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  • OPINION

    Second Lao dam upsets neighbours

    News, Piyaporn Wongruang, Published on 03/11/2013

    » When Laos announced its intention to proceed with the Xayaburi hydropower project on the lower Mekong over the objections of neighbouring countries in the Mekong River Commission (MRC), it was feared that it would set a precedent.

  • OPINION

    Compromised solution won't win the day against forest encroachers

    News, Piyaporn Wongruang, Published on 09/06/2013

    » This month marks the two-year anniversary of the start of an unprecedented crackdown on forest encroachment by large resort developments in Thap Lan National Park. But after a series of spectacular raids led by park chief Taywin Meesap, some of them involving hundreds of rangers in night-time operations, the forest take-back operation has languished. The chief reason for this is the retirement of Damrong Pidech last year as head of the National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department. Mr Damrong gave Mr Taywin his full backing.

  • OPINION

    Pmove must fight much harder to win the good fight

    News, Piyaporn Wongruang, Published on 15/05/2013

    » Their plight represents what the poor suffer after decades of unfair development. Their protests used to grab headlines and shake the stability of governments. No longer.

  • OPINION

    Strong deeds needed from new forest chief

    News, Piyaporn Wongruang, Published on 30/12/2012

    » The Seub Nakhasathien Foundation paints a grim picture of the state of the country's forests with its 2012 report, which estimates that in the last 50 years Thailand has lost 50% of its forest cover. The report says forests now account for only about one-third of the country's total area, or about 171,000 square kilometres and there are now only five provinces that have a forest cover of more than 70%. No wonder the foundation's secretary-general, Sasin Chaloemlap, says, ''We cannot afford to lose more forest and forest encroachment cannot be allowed and tolerated any more.''

  • OPINION

    Dam resettlement strategies need review

    News, Piyaporn Wongruang, Published on 25/11/2012

    » Hydropower is often said to be less potentially harmful than other energy sources such as coal and nuclear, but when the issue of resettlement is thrown into the equation the true costs of hydropower mount rapidly. This is something dam developers themselves admitted at a recent Mekong Forum held in Hanoi in Vietnam.

  • OPINION

    Mekong 'hydro diplomacy' falling short

    News, Piyaporn Wongruang, Published on 11/11/2012

    » In a conference room in Chiang Rai recently, more than 100 water experts from around the world put their heads together to try to find new approaches to dealing with transborder water issues more effectively. Jargon flew about the room, especially the term "hydro diplomacy". Not surprisingly, a topic on everyone's lips was the Xayaburi dam project in in Laos, where last Wednesday, despite strong protests from locals and environmentalists and unsettled points of contention among Mekong River Commission (MRC) member states, Laos suddenly proceeded with a ground-breaking ceremony at the construction site to mark the official start of the project.

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