Yangon, Myanmar – 6th December 2018
On the 4-6th of December 2018, the Inya Lake Hotel in Yangon hosted the 6th annual Greater Mekong Forum on Water, Food and Energy. This year, around 30 organizations held sessions on a diverse range of topics, from smart innovations for better decision making in Deltas from the Delft University of Technology, Improving Forest-Fungi Systems Agroforestry from the Kunming Institute of Botany, to cross-border water cooperation through sub-national and community-led initiatives in the Ganges and Mekong basins from Oxfam.
Hydropower was a recurring theme – from Oxfam’s session about civil society perspectives of the Strategic Environmental Assessment of Hydropower in Myanmar to a session from Spectrum SDKN about Gender and Resettlement at the Upper Paunglaung Relocation Villages in Myanmar.
This year, ICEM hosted a session under the sub-theme ‘innovative water governance’ on the role of environmental assessment tools in achieving sustainability and resilience in river basin development. Three studies were presented: the SEA of hydropower in Myanmar, SEA of the Lancang-Mekong river development plan, and the ESIA of river training works on the Ayeyarwady, downstream of Mandalay and a panel debate with three regional experts. The presentations aimed to answer three key questions: what lessons can be drawn from these studies to guide future SEA/ESIAs, what are the outstanding issues for resolution and concern, and what are some priority developments which would benefit from these assessment tools. There was great audience participation and enthusiastic discussion, with a key takeaway being the need for greater, and meaningful participation of local people.
ICEM also presented case studies of climate change impact and vulnerability at seven wetland sites on the Mekong at the ‘ShareFair’ poster exhibition space. The case studies are part of the “Basin-wide Climate Change Impact and Vulnerability Assessment of Wetlands in the Lower Mekong Basin for Adaptation Planning” project and provides the foundation for scaling up the assessment methodology to other wetlands within the basin.