GMS Environment Media Roundup–October 2014

Greater Mekong Subregion

No time to lose for climate change action

Across East Asia, we have been witnessing deadly flooding and winds unleashed by another super typhoon. Local governments, people and communities are working to rebuild their shattered homes and livelihoods.

Source: VietnamNews (October 17, 2014)

Climate pact inked in Cambodia

Representatives of coastal communities in eight provinces of Viet Nam, Cambodia and Thailand endorsed the Preah Sihanouk Declaration last week, pledging to work more strategically to adapt to climate change.

Source: Vietnam News (October 27, 2014)

China, ASEAN sign MoU on disaster management

The Chinese government and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on Monday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) worth 50 million yuan (about 8.1 million U.S. dollars) on disaster management, an initial step to improve partnership between ASEAN and China in the sector.

Source: The Japan Times (October 6, 2014)

Mekong countries hold talks on trans-boundary haze pollution 

Five Mekong countries – Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam are stepping up their cooperation to mitigate trans-boundary haze pollution in the region. 

Source: Vientiane Times (October 28, 2014)

Laos' hydropower dams draw criticisms from neighbours

Laos is building a series of hydropower dams as it wants to transform the country into the "battery of Southeast Asia". But this ambition has drawn criticisms from its neighbours due to concerns over the impact on fishing communities and the environment.

Source: Channel News Asia (October 24, 2014)

Laos is acting responsibly on Mekong dam project

Environmental activists are once again lashing out at the Lao government and the intergovernmental Mekong River Commission (MRC) in the hope that hydropower projects on the Mekong will be delayed or cancelled.

Source: The Nation (October 24, 2014)

Experts say assessment of Laos’ dam unconvincing

Experts have cast doubt on the environment impact statement for the project to build Don Sahong dam over the Mekong River in Laos, saying if the neighboring country proceeds with the project, the Mekong Delta region will be adversely affected.

Source: Eco News (October 3, 2014)

Xinhua Insight: value chain shift to boost China-ASEAN trade

Low-end manufacturing is leaving China for cheaper labor in Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries, and this value chain shift will boost trade between China and ASEAN, according to economists.

Source: The Japan Times (October 27, 2014)

Myanmar, Cambodia to push oil and gas business

The two Southeast Asian nations of Myanmar and Cambodia are expanding their hydrocarbon production in an effort to capitalise on ever-rising domestic and regional demand. The Myanmar government announced last week that it will let international investors bid for 15 additional offshore oil exploration blocks by the end of next year, a move that comes after the earlier release of 40 blocks that have already been awarded to big international players like Chevron, Shell, Eni, Statoil and Total.

Source: Gulf Times (October 22, 2014)

REFILE-Climate change a "threat multiplier" for farming-dependent states-analysis

Climate change and food insecurity are "threat multipliers", and 32 countries dependent on farming face an "extreme risk" of conflict or civil unrest in the next 30 years, a global analytics firm said on Wednesday.

Source: Reuters (October 29, 2014)


One million hectares reclassified, gov’t says

More than 1 million hectares of forest terrain and land leased by private companies has been put under government control since Prime Minister Hun Sen initiated a moratorium on new economic land concessions (ELCs) in May 2012, the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction has claimed.

Source: Phnom Penh Post (October 27, 2014)

Gov’t urged to get serious about illegal logging

NGOs and community representatives called on the government Wednesday to open up its secretive auctions for confiscated timber and cancel a deal that lets timber magnate Try Pheap buy all the wood in government depots, both of which they say fuel illegal logging across the country.

Source: The Cambodia Daily (October 23, 2014)

Journalist investigating illegal logging shot dead

A 49-year-old journalist reportedly investigating illegal logging in Kratie province was shot dead early Sunday morning. Within hours, police arrested three men—a commune police chief, a military police officer and a Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) soldier—for the murder, officials said.

Source: The Cambodia Daily (October 13, 2014)

Authorities confiscate illegal rare wood; smugglers escape

Authorities in Mondolkiri province on Tuesday seized more than 80 pieces of luxury-grade thnong wood from two vehicles they chased down on National Road 76, but the smugglers managed to escape, officials said Wednesday.

Source: The Cambodia Daily (October 23, 2014)

Rosewood haul found in truck with Sokimex logo

Ten tonnes of protected rosewood found stashed in a tanker truck bearing the logo of petroleum giant Sokimex was seized by police in Oddar Meanchey province on Friday.

Source: Phnom Penh Post (October 27, 2014)

Illegal loggers complain to police over wages

About 20 villagers who were employed in an illegal logging racket in Pailin province’s Sala Krao district have submitted a report to the provincial police accusing their two ringleaders of failing to pay their “service fee,” an official said Tuesday.

Source: The Cambodia Daily (October 22, 2014)

Journalists, alleged illegal loggers clash

Journalists attempting to photograph a pickup truck transporting luxury wood said they were chased by the drivers and four other men wielding clubs before police intervened, but the police chief denied the reporters’ claims and accused them of extortion.

Source: The Cambodia Daily (October 16, 2014)

Truck full of rosewood seized

A provincial military police commander was named yesterday by a major conservationist group as the alleged owner of a huge haul of illegal rosewood confiscated in Kampong Speu province this week.

Source: Phnom Penh Post (October 16, 2014)

Rosewood haul found in house

Two people were questioned yesterday over a huge haul of endangered rosewood discovered on Tuesday at a home in Banteay Meanchey province, officials have said.

Source: Phnom Penh Post (October 2, 2014)

Why Cambodia leads the way in rescuing captive bears

For Nev Broadis, it's important to act fast when a call comes to rescue a bear cub from the other side of Cambodia.

"There's a vulnerable animal in distress up to nine or 10 hours away, so there's a sense of urgency to get there as soon as possible," says Broadis, the regional director of Australian non-profit Free the Bears. "You put emotions on hold and start mobilizing -- readying equipment, cages, everything we might need."

Source: CNN (October 13, 2014)

ADB provides nearly 99 mln USD to Cambodia for 3 projects

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Monday signed to provide grant and loan agreements worth nearly 99 million U.S. dollars to Cambodia for three development projects, the bank said in a press statement.

Source: Xinhua (October 27, 2014)

Areng on back burner?

Prime Minister Hun Sen has reportedly said the Chinese firm contracted to build the controversial Stung Cheay Areng hydropower dam will not be allowed to start construction in the near future.

Source: Phnom Penh Post (October 2, 2014)

Don Sahong Dam ‘Prior Consultation’ to begin

The Cambodia National Mekong Committee will soon begin meeting with villagers in Stung Treng province to gauge their concerns over the controversial Don Sahong dam, which Laos has proposed to build on the Mekong River 1.5 km from the Cambodian border.

Source: The Cambodia Daily (October 14, 2014)

KrisEnergy, Chevron deal given green light

Oil and gas company KrisEnergy has finalised its purchase of Chevron’s stake in Cambodia’s oil reserves in the Gulf of Thailand.

Source: Phnom Penh Post (October 8, 2014)

New Mekong cruise puts spotlight on eco-tourism

Starting this month, a new cruise ship by luxury travel company Aqua Expeditions will ply the Mekong River between Vietnam and Cambodia, putting a spotlight on tourism in the region.

Source: Eco News (October 1, 2014)

Irrawaddy dolphin found dead in Kratie province

Fishermen discovered an endangered Irrawaddy dolphin dead in the Mekong River in Kratie province on Tuesday, officials said Wednesday. There were no obvious clues as to what caused the animal’s death.

Source: The Cambodia Daily (October 23, 2014)

Reward up for poacher intel

An elephant found dead and decaying in Mondulkiri’s Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary was slaughtered for its tusks and trunk, officials said yesterday, while offering a reward to anyone who helps find the poachers.

Source: Phnom Penh Post (October 8, 2014)


ADB support for tourism sector seeks to boost revenue, create jobs 

Tourism could generate an additional 2,654 billion kip (US$330 million) in earnings and 27,000 new jobs in Laos under a regional project supported by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Source: Vientiane Times (October 28, 2014)

Govt seeks update to loan for flood protection measures in Champassak

Champassak provincial Public Works and Transports Department is seeking adjusted loan funding from Korea Eximbank to establish flood protection facilities and upgraded infrastructure with an emphasis on integrated management of water resources.

Source: Vientiane Times (October 28, 2014)

Laos hosts ASEAN environment meeting

The 15th Informal ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on the Environment (15th IAMME) officially opened here on Thursday.

Source: Shanghai Daily (October 30, 2014)


Myanmar to host ASEAN financial inclusion conference

Myanmar will host an ASEAN conference to discuss challenges for countries -- Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam -- in striving for access to finance.

Source: Xinhua (October 25, 2014)

Ahead of Myanmar trip, Obama urged to demand extractives transparency

Lawmakers here are urging President Barack Obama to put transparency in the extractives sector at the centre of an upcoming trip to Myanmar.

Source: IPS Inter Press Service (October 15, 2014)

Ministry mulling 11 coal-fired power plants, none approved yet, official says

Although 11 proposals to build coal-fired power plants have been submitted to the Ministry of Electric Power not a single one has yet to be approved, a senior official at the ministry said.

Source: Eleven Myanmar (October 24, 2014)

Major coastal coal power plant plan to get safety check – Ko Ko Gyi

Local residents have expressed concerns about the social and environmental threats that the coal power plant could pose.

Source: Eleven Myanmar (October 16, 2014)

Burma, Japan and Thailand sign MoU to build Myeik power plant

The Burmese government and companies based in Burma, Japan and Thailand signed a MoU on 9 October to conduct a feasibility study and an environmental and social impact assessment study (EIA/SIA) for a coal power plant the consortium is planning to build in Tenasserim Division’s Myeik City.

Source: DVB Multimedia Group (October 17, 2014)

Consultations for Ecotourism Policy and Management Strategy in Myanmar

Ecotourism in Myanmar is set to receive a boost when the country's Ministry of Hotels and Tourism (MOHT), Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry (MOECAF), and Myanmar Tourism Federation (MTF) will finalize the formulation of the Ecotourism Policy and Management Strategy for protected areas in the near future.

Source: Review Nepal (Oct 26, 2014)

The Mynamar Times: New bill to get tough on ship pollution – Shwegu Thitsar

An update to the Merchant Shipping Act with clauses to tackle pollution from cargo ships has been sent to the Attorney-General ahead of its formal submission to parliament, says an official from the Ministry of Transport.

Source: The Myanmar Times (October 2, 2014)

People’s Republic of China

Beijing to keep the lid on air pollution for APEC

Beijing plans to keep a tight rein on pollution by cutting emissions caused by industrial production and vehicles when it hosts the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in November.

Source: China Daily (October 10, 2014)

China pollution levels hit 20 times safe limit

Days of heavy smog shrouding swathes of northern China pushed pollution to more than 20 times safe levels on Friday, despite government promises to tackle environmental blight.

Source: The Guardian (October 10, 2014)

Beijing's focus on coal lost in haze of smog: experts

The soaring, grimy chimneys of the coal-fired power station have belched the last of their choking fumes into Beijing's air, authorities say -- but experts doubt the plan will ease the capital's smog.

Source: AFP (October 22, 2014)

China to allow more private fund in energy, telecoms, infrastructure

China plans to attract more private investment in key sectors including energy and telecoms through policy support and fairer investment environment, Premier Li Keqiang said Friday.

Source: Xinhua (October 24, 2014)

Biogas, a low-tech fuel with a big payoff

In villages across China, tens of millions of families use farm and household waste to make clean cooking fuel in backyard fermenters. Germany generates as much electricity as two nuclear power plants with the gas produced by decaying plant matter and animal slurry. Near San Francisco, a landfill extracts enough energy from its stewing garbage to power 300 trucks on their daily runs.

Source: The New York Times (October 29, 2014)

Global clean energy investment sustains its recovery

World clean energy investment in the first three quarters of this year was 16% ahead of the same period of 2013, at $175.1bn(1), making it almost certain that 2014 will produce a bounce-back in dollars invested after two years of decline.

Source: Bloomberg New Energy Finance (October 2, 2014)

China cuts forecast for offshore wind power by 60 per cent

China slashed its forecasts for offshore wind power by 60 per cent, an acknowledgment that installations are being held up by the cost and complexity of the technology.

Source: Eco business (October 23, 2014)

China promotes new-energy buses in Beijing

Chinese authorities released a plan Wednesday requiring the heavily polluted cities of Beijing, Tianjin, and Hebei Province to put more new-energy buses on the road to cut pollution.

Source: Xinhua Net (October 23, 2014)

Drugs flushed into the environment could be cause of wildlife decline

Potent pharmaceuticals flushed into the environment via human and animal sewage could be a hidden cause of the global wildlife crisis, according to new research. The scientists warn that worldwide use of the drugs, which are designed to be biologically active at low concentrations, is rising rapidly but that too little is currently known about their effect on the natural world.

Source: The Guardian (October 13, 2014)

China's coal-rich Shanxi to restore mined-out areas

North China's coal-rich Shanxi Province plans to restore the environment in its mined-out areas in the next five years, local authorities said on Thursday

Source: Xinhua (October 23, 2014)


Prayut urged to suspend energy reform

Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha was urged yesterday to suspend ongoing energy reform by the Energy Ministry because there was still some conflicts over the direction it should take, a National Reform Council (NRC) member said yesterday.

Source: The Nation (October 8, 2014)

Activists ask court to halt energy auction 

A group of energy resource protection advocates petitioned the Central Administrative Court yesterday, asking it to stop an Energy Ministry plan to allow a new round of bidding for gas and oil exploration licences throughout the country.    

Source: Bangkok Post (October 28, 2014)

As gas supplies dwindle, debate over extraction drags on

Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha seems to have put a brake on a move by energy network civic groups opposing the government's new round of bidding for petroleum concessions.

Source: The Nation (October 31, 2014)

Energy officials accused of making false claims of depleted supplies

Two pressure groups on energy issues yesterday filed a complaint with the Ombudsman, requesting that the agency check if the country's top authorities on energy had committed constitutional offences.

Source: The Nation (October 30, 2014)

Thai company inks agreement to develop Myanmar's largest power plant

Green Earth Power (Thailand) has signed a memorandum of agreement with the Myanmar Ministry of Electric Power (MOEP) to formalise the development of a 220-megawatt solar power plant in Minbu, in that country's Magway Region.

Source: The Nation (October 20, 2014)

Four national park recreational zone revamps on way 

The Natural Resources and Environment Ministry is planning major renovations to recreational zones inside its four main national parks with the aim of making them meet world-class standards.  

Source: Bangkok Post (October 3, 2014)

Traders in protected timber arrested

Fifteen men, including a former military ranger, have been arrested and charged with illegal dealing in protected phayung timber (siamese rosewood) worth nearly one million baht in Nakhon Ratchasima on Monday, police said. 

Source: Bangkok Post (October 28, 2014)

Pollution-free garbage facility hits snag 

A pilot project for a clean-air waste-to-energy garbage disposal facility is being held up by a delay in getting land-use approval from the Treasury Department.  

Source: Bangkok Post (October 28, 2014)

TEI: Carbon footprint key to agenda 

Thailand Environment Institute (TEI) seeks to push carbon footprint reduction onto the national agenda despite lack of interest from carbon credit companies due to the low price.

Source: Bangkok Post (October 29, 2014)

Viet Nam

Son La exerts more efforts to protect biodiversity

The northern mountainous province of Son La has approved a plan on biodiversity protection between 2014 and 2020 in an effort to protect the eco-environment, cope with climate change and ensure security and defence. 

Source: VietnamPlus (October 27, 2014)

Viet Nam moves to reduce demand for wildlife products

Viet Nam's rich biodiversity has made it a hub for illegal transportation of rare species and stronger efforts are needed to curb wildlife trafficking, experts said at a workshop that opened in Ha Noi on Tuesday.

Source: VietnamNews (October 23, 2014)

Wildlife released in Binh Dinh Province

Forest management officers from Tuy Phuoc District in the central province of Binh Dinh have released endangered animals they rescued from traffickers last week.

Source: VietnamNews (October 27, 2014)

Bear bile tourism shuts down in Ha Long

Bear bile tourism in the northern province of Quang Ninh's Ha Long City has finally been shut down, according to the non-governmental organisation Education for Nature – Viet Nam (ENV).

Source: VietnamNews (October 22, 2014)

Vietnam addresses wildlife consumption

Vietnam is currently focussing on law enforcement and awareness raising campaigns to reduce the illegal trade and consumption of wildlife, a senior official from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said.

Source: VietnamPlus (October 22, 2014)

Illegal logging destroys Dak Lak pine forest

Over 90 per cent of the pine forest along the Ho Chi Minh Highway that runs through Krong Buk District in Dak Lak Province has been destroyed by residents as well as the local administration.

Source: VietnamNews (October 28, 2014)

Kim Hy park under threat in Bac Kan

Illegal logging and gold mining are threatening to destroy Kim Hy Nature Reserve in this northern province in spite of local authorities' prevention efforts.

Source: VietnamNews (October 27, 2014)

Funds allocated for evacuation plans during natural disasters

The Prime Minister has approved the allocation of VND239 billion (US$11.5 million) for urgent evacuation plans in areas threatened by natural disasters in 24 provinces nationwide.

Source: VietnamNews (October 28, 2014)

Agriculture sector aims to cut CO2 emissions

It was important to come up with ways to mitigate CO2 emissions in agriculture, which produces approximately 43 percent of the nation's greenhouse gas emissions, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Quoc Doanh said at a recent seminar.

Source: VietnamNews (October 6, 2014)

Mekong Delta suffers as factories dump waste into local river system

Newly built seafood and garment factories have polluted once-pristine rural areas in the Mekong delta, but relief seems far away.

Source: VietnamNews (October 13, 2014)

Paper firm fined for dumping toxic waste

The People's Committee of the southern province of Tay Ninh is fining a paper production company over VND235 million (US$11,100) for discharging untreated waste into the environment.

Source: VietnamNews (October 16, 2014)

Renewable energy water supply project benefits Mekong Delta provinces

Outcomes of a two-year project on water supply using renewable energy in the Mekong Delta region were reviewed at a recent workshop held in Can Tho City. 

Source: VietnamPlus (October 27, 2014)

Vietnam faces difficulties in marine protected area management

Vietnam is facing a number of challenges in managing and conserving its marine protected areas, a workshop co-organised by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the General Department of Fisheries heard in Hanoi on October 21.

Source: VietnamPlus (October 22, 2014)

Vietnam, RoK boost environmental partnership

The 11th conference of the environment ministers of Vietnam and the Republic of Korea took place in Ho Chi Minh City on October 27, focusing on the progress of cooperative projects in the field. 

Source: VietnamPlus (October 28, 2014)

Publish Date: 6th November 2014

Last Updated: 5th June 2016

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