Laos

The nearly 5,000 km. of the Mekong River, which crosses six countries and sustains the lives and livelihoods of millions, is under severe threat due to the on-going construction of large scale dams. Communities are resisting what could be the final struggle to save some of the remaining parts of the River… of their lives.
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.
Certification schemes for tree plantations initially generated many expectations, promising a true transformation. Yet after all these years, we can definitely conclude that what the RSPO and FSC also have in common is that they will not meet those expectations.
The government of Lao PDR has decided to establish the country as “the battery of Asia” by developing major hydropower dams along the Mekong River. The recent collapse of the Xe Pian -Xe Namnoy dam, however, accentuated once again the many risks of such projects.
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.
“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.”