Key Issues

Coal-fired power plants in Myanmar
ASEAN Civil Society
Dawei Deep Seaport and Industrial Estate Development Project is located in Nabule village, Yebyu township in Tanintharyi Division of Southern Burma/Myanmar. The Government of Burma/Myanmar has granted the rights to use designated area in Dawei to Italian-Thai Development Public Company Limited (ITD).The Dawei Project will be 8 times larger than the Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate in Rayong province, eastern Thailand. It will include a deep-sea port, a coal-fired power plant, petrochemical and other related industries, which will cause massive pollution. The project also requires massive relocation of over 30,000 local people.
A renewed push to build hydropower dams on the lower Mekong mainstream is threatening the river's ecosystems, aquatic resources and the fishery-dependent livelihoods of millions of people.
Salween is the only major river that remains free-flowing in Southeast Asia. It originates in the Tibetan highlands, flows through China’s Yunnan province into Shan and Kayah states in Burma, before entering Thailand at Mae Sariang district, Mae Hong Son province. Forming the border between Thailand and Burma, the Salween River runs for 127 kilometres before re-entering Burma at Sob Moei and emptying into the Andaman Sea at Mawlamyine.
The Nam Theun 2 Hydroelectric Project, is located in the Nakai Plateau, in Khammouane province, is the largest and most controversial hydroelectric project in Lao PDR. The US $1.3 billion dam, with a generation capacity of 1,070 megawatts (MW) is a trans-basin diversion project, in which a 48 metre-high dam would be built on the Nam Theun River, a tributary of the Mekong River, and reservoir water would be released from the project’s power station into another Mekong tributary, the Xe Bang Fai River.
The Mekong River Commission (MRC), established with the signing of the 1995 Mekong Agreement by the four Lower Mekong Basin countries - Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, was meant to signal a new era of cooperation and a commitment to sustainable development, environmental protection and management of the Mekong River for a wide range of users.
Natural resource utilization, allocation and management in the Mekong region have fallen into disarray over the last two decades. Governments of the respective Mekong countries have adopted policies of intensive natural resource exploitation in stark contradiction to their policies on environmental protection and rural social welfare. Implementation priorities often rest with policies on exploitation, despite severe degradation of the environment, marginalization of the rural poor in the respective societies, even complete destruction of their traditional way of life. This desperate situation forces either migration towards uncertain futures elsewhere or conflict.
The “Upper Mekong Navigation Improvement Project” or “rapids blasting project” is one of the most controversial projects in the Mekong River. It involves the blasting of various rapids and rocks and dredging of channels to facilitate all year round navigation of large commercial vessels along the Mekong River stretching from Yunnan in southwest China to Luang Prabang in northern Laos. China is the principal actor promoting, funding and carrying out the project, which was given the green light after Burma, Thailand and Laos signed an agreement endorsing the project in 2000.
Internationally, the construction and operation of nuclear power plants have been characterised by long delays, cost-overruns, and widespread public opposition. Contrary to claims by pro-nuclear advocates, there is still no safe way to store nuclear waste which can remain radioactive for hundreds of thousands of years. Yet, nuclear power has resurfaced in the Mekong Region, with Thailand, Burma, and Vietnam announcing plans to build various types of nuclear reactors.
The Samut Prakarn Wastewater Management Project (Klong Dan) has been surrounded by controversy over corruption, mismanagement of the ADB loan funds, violations of ADB’s policies, flawed project design, lack of local people’s participation in decision-making, and concerns over the project’s planned release of wastewater containing industrial, heavy metals and toxic waste into the coastal ecosystem of Samut Prakarn province of the Gulf of Thailand
Biofuel by Decree, a new report by the Ethnic Community Development Forum, unmasks Burma’s bio-energy fiasco. The report details how the military’s nation-wide campaign to plant eight million acres of the toxic tree Jatropha curcas for biodiesel production is resulting in forced labor, land confiscation, loss of income and food insecurity.