“When ecosystems change, people change.” These five words, spoken by a member of the Rasi Salai community, really capture what we were able to observe during the MAIDS program’s first trimester fieldtrip this year. From November 13 – 15, we traveled to Rasi Salai in Northeastern Thailand to learn about the impact of the contested Rasi Salai irrigation dam on the surrounding community from the Tam Mun Association. The Tam Mun Association is a community organization working to raise awareness about the impacts of the dam on their livelihoods as well as share local traditional knowledge.Read More
In 1993, on the Mun River in Si Sa Ket Province, Northeast Thailand, an irrigation weir called Rasi Salai was built that would lead to almost two decades of at times intense conflict between the communities whose livelihoods were harmed by the project and the government agencies that built and operated it. Since the late 2000s, however, the conflict has gradually thawed as a participatory social impact assessment was produced supported by the Royal Irrigation Department (RID), the government partly compensated affected communities, and negotiations began on how lost livelihoods could be recovered.
In this context, the RECOVER project in Northeast Thailand, led by the Mekong Sub-Region Social Research Center (MSSRC), Ubon Ratchathani University and with support from SUMERNET, has worked together with community leaders and affected villagers, community-based organizations and non-government organizations, local authorities, and government officers from RID and the Office of Natural Resource and Environment in a collaborative wetland mapping project. The project addresses a self-identified goal agreed upon amongst the project partners to clearly categorize a wetland area affected by the Rasi Salai dam, and designate permitted uses within it which may range from rice and cassava growing, to fish or forest conservation areas.Read More
The first workshop for the project was hosted by the Vietnam Academy of Water Resources in Hanoi on 20-22 June 2015.
The “Capacity Building and Professional Development of Water Governance and Regional Development Practitioners in the Mekong, Salween and Red river basins” project will strengthen the capacity for undertaking research and policy engagement of scholars and practitioners of water, land and energy use, management and governance in the Red, Mekong and Salween river basins. It also intends to build a learning community amongst these scholars and practitioners.Read More
Across the Mekong Region, a great diversity of wetlands and the agro-ecological farming that they support are central to many rural communities’ livelihoods, and contribute to local and national economies. Unfortunately, many areas have been degraded or lost due as a consequence of large-scale infrastructure development, including for irrigation and hydroelectricity. In October 2014, our SUMERNET Phase 3 project got underway in three locations in the Mekong Region in Thailand, Laos and Vietnam aiming to contribute towards the recovery of such wetlands, their agro-ecological farming systems, and local ‘situational’ knowledge associated with both.Read More