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Hydropower development in the Mekong basin has long been contentious as six riparian countries pursue individual and uncoordinated plans for use of the river’s water. China’s cascade upstream dams in Yunnan province and Laos’ plans for mainstream dams in the lower Mekong generate significant political fault lines over the impacts of hydropower on vital downstream fisheries and agricultural yields and the millions of people who depend on them in Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam.
Jon Fasman’s elegiac essay, “Requiem for a River,” published earlier this year in The Economist brings the realities of life along the Mekong from China to the Delta in Vietnam into sharp focus, giving brief, insightful vignettes of the way that development is affecting millions who live along the Mekong River’s banks and their concerns for the river’s future. Jon discussed his travels along the Mekong River and the process of writing impactful articles with global reach. China Environment Forum’s Jennifer Turner and Stimson’s Brian Eyler and Courtney Weatherby provided commentary on regional dynamics and development trends as well as the future of one of the world’s most vital international rivers.
WHAT: A discussion on the on-the-ground impacts of Mekong hydropower development, with a focus on The Economist’s “Requiem for a River” essay
Jon Fasman, South-East Asia Bureau Chief and Acting Asia Editor, The Economist
Jennifer Turner, Director of the China Environment Forum, Wilson Center
John Dore, Senior Specialist Water Resources, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Brian Eyler (moderator), Deputy Director of the Southeast Asia Program, Stimson Center
Courtney Weatherby, Research Associate for the Southeast Asia Program, Stimson Center