาทของเขื่อนของจีน ทำให้รัฐบาลและสาธารณะที่เกี่ยวข้องให้ความสนใจกับความสำคัญของแม่น้ำโขงในมุมของความร่วมมือและสันติภาพมากเป็นพิเศษ

นอกจากนี้ กรอบความร่วมมือแม่โขง-ล้านช้าง ซึ่งริ่เริ่มโดยจีนเองในช่วงสองสามปีที่ผ่านมา ก็ยิ่งขับเน้นบทบาทของจีนในภูมิศาสตร์การเมือง (Geo-politics) ของภูมิภาคมากยิ่งขึ้น ดร.คาร์ล กล่าว

เป็นความจริงที่ว่าหลากหลายรัฐบาลไม่ว่าจะเป็นจากญี่ปุ่น เกาหลี หรืออินเดีย ต่างก็พยายามโปรโมทความร่วมมือในระดับภูมิภาค แต่ ข้อริเริ่มลุ่มน้ำโขงตอนล่างของสหรัฐฯ (Lower Mekong Initiative) ซึ่งไม่ได้รวมจีนเข้าไว้ด้วยนี่เอง ที่ดูเหมือนจะกลายมาเป็นยุทธศาสตร์ที่ถูกตั้งใจให้มาช่วยคานอำนาจให้สมดุลย์ในภูมิภาคนี้ เมื่อพิจารณาถึงอิทธิพลทางการเมืองของสหรัฐฯ และการเผชิญหน้าอย่างเปิดเผยกับจีน ดร.คาร์ล กล่าว

ดร.คาร์ล กล่าวว่า เมื่อพิจารณาถึงกลไกในภูมิภาคที่มีอยู่อย่าง MRC, การได้ข้อมูลเกี่ยวกับสภาพน้ำจากจีนที่สมบูรณ์มากกว่านี้ รวมทั้งข้อมูลเกี่ยวกับระดับน้ำของแต่ละเขื่อนตลอดทั้งปี จะช่วยลดปัญหาและการตั้งข้อความสงสัยเกี่ยวกับเขื่อนของจีนลงไปได้มาก

ในช่วงสองสามปีที่ผ่านมา ดร.คาร์ล กล่าวว่า เขาเห็นพัฒนาการการทำงานของ MRC ในการติดต่อประสานงานกับจีนเกี่ยวกับการแลกเปลี่ยนข้อมูลข่าวสารเกี่ยวกับสภาพน้ำได้ครบถ้วนขึ้น ซึ่งงานด้านนี้ควรเป็นสิ่งที่องค์กรดำเนินการอย่างต่อเนื่องต่อไปเป็นส่วนหนึ่งของภาระกิจหลัก

ดร. คาร์ล ยังกล่าวอีกว่า มันเป็นเรื่องที่สำคัญที่ประเทศต้นน้ำอย่างจีนและประเทศปลายน้ำของแม่น้ำโขงจะช่วยกันผลักดันกฎระเบียบที่ “ชัดเจนและเป็นธรรม” (Clear and Fair) ในการใช้ประโยชน์ร่วมกันของแม่น้ำโขง-ล้านช้าง รวมทั้งการแลกเปลี่ยนข่าวสารข้อมูลเกี่ยวกับสภาพน้ำ โดยเฉพาะในช่วงหน้าแล้ง และการดำเนินการของเขื่อนจีน

ในการดำเนินการของเขื่อน สมควรที่จะให้คล้ายสภาพธรรมชาติมากที่สุดเพื่อให้ประเทศท้ายน้ำได้รักษาสมดุลย์ของระบบนิเวศและวิถีชีวิตที่ต้องพึ่งพาวงจรธรรมชาติเหล่านั้น ดร. คาร์ล แนะนำ

ที่สำคัญ กฎเกณฑ์ต่างๆ เหล่านี้ควรต้องให้ประชาชนได้มีส่วนร่วมออกแบบ และเป็นที่ยอมรับของชุมชนในลุ่มน้ำ ถึงจะเป็นแนวทางที่จะช่วยแก้ปัญหาความขัดแย้งที่มีอยู่ของลุ่มน้ำได้ ดร. คาร์ล สรุป

Read more at this link here.

UPCOMING EVENT: "Knowing the Salween River: Resource Politics of a Contested Transboundary River"

Saturday, 7 September 2019, Alumni Meeting Room, 12th Floor, Kasem Utthayanin Building (อาคารเกษม อุทยานิน), Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand (guide to the venue here)

Co-organized by Center for Social Development Studies (CSDS) and Salween Studies Network

The Salween River, shared by China, Myanmar, and Thailand, is increasingly at the heart of pressing regional development debates. The basin supports the livelihoods of over 10 million people, and within it there is great socioeconomic, cultural and political diversity. The basin is witnessing intensifying dynamics of resource extraction, alongside large dam construction, conservation and development intervention, that is unfolding within a complex terrain of local, national and transnational governance. With a focus on the contested politics of water and associated resources in the Salween basin, in this seminar we will explore the possible futures of the Salween basin through the lens of: resource politics; politics of knowledge making; and reconciling knowledge across divides. The seminar will also launch the new book: “Knowing the Salween River: Resource Politics of a Contested Transboundary River”.



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

09.15 - 10.30  Panel 1: Resource politics and the Salween River

Chair: Vanessa Lamb, University of Melbourne

  • “From Hydropower Construction to National Park Creation: Changing Pathways of the Nu River” by Carl Middleton, Chulalongkorn University [with Chen Xiangxue]

  • “Hydropower Politics and Conflict on the Salween River” by Alec Scott, Karen Environmental and Social Action Network (KESAN) [with Carl Middleton and Vanessa Lamb]

  • “Local Context, National Law: The Rights of Karen People on the Salween River in Thailand“ by Laofang Bundidterdsakul, Legal Advocacy Center for Indigenous Communities (LACIC)

10.30 - 10.45 Coffee Break

10.45 - 12.00 Panel 2: Politics of knowledge making

Chair: Professor Saw Win, Retired Rector of Maubin University

  • “An Ethnobotanical Survey in Shan State, Myanmar: Where Thanlwin Biodiversity, Health, and Deforestation Meet” by Mar Mar Aye, Lashio University [with with Swe Swe Win]

  • ‘'Not only Anti-dam: Simplistic Rendering of Complex Salween Communities in Their Negotiation for Development in Thailand” by Paiboon Hengsuwan, Chiang Mai University

  • “Opportunities and Challenges for Salween Water Governance: Lessons learned from Daw La Lake and Kaw Ku Island, Karen State” by Saw Tha Phoe

12.00 - 13.00 Lunch

13.00 - 13.15 Short film showing: “Salween Stories” with introduction by Carl Middleton

13.15 - 14.30 Panel 3: Reconciling knowledge across divides

Chair: John Dore, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia

  • “A State of Knowledge of the Salween River: An Overview of Civil Society Research” by Vanessa Lamb, University of Melbourne [with Carl Middleton, Saw John Bright, Saw Tha Phoe, Naw Aye Aye Myaing, Nang Hom Kham, Sai Aum Khay, Nang Sam Paung Hom, Nang Aye Tin, Nang Shining, Yu Xiaogang, Chen Xiangxue and Chayan Vaddhanaphuti]

  • “Fisheries and Socio-economic Change in the Thanlwin River Estuary in Mon and Kayin State, Myanmar” by Cherry Aung, Pathein University

  • “The Impact of Land Cover Changes on Socio-economic Conditions in Bawlakhe District, Kayah State” by Khin Sandar Aye, Loikaw University [with Khin Khin Htay]

14.30 - 14.45 Coffee Break

14.45 - 16.00 Panel 4: The future of the Salween River: Policy, politics, and practice

Chair: Carl Middleton, Chulalongkorn University

  • “Positioning the Salween in Myanmar’s River Politics” by Khin Maung Lwin, Advisor to the National Water Resources Committee, Myanmar

  • “What’s Next for the River? Is the Thanlwin ‘Under Threat’ or ‘on the Thread’” by Nang Shining, Weaving Bonds Across Borders and Mong Pan Youth Association

  • “Salween as a Site for Transboundary Justice and Activism” by Pianporn Deetes, International Rivers

16.00 - 16.30 Book Launch and Concluding Remarks

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. 

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

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IN THE NEWS: Panel Discussion on "The Mekong Drought: Impact and Solutions"

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On August 2, 2019, Center for Social Development Studies co-organized a panel discussion on “The Mekong Drought: Impact and Solutions". The discussion is organized as part of the 8th Chula ASEAN Week and 5th Parliementaty ASEAN Community Forum.

Below are some articles referencing the event:

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แนะอาเซียนหยิบยกประเด็นวิกฤตแม่น้ำโขงหารือจีน “ครูตี๋”ชี้วิธีคิดรัฐบาลแดนมังกรสวนทางวิถีชุมชน เผยปริมาณไฟฟ้าสำรองไทยเหลือเฟือแต่ถูกล็อคให้รับซื้อ-โยนภาระให้ผู้บริโภคแบกรับ

แนะอาเซียนหยิบยกประเด็นวิกฤตแม่น้ำโขงหารือจีน “ครูตี๋”ชี้วิธีคิดรัฐบาลแดนมังกรสวนทางวิถีชุมชน เผยปริมาณไฟฟ้าสำรองไทยเหลือเฟือแต่ถูกล็อคให้รับซื้อ-โยนภาระให้ผู้บริโภคแบกรับ 0 BY ADMIN ON 2 สิงหาคม 2019 ในประเทศ เมื่อวันที่ 2 สิงหาคม 2562 ที่อาคารเฉลิมราชกุมารี 60 พรรษา จุฬาลงกรณ์มหาวิทยาลัย ได้มีเวทีอภิปราย “สถานการณ์ภัยแล้งน้ำโขง: ผลกระทบและทางออก” โดยผู้ร่วมอภิปรายประกอบด้วย ศ.สุริชัย หวันแก้ว ผู้อำนวยการ ศูนย์สันติภาพและความขัดแย้งแห่งจุฬาลงกรณ์มหาวิทยาลัย นายนิวัฒน์ ร้อย-แก้ว หรือ “ครูตี๋” ประธานกลุ่มรักษ์เชียงของ ดร.คาร์ล มิดเดิลตัน นักวิชาการศูนย์ศึกษาการพัฒนาสังคม คณะรัฐศาสตร์ จุฬาฯ นายชัยวัฒน์ พาระคุณ ผู้แทนเครือข่ายประชาชนลุ่มน้ำโขง และนายศุภกิจ นันทะวรการ ผู้แทนมูลนิธินโยบายสุขภาวะ ทั้งนี้ทางผู้จัดได้เชิญผู้แทนกระทรวงต่างประเทศไทยและผู้แทนสถานเอกอัครราชทูตจีนประจำประเทศไทย เข้าร่วมด้วย แต่ทั้ง 2 หน่วยงานไม่ได้ส่งตัวแทนเข้าร่วม

Read more at http://transbordernews.in.th/home/?p=23362 .

 
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'แล้ง-ท่วม'วิกฤติ'แม่น้ำโขง'เขื่อนสร้างพลังงาน..ชาวบ้านระทม

เมื่อช่วงกลางเดือน ก.ค. 2562 ที่ผ่านมา เกิดปรากฏการณ์ "น้ำโขงแห้ง" ซึ่งหลายคนที่อยู่ในพื้นที่ถึงกับออกปาก "เกิดมาเป็นสิบๆ ปีไม่เคยเห็นแบบนี้มาก่อน" แน่นอนว่าข้อสันนิษฐานหลักคงหนีไม่พ้น "สารพัดโครงการเขื่อน" ที่หลายชาติทำขึ้นทั้งในเขตประเทศตนเองและไปลงทุนในประเทศเพื่อนบ้านโดยยกเหตุความจำเป็นด้านพลังงาน ล่าสุดเมื่อต้นเดือน ส.ค. 2562 มีการจัดเวทีอภิปราย "สถานการณ์ภัยแล้งลุ่มน้ำโขง : ผลกระทบและทางออก" ที่จุฬาลงกรณ์มหาวิทยาลัย วิกฤติแม่น้ำโขง ก็ถูกหยิบยกขึ้นมาพูดถึงอีกครั้ง

Read more at https://www.ryt9.com/s/nnd/3024148

 
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ภาคปชช.แนะรัฐบาล จัดทำนโยบายพัฒนาแม่น้ำโขง ถ่วงดุลย์โครงการกระทบคนลุ่มน้ำ

โดยตัวแทนภาคประชาชน ผู้เชี่ยวชาญด้านพลังงานและด้านการพัฒนาลุ่มน้ำโขงได้ร่วมเวทีอภิปราย “สถานการณ์ภัยแล้งน้ำโขง:ผลกระทบและทางออก” โดยศูนย์สันติภาพและความขัดแย้งแห่งจุฬาลงกรณ์มหาวิทยาลัย นายนิวัฒน์ ร้อยแก้ว หรือ “ครูตี๋” ประธานกลุ่มรักษ์เชียงของ กล่าวว่า “วิกฤติที่เกิดขึ้นตลอดระยะเวลาที่ผ่านมากำลังสะท้อนว่าภาครัฐไม่ไ้ด้ให้ความสนใจแก้ไขผลกระทบที่เกิดขึ้นจากการพัฒนาแม่น้ำโขงเพราะปัญหาได้เกิดขึ้นมานานแล้วและยังไม่ได้รับการแก้ไขให้ดีขึ้น” นายนิวัฒน์กล่าวว่า “ไม่เคยเห็นรัฐบาลชุดไหนออกมาพูดชัดเจนว่าจะพัฒนาแม่น้ำโขงอย่างไร ซึ่งสะท้อนว่ารัฐไทยไม่เคยมีนโยบายเกี่ยวกับแม่น้ำโขงและไม่ได้ให้ความสำคัญ”

Read more at https://www.bangkokbiznews.com/news/detail/842653



UPCOMING EVENT: "Knowing the Salween River: Resource Politics of a Contested Transboundary River"

Saturday, 7 September 2019, Alumni Meeting Room, 12th Floor, Kasem Utthayanin Building (อาคารเกษม อุทยานิน), Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand (guide to the venue here)

Co-organized by Center for Social Development Studies (CSDS) and Salween Studies Network

The Salween River, shared by China, Myanmar, and Thailand, is increasingly at the heart of pressing regional development debates. The basin supports the livelihoods of over 10 million people, and within it there is great socioeconomic, cultural and political diversity. The basin is witnessing intensifying dynamics of resource extraction, alongside large dam construction, conservation and development intervention, that is unfolding within a complex terrain of local, national and transnational governance. With a focus on the contested politics of water and associated resources in the Salween basin, in this seminar we will explore the possible futures of the Salween basin through the lens of: resource politics; politics of knowledge making; and reconciling knowledge across divides. The seminar will also launch the new book: “Knowing the Salween River: Resource Politics of a Contested Transboundary River”.

For more information about this seminar, please contact communications.csds@gmail.com.

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

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IN THE NEWS: Finding the nexus between water, food and energy

By Kunda Dixit [Nepali Times, 26 July 2019]

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‘Nexus’ has become a word with a negative connotation in Nepal, used in conjunction with collusion or complicity: ‘government-business nexus’, or ‘nexus of politicians with the medical mafia’.

Nexus has a nefarious nuance because of the corrupt conspiracies that are hatched in the corridors of power between the political leadership and the captains of industry, giving democracy itself a bad name. An increasing number of Nepalis are disillusioned not just with politicians, but the system of government itself.

Multi-disciplinary social scientists Jeremy Allouche, Carl Middleton and Dipak Gyawali in their new book, The Water-Food-Energy Nexus: Power, Politics and Justice, try to reinstate the respect that the word ‘nexus’ has lost. They lay out the necessity of a multi-purpose nexus in designing and implementing development. For too long, we have maintained a tunnel vision in which hydropower was seen as only energy, drinking water only as a utility, or water only for urban supply.

Read more at this link here.

UPCOMING EVENT: Panel Discussion "The Mekong Drought: Impact and Solutions" [Bangkok, 2 August 2019]

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Friday 2 August 2019, 13.30 - 15.00 at 8th Floor, Chaloem Rajakumari 60 Building, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand

This panel is organized as part of the 8th Chula ASEAN Week and 5th Parliementaty ASEAN Community Forum

The Lancang-Mekong basin is currently facing a severe drought, with serious consequences for communities living within the basin. The drought takes place in the context of increasingly extensive hydropower dam construction in the basin on the mainstream and tributaries. These projects have expanded water storage capacity that could potentially alleviate drought, but have also impacted the natural hydrology and ecology of the river with a range of negative consequences for existing riparian livelihoods. Meanwhile, intergovernmental cooperation towards the Lancang-Mekong River is evolving with the launch of the Lancang Mekong Cooperation in 2016 alongside the existing Mekong River Commission. This panel will discuss the impact of the drought currently affecting the Mekong River basin, including on rural farming and fishing communities, its causes, and the immediate and long-term solutions.

Invited speakers:

  • Representative, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand (t.b.c.)

  • Representative, Embassy of The People's Republic of China in The Kingdom of Thailand (t.b.c.)

  • Niwat Roykaew, Rak Chiang Khong

  • Chaiwat Parakhun, Representative of the Thai Mekong Network;

  • Suphakit Nuntavorakarn, Healthy Public Policy Foundation.

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

Chair: Emeritus Professor Surichai Wun’gaeo, Center for Peace and Conflict Studies, Chulalongkorn University

The panel will be held in Thai and English language with simultaneous translation available.

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

To register online and for more details about the 8th Chula ASEAN Week and the 5th Parliamentary ASEAN Community Forum, please visit the link here.

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IN THE NEWS: #WeStandByOurPlanet

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Taylor & Francis recently launched their 2019 Asia Sustainability Campaign, #WeStandByOurPlanet. For every book sold from the campaign list, they will donate SGD$1 to a local wildlife community.

Two books from CSDS, Living with Floods in a Mobile Southeast Asia and The Water-Food-Energy-Nexus are also included in the campaign listing. Please visit this link here for the catalog of books included in the list.

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

By Bertil Lintner [Asia Times, 24 June 2019]

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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.

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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.

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

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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]

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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.

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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.

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

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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"

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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]

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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.

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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'

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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.