Mekong farmers struggle as fertilizer prices rise

Farmers harvest rice in Thailand’s northern Nan province. PHOTO: Paritta Wangkiat

mekong eye – By Phafan NokaeoTran Nguyen and Sao Phal Niseiy

26 September 2022 at 8:25

Rising fertilizer costs decimate poor Mekong farmers’ livelihoods despite their vital role in feeding millions.

BANGKOK, THAILAND ― Skyrocketing prices for fertilizers and agricultural production has pushed farmers in the Mekong region into severe debt and poverty.

Many have been forced to abandon their farms or have been unable to pay their debts and have lost their land, despite their roles in ensuring food security for millions of people.   

“This is the worst year for farmers. Everything is more expensive, except rice prices, and they keep dropping,” said Prasert Tangthong, 58, a farmer with a small holding in Sing Buri province in central Thailand.

Tiếp tục đọc “Mekong farmers struggle as fertilizer prices rise”

U.N. council demands end to Myanmar violence in first resolution in decades

By Michelle Nichols

reuters.com

https://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.549.0_en.html#goog_206340488

U.N. council adopts first Myanmar resolution in decades

UNITED NATIONS, Dec 21 (Reuters) – The U.N. Security Council adopted its first resolution on Myanmar in 74 years on Wednesday to demand an end to violence and urge the military junta to release all political prisoners, including ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Myanmar has been in crisis since the army took power from Suu Kyi’s elected government on Feb. 1, 2021, detaining her and other officials and responding to pro-democracy protests and dissent with lethal force.

It has long been split on how to deal with the Myanmar crisis, with China and Russia arguing against strong action. They both abstained from the vote on Wednesday, along with India. The remaining 12 members voted in favor.

“China still has concerns,” China’s U.N. Ambassador Zhang Jun told the council after the vote. “There is no quick fix to the issue … Whether or not it can be properly resolved in the end, depends fundamentally, and only, on Myanmar itself.”

He said China had wanted the Security Council to adopt a formal statement on Myanmar, not a resolution.

Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said Moscow did not view the situation in Myanmar as a threat to international peace and security and therefore believed it should not be dealt with by the U.N. Security Council.

Myanmar citizens protest in Bangkok
Myanmar citizens who live in Thailand, hold a portrait of former Myanmar state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi as they protest against the execution of pro-democracy activists, at Myanmar embassy in Bangkok, Thailand July 26, 2022. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken welcomed the resolution’s adoption. “This is an important step by the Security Council to address the crisis and end the Burma military regime’s escalating repression and violence against civilians,” he said in a statement.

‘FIRST STEP’

Until now the council had only agreed formal statements on Myanmar, where the army also led a 2017 crackdown on Rohingya Muslims that was described by the United States as genocide. Myanmar denies genocide and said it was waging a legitimate campaign against insurgents who attacked police posts.

Tiếp tục đọc “U.N. council demands end to Myanmar violence in first resolution in decades”

China Announces New ASEAN Belt & Road Initiative Projects Centered Around Cambodia

The Phnom Penh-Bavet Highway which will ultimately link the Cambodian and Vietnamese capital cities

aseanbriefing.com

The 2022 ASEAN summit took place at the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh, this past weekend, with China as an official guest. At the event, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang announced Beijing’s approval of Chinese investment in significant infrastructure projects in the ASEAN region.  

Among these is a US$1.6 billion expressway to be built from Phnom Penh to Bavet, at the Cambodian-Vietnamese border, and financial support for a rail link between Phnom Penh, Bangkok, and Vientiane, Laos, from which a high-speed rail link has already been constructed into China. 

Tiếp tục đọc “China Announces New ASEAN Belt & Road Initiative Projects Centered Around Cambodia”

Phỏng vấn Ngô Thế Vinh – người đi dọc 4.800km sông Mekong

NĐT –  10:05 | Chủ nhật, 15/05/2016 0

LTS. Gần 20 năm tâm huyết với các vấn đề trên dòng Mekong cũng như đồng bằng sông Cửu Long (ĐBSCL), bác sĩ Ngô Thế Vinh không chỉ là một nhà văn với hai tác phẩm Cửu Long cạn dòng, Biển Đông dậy sóng và Mekong – dòng sông nghẽn mạch, ông còn là một nhà hoạt động môi trường bền bỉ. Ông đã có những chuyến đi dọc dòng Mekong dài 4.800km, từ Tây Tạng đổ xuống Biển Đông. Người Đô Thị có cuộc phỏng vấn ông Ngô Thế Vinh về các vấn đề nóng bỏng hiện nay trên dòng Mekong và ĐBSCL.

Thưa, dù đã 17 năm trôi qua, từ những chuyến đi dọc dòng sông Mekong dài 4.800km, bức tranh sống động mà ông “phác họa” về những tác hại khủng khiếp do các con đập thủy điện gây ra cho đời sống người dân lưu vực sông Mekong đến nay vẫn nóng hổi tính thời sự. Từ những dự cảm rất sớm về những hậu quả do các đập thủy điện gây ra trên dòng Mekong và cho ĐBSCL nói riêng, ông nhận định gì về thực trạng hiện nay?

Năm 2000, khi nói “Cửu Long cạn dòng”, nhiều người xem đó là phát biểu “nghịch lý” bởi đó là năm có lụt lớn ở miền Tây. Một vị tu sĩ đang tất bật lo việc cứu trợ, mới nghe tên cuốn sách đã phát biểu: “Đang lũ lụt ngập trời với nhà trôi người chết mà lại nói “Cửu Long cạn dòng” là thế nào?” Nhưng cần hiểu rằng lũ và hạn tương ứng với mùa mưa và mùa khô là chu kỳ tự nhiên đã có hàng ngàn năm trên dòng Mekong và các vùng châu thổ, và đến nay thì mức độ càng trầm trọng và gay gắt.

Chúng ta không thể đổ lỗi hết cho “thiên tai”, mà cần can đảm gọi cho đúng tên những yếu tố “nhân tai” bởi do chính con người gây ra qua suốt quá trình phát triển không bền vững và có tính tự hủy từ nhiều thập niên qua, đã làm gãy đổ sự cân bằng của cả một hệ sinh thái vốn phức tạp nhưng cũng hết sức mong manh của dòng Mekong.

Băng qua Biển Hồ đến khu Bảo tồn sinh thái Tonle Sap (nguồn: tư liệu Ngô Thế Vinh)

Tiếp tục đọc “Phỏng vấn Ngô Thế Vinh – người đi dọc 4.800km sông Mekong”

Cambodian mega dam’s resurrection on the Mekong ‘the beginning of the end’

mongabay – by Gerald FlynnNehru Pry on 15 September 2022

  • Cambodian authorities have greenlit studies for a major hydropower dam on the Mekong River in Stung Treng province, despite a ban on dam building on the river that’s been in place since 2020.
  • Plans for the 1,400-megawatt Stung Treng dam have been around since 2007, but the project, under various would-be developers, has repeatedly been shelved over criticism of its impacts.
  • This time around, the project is being championed by Royal Group, a politically connected conglomerate that was also behind the hugely controversial Lower Sesan 2 dam on a tributary of the Mekong, prompting fears among local communities and experts alike.
  • This story was supported by the Pulitzer Center’s Rainforest Investigations Network where Gerald Flynn is a fellow.

STUNG TRENG, Cambodia — A long-dormant plan to build a mega dam on the mainstream of the Mekong River in Cambodia’s northeastern Stung Treng province appears to have been revived this year, leaving locals immediately downstream of the potential sites worried and experts confounded.

Tiếp tục đọc “Cambodian mega dam’s resurrection on the Mekong ‘the beginning of the end’”

Thai court suspends Prime Minister Prayuth; Prawit made acting PM

asia.nikkei.com

5-4 decision gives judges time to consider opposition’s term limit petition

Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha: A surprising Constitutional Court ruling on Aug. 24 temporarily removes Prayuth from office.   © Reuters

APORNRATH PHOONPHONGPHIPHAT, Nikkei staff writerAugust 24, 2022 16:12 JSTUpdated on August 24, 2022 20:08 JST

BANGKOK — Thailand’s Constitutional Court on Wednesday suspended Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha from duty until it rules on a petition filed by opposition parties that the one-time army chief has served beyond the constitutionally mandated eight years.

Prayuth first awarded himself the prime minister post in 2014, after staging a military coup.

“The court has determined by a 5-4 vote to suspend Gen. Prayuth from the duties of Prime Minister from Aug. 24 onward until the court reaches a [final] verdict,” the court said in a statement.

While Prayuth remains suspended from duty, Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan will serve as a caretaker prime minister, said Wissanu Krea-Ngam, another deputy prime minister and the government’s legal expert. Prawit is the most senior deputy.

Tiếp tục đọc “Thai court suspends Prime Minister Prayuth; Prawit made acting PM”

The World Responsible for Myanmar Becoming Failed State: National Unity Government foreign minister Minister of Myanmar

National Unity Government foreign minister Daw Zin Mar Aung. / The Irrawaddy

By THE IRRAWADDY 1 April 2022

Challenging the regime’s legitimacy at home and abroad, Myanmar’s shadow National Unity Government (NUG) foreign minister Daw Zin Mar Aung, 45, has engaged with foreign governments and parliaments, international aid agencies and Myanmar’s many armed groups.

However, the elected lawmaker from the ousted National League for Democracy and winner of the 2012 International Women of Courage Award said international assistance is largely limited to moral support.

She exclusively tells The Irrawaddy about the importance of international support, including funding and arms, Myanmar’s friends and foes and how it receives different treatment from Ukraine.

It has been more than a year since the revolution against military rule was launched. We heard the revolution has received no assistance from foreign countries. Why is that?

It is mainly because the international community regards the crisis as a domestic issue if we compare it with the Ukraine war. It is widely believed that countries should not interfere in domestic affairs.

Yangon in February last year protests after the military coup.

Tiếp tục đọc “The World Responsible for Myanmar Becoming Failed State: National Unity Government foreign minister Minister of Myanmar”

Floods and Migrants of Vietnam’s Mekong Delta: 25 Lessons from the Data

mekongeye.com

By Le Thu MachHoang Long Cao and Vu The Cuong

11 February 2022 at 10:10 (Updated on 25 April 2022 at 14:37)

Data on agricultural, hydropower, saltwater intrusion and rainfall patterns in Vietnam Mekong Delta explains where the country’s food comes from, why it’s disappearing and what can be done about it.

The fertile Mekong Delta is a crucial region for Vietnam’s continued food and economic security but a variety of factors have wreaked havoc on how Vietnam grows food, catches fish and ultimately survives a radically changing environment. Here, reporters analyze 20 years of data on agricultural, hydropower, saltwater intrusion and rainfall patterns in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta (VMD) to explain where the country’s food comes from, why it’s disappearing and what can be done about it.

1. Disappearing waters

Vietnam’s flood plains are disappearing, and fish, rice and people along with it. The flood peak in Tan Chau and Chau Doc in 2020 is only about 60% of that in 2002. From now on, VMD will have to wait from 50 to 100 years to have a big flood season. Within 15 years, the amount of fish caught in An Giang has plummeted by two-thirds.

Tiếp tục đọc “Floods and Migrants of Vietnam’s Mekong Delta: 25 Lessons from the Data”

First water level monitoring station opens atop lower Mekong basin

VNE – By Viet Anh   April 2, 2022 | 07:45 am GMT+7

First water level monitoring station opens atop lower Mekong basin

A general view of the future site of the Luang Prabang dam is seen on the Mekong River outskirt of Luang Prabang province, Laos, February 5, 2020. Photo by Reuters/Panu Wongcha-um

The Mekong River Commission (MRC) has unveiled the Xieng Kok water level monitoring station in Laos that’s expected to reduce downstream vulnerability to unexpected flows.

This could benefit millions who live downstream the Mekong River, an MRC Friday press release said.

Tiếp tục đọc “First water level monitoring station opens atop lower Mekong basin”

Joint Statement on Armed Forces Day in Myanmar

MEDIA NOTE

US Department of StateOFFICE OF THE SPOKESPERSON

MARCH 26, 2022

Following is a joint statement on Armed Forces Day in Myanmar issued by the High Representative on behalf of the European Union and the Foreign Ministers of Albania, Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Georgia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Montenegro, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Norway, Palau, Republic of Korea, Serbia, Switzerland, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Begin text: 

On Armed Forces Day, we remember those killed and displaced by violence over the last year, including at least 100 people killed on this day alone one year ago.

Some countries continue to supply lethal assistance to Myanmar’s military regime, enabling its violence and repression. We urge all countries to support the people of Myanmar by immediately stopping the sale or transfer of arms, military equipment, materiel, dual-use equipment, and technical assistance to Myanmar, in line with UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/75/287.  We reiterate our call on the military to cease its violence and restore Myanmar’s path to democracy.

End text.

Mekong group urges better water management collaboration as record drought persists

VNE – By Reuters   January 14, 2022 | 09:57 am GMT+7

Mekong group urges better water management collaboration as record drought persistsA canal runs dry in An Giang Province of Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, March 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Khoa

The Mekong River Commission on Thursday called on China and Southeast Asian to better coordinate management of Mekong hydropower dams and reservoirs after three years of record low flows and extra dry conditions.

The Mekong River’s flow dropped to the lowest levels in more than six decades from 2019 to 2021 due to an increased number of reservoirs, dams and other water storage, a worsening of the climate situation and unusually low rainfall, a new MRC river flow report showed.

Dry conditions in the past three years have affected navigation, river ecosystems and riverbank stability in the region where tens of millions of people depend on the Mekong for their livelihoods.

Tiếp tục đọc “Mekong group urges better water management collaboration as record drought persists”

Myanmar:  current international efforts failing, urges ‘change of course

news.un.org

Conditions have 'worsened' in Myanmar following a military coup in February 2021, according to a UN human rights rapporteur.

22 September 2021Human Rights

The UN independent rights expert on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, told the UN Human Rights Council on Wednesday that conditions inside the country following the 1 February military coup have worsened, urging a “change of course” to prevent further human rights abuses and deaths.

According to Special Rapporteur Tom Andrews, since its power grab and overthrow of the democratically-elected Government, the junta and its forces have murdered more than 1,100 people, arbitrarily detained more than 8,000, and forcibly displaced more than 230,000 civilians, bringing the total number of internally placed persons in Myanmar to well over half a million.

Tiếp tục đọc “Myanmar:  current international efforts failing, urges ‘change of course”

Nguy cơ lớn từ việc xây dựng thủy điện trên sông Sê Kông

VCCIN – 15:12:45 | 3/4/2018

Các chuyên gia đến từ Tổ chức Bảo tồn Thiên nhiên Quốc tế (IUCN) và Viện Di sản Thiên nhiên Hoa Kỳ (NHI) mới đây đã đưa ra khuyến nghị cả Campuchia và Việt Nam sẽ phải chịu hậu quả nặng nề từ đập Sê Kông 1. Với Campuchia là sản lượng đánh bắt cá giảm đáng kể và với Việt Nam là giảm lượng trầm tích bồi đắp.


Sông Sê Kông bắt nguồn từ Thừa Thiên-Huế, Việt Nam chảy qua CHDCND Lào, và đổ vào Campuchia. Đây là dòng nhánh lớn cuối cùng của sông Mê Công chưa bị cản trở bởi các đập thủy điện và có tầm quan trọng đặc biệt, không thể thay thế được đối với an ninh lương thực của khu vực và với sức sản xuất của vùng Châu thổ Sông Mê Công. Hai sông nhánh lớn khác, cùng với Sê Kông tạo thành các lưu vực 3S, là Srepôk và Se San đã bị chặn ngay trước nơi chúng nhập với dòng chính sông Mê Công bởi đập Hạ Sesan 2 được hoàn thành vào cuối năm 2017.

Tiếp tục đọc “Nguy cơ lớn từ việc xây dựng thủy điện trên sông Sê Kông”

What does the data tell us about electricity pricing in Laos?

mekongeye.com

By Ekaphone Phouthonesy12 October 2021 at 1:30 (Updated on 18 October 2021 at 15:00)

Through a variety of data sources an evidence-based picture of electricity pricing and the electricity-generation business in Laos is revealed.

A 42-year-old resident of Thongsanang village in central Vientiane, nicknamed To, was upset after receiving an electricity bill in May that was almost twice as high as normal.

“I’m going to send a letter to EDL asking them to investigate this unusual increase in my bill,” he told friends at a local coffee shop.

“Normally, I pay around 900,000 kip (US$95) a month, but this month I had to pay 1.6 million kip (US$168),” said Mr To, a worker with a monthly salary of about 1.8 million kip (US$190).

Tiếp tục đọc “What does the data tell us about electricity pricing in Laos?”

Thiệt hại hàng nghìn tỷ do suy giảm nguồn nước sông Mê Công

Thứ Ba, 07-09-2021, 18:53Lưu vực sông Mekong. (Ảnh: Duy Khương/TTXVN)

NDSố lượng nước sông Mê Công từ thượng nguồn về đồng bằng sông Cửu Long năm 2020 giảm 157 tỷ m3 so với năm 2011. Lượng phù sa bùn cát năm cũng giảm tương ứng 14 triệu tấn so với năm 2017…

Trong khuôn khổ Đại hội Tổ chức các cơ quan Kiểm toán tối cao châu Á (ASOSAI) 15 diễn ra ngày từ ngày 6 đến 8/9 theo hình thức trực tuyến, Kiểm toán Nhà nước Việt Nam đã trình bày, chia sẻ báo cáo kết quả kiểm toán việc quản lý nguồn nước lưu vực sông Mê Công gắn với việc thực hiện mục tiêu phát triển bền vững.

Đây là một trong những nội dung quan trọng của Tuyên bố Hà Nội – sáng kiến được Việt Nam đề xuất với vai trò Chủ tịch Tổ chức các cơ quan Kiểm toán tối cao châu Á (ASOSAI) nhiệm kỳ 2018-2021 (Đại hội ASOSAI 14).

Tiếp tục đọc “Thiệt hại hàng nghìn tỷ do suy giảm nguồn nước sông Mê Công”