“Learning it the Hard Way”: Social safeguards norms in Chinese-led dam projects in Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia | Energy Policy

7. Januar 2017

Dieser Beitrag ist in Zusammenarbeit mit Dr. Nathanial Matthews, Dr. Katrina Charles und Dr. Matthew Walton verfasst worden und erschien in der begutachteten Fachzeitschrift Energy Policy.

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Abstract:

Chinese dam developers claim to construct at least every second dam worldwide. However, scholarly literature comprehensively investigating the social safeguard norms in these projects is rare. This paper analyses social safeguard norms in Chinese-led dam projects in Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia, hotspots of Chinese-led dam construction. We find that social safeguard norms adopted have significantly changed in the past 15 years. While Chinese dam developers claimed to adopt standards of the host countries upon the launch of China’s Going Out Policy in 2001, with occasional adoption of more demanding Chinese standards, they did not adopt international norms. In recent years, however, they increasingly take into account international norms. We argue that the root cause for this change is social mobilization, with the suspension of the Myitsone Dam in 2011 as a particular game changer. Enhanced social safeguard legislation in host countries and China, stricter rules of Chinese funders and cooperation of Chinese dam developers with international players have also facilitated this change.

The final version of the article (11 pages) is available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301421516307212

 


The NLD should start 2017 by scrapping the Myitsone dam | Myanmar Times

7. Januar 2017

Dieser Beitrag ist in Zusammenarbeit mit Dr. Matthew Walton verfasst worden und erschien in der burmesischen Tageszeitung Myanmar Times.

The arguments against the Myitsone Dam project are pervasive and convincing. Decision-makers in Myanmar should scrap the project as their first action in 2017.

The beginning of the year is always a time of prediction and thus peak season for pundits. Twelve months ago, many pundits on Myanmar predicted the National League for Democracy-led government would, once it assumed power, quickly scrap the controversial Myitsone dam project.

Three reasons were provided for this prediction.

First, the NLD-backed government would not dare to resume a project that would stand at the headwater of the Ayeyarwady River, widely recognised as Myanmar’s cultural birthplace and lifeline.

Second, the NLD government would not dare to resume a project that would mainly power China (in exchange for a mere US$17 billion paid over 50 years), while half the people in Myanmar still lack access to electricity.

Third, the NLD government would not dare to resume a project that had emerged as the major symbol of Myanmar’s political change, as hard evidence that the government had finally started listening to its people.

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Mapping the Social Impacts of ‘Damocles Projects’: The Case of Thailand’s (as yet Unbuilt) Kaeng Suea Ten Dam | Journal of International Development

3. Oktober 2016

Dieser Beitrag ist in Zusammenarbeit mit Teerapong Pomun und Dr. Matthew Walton verfasst worden und erschien in der begutachteten Fachzeitschrift Journal of International Development.

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Abstract:

Academic research on dams‘ social impacts traditionally focuses on ex-post resettlement impacts. We explore a specific subset of ex-ante resettlement impacts in this paper: ‘Damocles projects’, whose implementation is still uncertain. Our case study is Thailand’s Kaeng Suea Ten Dam whose implementation has been uncertain for 36 years. We find the cultural life of the communities studied has been significantly shaped by the looming construction of the dam. Furthermore, most villagers report extreme anxiety induced by the threat of the project. As a consequence, many have postponed private investments. The government has also withheld public infrastructure investments, further hampering the villages‘ economic development. Our research highlights the negative impacts induced by projects whose implementation is still uncertain.

The final version of the article (19 pages) is available at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jid.3246/full


How to avoid anti-dam-protests | Global Water Forum

12. September 2016

Dieser Beitrag erschien bei Global Water Forum

A major boom in dam development is under way globally with at least 3,700 dams either planned or already under construction. These are expected to increase global hydropower production by 73% to 1,700 GW in the coming years. 34 GW of capacity was added in 2015 alone, equivalent to 2.5 times of Africa’s current total installed capacity. Asia is a particular hotspot of dam construction with capacity additions of almost 28 GW in 2015, more than in any other region of the world.

Fifty years ago, engineers constructing large-scale infrastructure such as dams struggled most with the technical challenges of these mega-projects. However, the greatest obstacles faced by such projects today are almost always socio-political.  Indeed, public protests delay large dam projects all around the world. Examples of current contested large dam projects are Myanmar’s Myitsone Dam or Myanmar’s Mong Ton Dam, Brazil’s Belo Monte Dam and Mozambique’s Mphanda Nkuwa Dam.

Scholars have mostly explained the emergence of significant anti-dam-protests with the political system of a country. According to these scholars, significant anti-dam-protests emerge only if the country in which the dam is constructed is reasonably democratic; if a country is autocratic, no protests emerge. Protests such as those against Myanmar’s Myitsone Dam, which started when Myanmar was still under military rule, could therefore not be explained by these academicians.

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Multi-causal pathways of public opposition to dam projects in Asia: A fuzzy set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA) | Global Environmental Change

27. August 2016

Dieser Beitrag ist in Zusammenarbeit mit Dr. Katrina Charles und Dr. Matthew Walton verfasst worden und erschien in der begutachteten Fachzeitschrift Global Environmental Change.

[Download Pre-Print Manuscript]

Abstract:

Scholars overwhelmingly adopt the case study method when analyzing causal conditions inducing anti-dam-protests. We have carried out the first medium-N-study on this topic analyzing public opposition to 12 dam projects in Asia. For this purpose, we employ a fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) which is based on a thorough review of scholarly writings and press reports on the dam projects at question as well as an online survey and semi-structured interviews. We identify two causal recipes sufficient for the emergence of significant anti-dam-protests. First, lacking social safeguards in combination with the presence of political opportunity structures and higher levels of development are sufficient for significant anti-dam-protests to emerge. Second, lacking social safeguards in combination with rampant corruption and environmental risk induce these protests. Current scholarly literature particuarly emphasizes political opportunity structures and development as causal conditions inducing significant protests. Our findings build on this literature to highlight the importance of project-specific conditions.

The full article (13 pages) is available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959378016301273 


Why we urgently need more research on the social impacts of dams | Global Water Forum

6. Juni 2016

Dieser Beitrag erschien bei Global Water Forum

More dams are built these days than ever before. Their potential negative impacts are broad-ranging and must be thoroughly understood in order to address them. Yet the academic literature supposed to map these impacts remains limited in scope. This article outlines current biases in the scholarly work on the topic as well as these biases’ implications.

A major boom in dam development is under way with at least 3,700 dams1 either planned or already under construction. These are expected to increase global hydropower production by 73% to 1,700 GW1 in the coming years. 37 GW of capacity was added in 2014 alone2, equivalent to almost three times Africa’s current total installed capacity3. Asia is a particular hotspot of dam construction with capacity additions of almost 29 GW in 20142, more than in any other region of the world.

Yet dams remain extremely controversial due to their myriad environmental and social impacts. Dam-induced displacement is the most emotive issue4: up to 200 million people have been displaced because of infrastructure development in the past century5; possibly 80 million of these were displaced due to dams6. Examples of currently disputed large dam projects are Myanmar’s Myitsone Dam7, Brazil’s Belo Monte Dam8 or Mozambique’s Mphanda Nkuwa Dam9.

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Higher education that helps young land jobs | The Straits Times

5. Juni 2016

Dieser Beitrag ist in Zusammenarbeit mit Prof. Dr. Asit Biswas verfasst worden und erschien bei The Straits Times. Der Originalbeitrag erschien bei LSE IMPACT.

Changes are needed to equip students with employable skills that prepare them for real world

Approximately 290 million young people worldwide are neither studying nor working – that is almost a quarter of the world’s youth.

Unemployment rates even top 50 per cent in many countries for those aged between 15 and 24. For instance, the youth unemployment rate now stands at 54 per cent in Greece, 58 per cent in Spain and 53 per cent in South Africa.

Policymakers have claimed for years that education is the best insurance against unemployment. Indeed, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has repeatedly lobbied for countries to maximise tertiary education rates. Even Germany – supposedly Europe’s model student nowadays with its vocational education system – was criticised for not producing enough university graduates.

Yet, the truth is, post-secondary education does not automatically enhance job opportunities. Take Italy, where these days it actually seems harder for those with a college degree to find a job than those without one – 33 per cent of college graduates between 20 and 24 remain out of work, compared with 30 per cent of those with only a high school degree.

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