GWI participates in Greater Mekong Forum on Water, Food and Energy
The Greater Mekong Forum on Water, Food and Energy is one of the largest ‘knowledge-sharing’ events held annually within mainland Southeast Asia. The Forum helps to facilitate dialogue between the diverse stakeholders involved in water governance, and is attended by policymakers, non-governmental organisations, development agencies, and the private sector.
Convened by the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Energy, sponsored by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and hosted by the International Water Management Institute, the 2018 Forum took place at Inya Lake Hotel in Yangon, Myanmar, on 4-6 December 2018.
The theme was ‘Economic Development and the Rivers of the Greater Mekong’, and the UNSW Global Water Institute (UNSW-GWI) was represented by Dr Pichamon Yeophantong (Senior Lecturer, UNSW Canberra at the Australian Defence Force Academy). At the invitation of Vietnam’s Institute of Water Resources Planning, Dr Yeophantong presented during the Forum on the topic of sustainable hydropower and transboundary water policymaking in Southeast Asia.
We are now seeing the rise of new local and transnational actors that are exerting a growing influence over policy-making and governance outcomes
Dr Pichamon Yaophantong, Senior Lecturer, UNSW Canberra
Her presentation was delivered as part of a panel on ‘Towards more effective transboundary water cooperation in the Mekong Basin and implications for the Water-Food-Energy security’. Dr Yeophantong spoke on the key socioeconomic and environmental challenges posed by large-scale hydropower dams to transboundary water governance in the Mekong region, while recognising emerging sources of institutional innovation towards more ‘responsible’ hydropower development.
“We are now seeing the rise of new local and transnational actors that are exerting a growing influence over policy-making and governance outcomes within this space,” said Dr Yeophantong.
“My presentation was, in part, based on research I’ve been conducting for almost a decade now on hydropolitics, policy entrepreneurship in water governance, and China’s dam-building on the Lancang-Mekong River as well as on other major rivers in the region.”
The panel session was followed by vibrant Q&A session. It was chaired by Ha Thanh Lan from the Institute of Water Resources Planning, and included three other presenters: Dr Dao Trong Tu from the Centre for Sustainable Water Resources Development and Adaptation to Climate Change; Professor Tuantong Jutagate from Ubon Ratchathani University; and Dr Ratha Chea from the University of Battambang. Each of the presenters spoke on different but related aspects of Mekong River governance, including on the fisheries management and the role of the Mekong River Commission.
The Forum and panel session provided a valuable platform to showcase the work being done by UNSW-GWI, and to explore opportunities for collaboration in water-related research and training in areas of common interest, such as advancing inclusive and sustainable water cooperation in the Mekong region.