Thim, Ly: Dynamics of Planning Process in the Lower Mekong Basin : A Management Analysis for the Se San Sub-Basin. - Bonn, 2010. - Dissertation, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn.
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author = {{Ly Thim}},
title = {Dynamics of Planning Process in the Lower Mekong Basin : A Management Analysis for the Se San Sub-Basin},
school = {Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn},
year = 2010,
month = jul,

note = {The purpose of this study was to explore how various actors have responded to hydropower dam impacts in the Se San river basin as away to unpack how river basin management works in practice. The Se San river basin is shared by upstream Vietnam and downstream Cambodia. In 1993, Electricity of Vietnam began constructing 720 MW Yali-Falls dam in upstream Vietnam and the dam began to cause downstream impacts in Cambodia in early 2000. Since then conflict between the affected downstream communities and upstream dam builder has been emerging.
To study the responses, the concept of social interface of actor-oriented approach was used to analyze the arena of conflicts at three levels including local, national and international arenas.
At local arena, two interesting responses were found. First, the responses emerged from local communities in term of coping strategies to the dam impacts which were identified as very limited. Some of their coping strategies caused destruction of natural resources such as deforestation for new settlement and farming. Second, the responses were organized by NGO network in Cambodia and abroad to establish a grass-root NGO for advocacy against the dam building called Se San Protection Network. This network was built with a strong cooperation with other NGOs across national and international levels but a weak collaboration with government has been found. Although Vietnam and Cambodia governments recognized that the dam has an impact on local livelihoods, compensation for past, present and future losses was ignored and mitigation of impacts remains questions. As there is no tangible result from the NGO Network, some affected communities have lost their confidence in supporting advocacy network. If this continues to occur the strength of advocacy network tends to be weak in the future.
At national arena, responses were initially done through the Mekong River Commission for which Cambodia and Vietnam are the members. Through the intervention of the Mekong River Commission, a Joint Committee for Se San Management between Cambodia and Vietnam was established to discuss and negotiate a number of actions such as mitigation measures, monitoring water quality and impacts assessment study. No compensation issue has been discussed because Cambodia government did not make a demand. The analysis of this study revealed that mitigation measure was not fully implemented by the Joint Committee as water level fluctuation and water quality still remains an issue. In addition, notification system on dam water release was not either smoothly delivered to local communities because of poor communication facility. An important finding in this arena was that the Cambodia government did not give much attention to solve the Se San issue. One of the examples is that the Cambodia joint committee whose task is to negotiate with Vietnam had no budget to organize the meeting since 2004.
At international and global arenas the study found that the Electricity of Vietnam has used various strategies to avoid cost such as shifting the debate of the Yali-Falls dam impact from international and global levels to a bilateral one which was more favorable and easy to deal with. In this case, problem was scaled down from a larger to a smaller context. At international arena, the author also discovered that the role of the Mekong River Commission Secretariat in conflict resolution is weak as the Secretariat has no mandate to preside over conflict resolution but rather as a facilitation role to the parties. In this case negotiation between Cambodia and Vietnam was done bilaterally which is favorable for Vietnam to control the game.
The last finding of this study was that Cambodia government has an interest in dam building and has registered Electricity of Vietnam to build dams particularly for the section bordered to Vietnam to boast political and economic ties between the two countries.
Overall, the author concluded that the planning process in the Se San River basin highly served the interest of dam builders as well as national interest and failed to take into account the interest of local communities whose livelihoods depend on river system for a living. To meet their interests and goals, powerful actors zigzagged their strategies to avoid claims made by affected communities and NGOs. Future study should deal with how Mekong River Commission’s role shall be promoted to voice the power of local communities in dam development process.},

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