JOURNAL ARTICLE: The Public Regime for Migrant Child Education in Thailand: Alternative Depictions of Policy

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Publication date:
September 2018

Publication: Asian Politics & Policy

Authors:
Nongyao Nawarat and Michael Medley

Abstract:
This article analyzes the conceptualization and depiction of Thailand’s public policy on education for the children of migrant workers in the country by examining a cluster of fairly  recent  literature  on  the  subject.  The  studied  texts  broadly  share  the  view  that Thailand’s  policy  of  providing  full  education  to  these  children  is  subject  to  gaps  and patchy  implementation.  An  analytical  review  of  the  literature  on  conceptualizing  this policy shows, however, that this picture is misleading as it tends to reduce policy to an idealized  intention.  Rather,  Thailand  has  a  plurality  of  local  policies  ambiguously governed by a national policy, which in turn does not predominantly aim at education for all. We contend that our improved characterization of the situation helps create more productive openings for research and policy change on this important topic.

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JOURNAL ARTICLE: National Human Rights Institutions, Extraterritorial Obligations and Hydropower in Southeast Asia: Implications of the Region’s Authoritarian Turn

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Publication date:
June 2018

Publication: Austrian Journal of Southeast Asia Studies

Authors:
Carl Middleton

Abstract:
This article examines the role of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) and transnational civil society in pursing Extraterritorial Obligation (ETO) cases in Southeast Asia as a means to investigate human rights threatened by cross-border investment projects. Two large hydropower dams under construction in Laos submitted to NHRIs from Thailand and Malaysia, namely the Xayaburi Dam and Don Sahong Dam, are detailed as case studies. The article argues that the emergence of ETOs in Southeast Asia, and its future potential, is dependent upon the collaborative relationship between the NHRIs and transnational civil society networks. Whilst NHRIs are in positions of political authority to investigate cases, civil society also enable cases through networking, research, and public advocacy. Further institutionalization of ETOs is significant to emerging regional and global agendas on business and human rights, including the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights that both the Thai and Malaysian governments have expressed commitment to. However, in Thailand and its neighboring countries where investments are located there has been an authoritarian turn. Reflecting this, there are weakening mandates of NHRIs and reduced civil and political freedoms upon which civil society depends that challenges the ability to investigate and pursue cases.

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JOURNAL ARTICLE: Infrastructure in the Making: The Chao Phraya Dam and the Dance of Agency

JOURNAL ARTICLE: Infrastructure in the Making: The Chao Phraya Dam and the Dance of Agency

The article explores the process behind the construction of the Chao Phraya Dam, the first World Bank-funded water infrastructure project in Thailand, developed during the 1950s. Employing Andrew Pickering's ‘dance of agency’ concept in examining the process of turning financial and technical assistance into a workable project, I argue that development infrastructure, like the Chao Phraya Dam, provides a space to explore the dialectic operations – accommodation and resistance – of agency and the unstable associations among diverse actors, expertise, institutions, and materials, as well as practices. Recounting the history of the dam in the making, I explore a series of entanglements through different dances of agency, namely initiation, assessment, mobilisation, negotiation, adjustment, confrontation, and settlement. Such a multiplicity of dances inside and in the making of infrastructure reflects the techno-political entanglement encompassing the manifold negotiation and adjustment of conflicting goals, interests, recognition, and cooperation among different agencies. The dam, often portrayed as an engineering achievement of the state, is in fact the result of unanticipated relations and the responses to the temporal emerging forms of practices.

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JOURNAL ARTICLE: Long-term recovery narratives following major disasters in Southeast Asia

JOURNAL ARTICLE: Long-term recovery narratives following major disasters in Southeast Asia

Most studies of major disasters focus on the impacts of the event and the short-term responses. Some evaluate the underlying causes of vulnerability, but few follow-up events years later to evaluate the consequences of early framings of the recovery process. The objective of this study was to improve understanding of the influence that recovery narratives have had on how decisions and actions are undertaken to recover from a disaster, and what influence this has had in turn, on long-term resilience. The study drew on comparisons and insights from four case studies in Southeast Asia: (1) local innovations that led to new policies for living with floods in the Mekong Delta in Vietnam following the 2001 Mekong River floods; (2) livelihood and infrastructure responses in Prey Veng, Cambodia, after the 2001 and 2011 Mekong River floods; (3) the role of the Panglima Laot, a traditional fisheries management institution, in the recovery process following the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami in Aceh province, Indonesia; and (4) the challenges faced by small and medium enterprises in a market area following the 2011 floods in Bangkok, Thailand. This study identified alternative narratives on the purpose and means of ‘recovery’ with implications for who ultimately benefits and who remains at risk. The study also found both formal and informal loss and damage systems were involved in recoveries. The findings of this study are important for improving the performance of loss and damage systems, both existing and planned, and, ultimately, supporting more climate resilient development that is inclusive.

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JOURNAL ARTICLE: Regional Clustering of Chemicals and Waste Multilateral Environmental Agreements to Improve Enforcement

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Publication date: August 2017

Publication: International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics

Author: Ning Liu, Carl Middleton

For further details of the article, visit Springer.

 

Abstract:

Illegal trade in chemicals and waste has brought severe negative impacts to human health and the environment. Fragmentation of multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) has challenged implementation due to disconnects and inconsistencies between regimes that causes inefficiencies, overlapping norms, and duplication. Since the late 1990s, there have been proposals to cluster MEAs organizationally and functionally to create synergies between them. This paper evaluates whether the proposition on clustering of MEAs has worked in practice through an empirical case study of the “MEA Regional Enforcement Network (REN)”. MEA REN sought to cluster at the organizational and functional elements of the Basel Convention, the Rotterdam Convention, the Stockholm Convention, and the Montreal Protocol in South and Southeast Asia. Regarding organizational clustering, through co-organizing regional network meetings cross-MEA learning was enhanced and costs were saved, but co-locating regional offices proved more challenging. For the clustering of functional elements, MEA enforcement was ultimately strengthened through several joint initiatives across MEAs. However, not all functions could be clustered as anticipated, including data reporting due to incompatibility between the conventions and overall workloads. The paper concludes with recommendations for future environmental enforcement.

JOURNAL ARTICLE: Watershed or Powershed?: A Critical Hydropolitics of the ‘Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Framework’

JOURNAL ARTICLE: Watershed or Powershed?: A Critical Hydropolitics of the ‘Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Framework’

By Dr. Carl Middleton and Dr. Jeremy Allouche

The countries sharing the Lancang-Mekong River are entering a new era of hydropolitics with a growing number of hydropower dams throughout the basin. Three ‘powersheds’, conceptualised as physical, institutional and political constructs that connect dams to major power markets in China, Thailand and Vietnam, are transforming the nature-society relations of the watershed. 

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JOURNAL ARTICLE: Improvements To Enforcement of Multilateral Environmental Agreements To Control International Shipments of Chemicals And Wastes

JOURNAL ARTICLE: Improvements To Enforcement of Multilateral Environmental Agreements To Control International Shipments of Chemicals And Wastes

By Liu Ning, Vira Somboon, Surichai Wun’gaeo, Carl Middleton, Charit Tingsabadh and Sangchan Limjirakan.

This article discusses how and why law enforcement operations can help countries to implement chemical and waste-related multilateral environmental agreements in a more efficient and effective way. The research explores key barriers and factors for organising law enforcement operations, and recommends methods to improve law enforcement operations to address illegal trade in hazardous waste and harmful chemicals.

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JOURNAL ARTICLE: Monopolization Strengthens: Thailand’s Asian Democracy Index in 2015

JOURNAL ARTICLE: Monopolization Strengthens: Thailand’s Asian Democracy Index in 2015

On May 22, 2014, Thailand underwent its most recent military coup that prompted the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) to govern the country. This research demonstrates that Thailand under military rule has entered a period of re-monopolization of political, economic and civil society power, that is in contrast with the measures of democracy as understood through the lens of Asian Democracy Index (ADI).

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JOURNAL ARTICLE: Technical Veil, Hidden Politics: Interrogating the Power Linkages Behind the Nexus

JOURNAL ARTICLE: Technical Veil, Hidden Politics: Interrogating the Power Linkages Behind the Nexus

By Jeremy Allouche, Carl Middleton (International Researcher, CSDS), and Dipak Gyawali.

The nexus is still very much an immature concept. Although it is difficult to disagree with a vision of integration between water, food and energy systems, there are fewer consensuses about what it means in reality. While some consider its framing to be too restrictive (excluding climate change and nature), particular actors see it as linked to green economy and poverty reduction, while others emphasise global scarcity and value chain management. The nexus debates, however, mask a bigger debate on resource inequality and access, contributing to social instability.

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JOURNAL ARTICLE: The Rise And Implications of the Water-energy-food Nexus In Southeast Asia Through An Environmental Justice Lens

JOURNAL ARTICLE: The Rise And Implications of the Water-energy-food Nexus In Southeast Asia Through An Environmental Justice Lens

By Carl Middleton (International Researcher, CSDS), Jeremy Allouche, Dipak Gyawali and Sarah Allen.

This article maps the rise of the water-energy-food 'nexus' as a research, policy and project agenda in mainland Southeast Asia. We argue that introducing the concept of environmental justice into the nexus, especially where narratives, trade-offs and outcomes are contested, could make better use of how the nexus is framed, understood and acted upon.

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JOURNAL ARTICLE: Transboundary Water and Electricity Governance in Mainland Southeast Asia: Linkages, Disjunctures and Implications.

JOURNAL ARTICLE: Transboundary Water and Electricity Governance in Mainland Southeast Asia: Linkages, Disjunctures and Implications.

By Carl Middleton and John Dore

In mainland Southeast Asia, plans for extensive hydropower development and regional power trade are increasingly underway with implications for transboundary water governance. This paper maps out the context, drivers, tools and arenas of water and electricity decision making, and examines the linkages and disjunctures between regional electricity and water governance frameworks.

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JOURNAL ARTICLE: The Polarization of Thai Democracy: The Asian Democracy Index in Thailand

JOURNAL ARTICLE: The Polarization of Thai Democracy: The Asian Democracy Index in Thailand

By Naruemon Thabchumpon (Director, CSDS), Jakkrit Sangkhamanee, Carl Middleton (International Researcher, CSDS), and Weera Wongsatjachock.

In recent years, explanation of Thailand’s democratization has been subject to intense debate. Some political experts say that Thai politics is monopolized by a few groups of political elites (see for example Thitinan 2014). Others have argued that various politically influential movements exist in Thailand, including those that support elections and that oppose corruption. In this paper, we argue that Thai democracy is no longer a game of elites, but that to a certain but significant extent laypeople have become involved in different spheres to assert their political, economic, and social influence or, through the lens of Cho (2012), acted to de-monopolize power. 

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