Development in the Mekong region, especially development trends and projects on the mainstream Mekong River itself, has long been a critical challenge and complicated issue for concerned parties and the public at large, and needs much understanding so that people can help one another find the way to share resources and live together in harmony.
The attempt was first challenged since China started to develop the upper part of the river by building a cascade of dams on the river in early 1990s. The challenge has become far critical especially in regard to the aspect concerning transboundary impacts as the Mekong countries become ambitious too and wish to build a cascade of dams, 11 so far, on the lower part of the river.
At this point, they have been more than half way, as the sixth dam project, Sanakham, is subject to the regional prior consultation process.
The question is; in times when development of the river has accelerated and posed a more serious threat, whether existing mechanisms to regulate water uses and mitigate impacts are sophisticated enough and catch up with such the speeding trend, and more critically, whether geopolitics in the region is still much at play and influences decisions made in regard to development in the region.
The Dialogue Forum, a monthly forum by Bangkok Tribune and its partners to “bridge the gap” and “connect the dots” of different views and opinions as well as bits of information on social and environmental issues to create one big picture for better understanding in society, has invited the public to explore the sustainable path for the Mekong region amid the increasing challenge in this 2020s at the recent Dialogue Forum 4: The Mekong runs dry? Governance in transition: A close look at current rules and geopolitics at play.
Here is the highlight of the forum.