Sustainable regional economic integration

Precarity and Vulnerability Under Expansion of Rubber Plantation in Northern Laos and Northern Shan State

In northern Laos and Northern Shan State in Myanmar, there is a rapid expansion of rubber plantation, both by large economic concession and by small holder farmers themselves. The impact of the introduction of rubber is different from place to place. This paper analyzed the situation before and after the introduction of rubber in two villages in Northern Shan State, and two in Luang Namtha province, Lao PDR.

SUMERNET panel on "Robust Decision Support" for policymaking on water at the 2016 Greater Mekong Forum in Bangkok

SUMERNET partners will be organizing a panel on the Robust Decision Support (RDS) tool for policy decision-making on water issues at the 2016 Greater Mekong Forum on Water, Food and Energy in Bangkok during 9-11 November. The panel (session no. 18) will be held on Thursday 10th November from 1.30-3.00 pm at Room No. 3, Patcharawadee 1 at Prince Hotel, Bangkok.


Two short films on the water-energy-food nexus in the Mekong

In Asia and globally, the water-energy-food nexus has received growing attention from policy makers, researchers, and practitioners. Whilst the nexus as a concept seems to be gaining momentum among experts, it is also subject to scrutiny. These two short films look at the nexus in the Mekong Region through filmed panel debates comprising local and regional perspectives.


Rubber concessions in the Mekong Region: A gender perspective

In Cambodia and Lao PDR, rubber and cash crop plantations have expanded into farmlands posing difficulties for local people, and in particular, women farmers. In Cambodia’s northeastern province of Rattanakiri, farmers practice rotational cultivation that eeds to maintain certain fallow periods without farming. However, the government does not recognise these farming practices so that land left fallow is treated as unoccupied land and given out for “economic concessions” mainly to agribusiness companies for planting cash crops like rubber. In Lao PDR, as land becomes a scarce commodity in a patriarchal society, women are further put at a disadvantage since women are the ones who are responsible for upland rice cultivation for home consumption.


SUMERNET roundtable explores building social and environmental safeguards for a Mekong Region facing rapid economic integration and a changing climate

Climate change, regional integration and safeguards were highlighted by speakers at a SUMERNET roundtable at the regional symposium on the role of social and environmental safeguards held by the Mekong Partnership for the Environment (MPE) in Bangkok on 25-27 August 2015.


Gendered impact of cross-border agricultural investment: Case of rubber plantations in northern Laos, Myanmar, and Cambodia (GIAI-Rubber)

The Mekong Region has seen a large number of cross-border investment projects in the field of agriculture. In Lao PDR and Myanmar, the investors come from China, whereas Cambodia receives investments from Vietnam. There has been considerable research on the impacts of contract farming with Chinese companies, and rubber plantation investments. However, most of the studies so far have used the household as the basic unit of analysis, and do not attempt to differentiate its impact on women and men.


Impacts of the East-West Economic Corridor on local livelihoods and forest resources in the Mekong River region: Case studies of selected forest-dependent villages in Vietnam, Lao PDR and Myanmar (EWEC-FC)

The East–West Economic Corridor (EWEC) is an economic development program initiated in 1998 to promote development and economic integration of the four ASEAN countries: Myanmar, Thailand, Lao PDR and Vietnam.
EWEC created the first transportation corridor – operational since 2006 – running the entire width of mainland Southeast Asia with a distance of 1,450 kilometres. The EWEC contains many forest-dependent villages with a significant number of people living below the poverty line. But there is an absence of information on the impacts of EWEC in particular on local livelihoods and on other social and environmental issues.


Impact of urbanization of a small town on its hinterlands: Perceptions of households in the hinterlands of Vang Vieng, Lao PDR

This research aimed to study the perceived impact of the urbanization of a small town on its hinterlands by choosing Vang Vieng in Lao PDR as a case study. A questionnaire survey was conducted with 315 households in 12 villages surrounding the town. Data were analyzed by descriptive statistics, mean ranking and multiple regression analysis. The research found that the top ten most negative kinds of impact centered on environmental problems.


SUMERNET flagship book now available

SUMERNET has published an edited compilation of empirical case studies titled "Climate Risks, Regional Integration, and Sustainability in the Mekong Region". This book brings together multi-country studies, each of which included significant engagement with boundary partners, to analyze the impacts of, and ways to adapt to, climate risks and unsustainable growth in a highly interdependent region.


Negotiating livelihoods in an urban hinterland: A study of fishing households at Thung Sang lake, Khon Kaen province

The research found that urban expansion and a public lake development project have resulted in the marginalization of poor landless fishing families. The marginalization process had two facets, namely the non-participative inclusion of fishing households into the development process, and the exclusion of fishing households by imposing the legitimacy of the development project and state law on the people. The article summarizes five important livelihood strategies which contributed to the people’s survival and well-being, and suggests ways to mitigate negative impacts and enhance positive impacts of development projects.