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Some countries really are more corrupt than others

According to this fantastic commentary on corruption by Alina Mungiu-Pippidi for Foreign Policy, “the rule of law and control of corruption are nearly synonymous”. Without rule of law, she says, attempts to reign in corruption through legal mechanisms will only be captured by the corrupt system in place. The way forward? The defeat of corruption, she says, is not achieved “by importing legal silver bullets from abroad,” it is a political process enabled “through a mix of policies advanced by domestic advocates”. Read on!

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China builds new framework governing civil society organizations

The National Law Review breaks down highlights from China’s controversial new Law on the Management of the Activities of Foreign Non-Governmental Organizations Within China into two parts: the first looks at Charity Law, the second, Foreign NGO Law.

An alternate past/future for Mekong River dams under the UN Watercourses Convention

This three-part article by international water law consultant Rémy Kinna looks at dams in the Mekong. Kinna examines the existing legal framework for regulating dam development in the region and how its legal gaps and ambiguities have led to ongoing disputes (particularly in regard to the Xayaburi Dam in Laos), and how to improve dispute resolution and strengthen water governance across the Mekong River mainstream and its tributaries under the UN Watercourses Convention.

Mekong Delta loses half of silt to upstream dams: scientists

A soft shield of silt that took over 6,000 years to form and which protects the ‘rice bowl’ of Vietnam against intrusion from seawater, erosion and declining groundwater levels has been seriously stripped by Chinese dams on the Mekong River, say experts. Half of the river’s essential sediment is now trapped upstream and the delta may be in jeopardy of disappearing altogether. Thanh Nien News reports.

Why linking rivers won’t work

India’s proposed Interlinking of Rivers (ILR) project would entail the creation of 3,000 large dams and “environmental tinkering on an epic scale”. Proponents say ILR is the “only way forward” for a country facing a projected population of 1.6 billion in 2050. Detractors say “there’s simply no evidence to justify what the government wants to attempt”.

The myth of sustainable hydropower

2016 will be a decisive year for hydropower projects on the mainstream Mekong. Southeast-Asia based journalist, Tom Fawthrop, looks at the notion of ‘nice dams’ that supposedly don’t inflict too much damage on their surrounding environments and their opposite reality: the hidden costs of hydropower and the irreversible destruction of unique ecosystems.