Colonial and anti-colonial movements’ have deeply shaped the patterns and impacts of concessions in SE Asia. In some cases, communities have experienced dispossession through land grabs dressed as concessions. In others, concessions are part of a re-concentration of land holding. Either way, the concession model fits well with ideologies of modernisation.
The Mekong/ASEAN Environmental Week (MAEW) is an annual regional platform and process for deeper sharing among people in the region of Southeast Asia, where key actors can exchange, analyze and debate on emerging issues that significantly affect them. This year the focus was on “Redesign ASEAN: Peoples' Voices in World Crises." Discussions covered the environmental situation as well as the economic, political, and other aspects that impact the region and its people.
The industrial production of natural rubber has always been synonymous with destruction and exploitation. About 70% is used to manufacture tires. As the use of cars, trucks and airplanes increases, the use of rubber will also increase. And this does not come without controversy.
After 11 representatives of the Bunong ethnic group in Cambodia were denied visas to go to France to attend judicial proceedings against plantation company, Bolloré, the hearing was postponed until October. In 2015, Bunong peasants in Cambodia sued Bolloré group for destroying several hectares of forest in order to grow rubber. This action deprived the Bunong of their means of subsistence. The Bunong, a community that practices “an animistic belief based on the sacredness of forests,” also blame Bolloré for destroying their places of worship and centenarian trees considered to be deities.
A Chinese-backed plan to build Cambodia’s biggest dam could “literally kill” the Mekong river, according to a confidential government assessment seen by the newspaper The Guardian, which says that the proposed site at Sambor is the “worst possible place” for hydropower. The newspaper article states that dire impacts are predicted on river dolphins and one of the world’s largest migrations of freshwater fish, which in turn affect the many fisher villages that depend upon this river basin.
Launched by the Thai organization TERRA, this publication records the story of Mekong riparian communities from 25 sub-districts in 7 provinces of north-eastern Thailand (Isaan). It aims to bring to life the knowledge uniquely shaped by south-east Asia’s longest international river, the Mekong River. It illustrates the delicate complexity of the Mekong hydrology and sub-ecosystems and how these provide the basis of life and livelihoods to the people along the river. It also explores the local cultures and socioeconomic values attached to it with a hint of history and ways of life.
Different words, different sides
“The dams built on the Mekong mainstream and other rivers in the region have resulted in severe changes in the Mekong’s ecosystems, endangering life, livelihoods and the economy of the entire region. Indigenous peoples, women and children are most affected by these changes. The dams have also worsened the impacts of climate change that we are already facing.”