Mekong Forum Summary Presentation


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Mekong Forum Summary Presentation

  1. 1. Mekong Forum on Water, Food and Energy: Instant summary Reporting team: JianPing Wang Chau Thi Minh Long Pichai Uamturapojn Ham Kimkong Kesa Ly Larry Harrington
  2. 2. Development objectives Economic growth Equity and poverty alleviation Employment and livelihoods improvement Water, food and energy security Good governance Reduced possibility of conflict Biodiversity conservation – not least for fish Hydropower development, WRD, electrification often seen as important means of achieving development objectivesJP
  3. 3. Costs and benefits of WRD WRD, especially hydropower, can have enormous benefits – and enormous costs Benefits readily defined:  Clear time frame, readily quantified Costs sometimes not so easy to quantify and value:  Longer-term, environmental/ ecosystem services  Affect diverse groups  Costs often under-estimatedJP
  4. 4. Costs and benefits of WRD If benefits of WRD do not cover costs, why invest? If benefits of WRD do cover costs:  How can costs be minimized?  How can benefits and costs be shared equitably? When investments in hydropower do not cover all costs, or when benefits and costs are not shared, they may not help meet development objectivesJP
  5. 5. Issues that we confront- the complexity of waterresource development Complexity of environmental and social issues Many unknowns Benefits and costs from WDR go to different groups Hard to value ecosystem services Transboundary complications Difficult to guarantee transparency Limited authority and capability of RBOs Can’t generalize from one or few projects Enormous time and effort to get relevant input in WRD planning HP only one option among many to obtain energyLong
  6. 6. Issues that we confront- threats to ecosystemservices Maintaining ecosystem services  ES lost from floods  Difficult to understand causes, solutions, consequences of flooding  ES lost from reduced biodiversity  Difficult to maintain fish: habitat, migration, spawning, large number of species)  ES lost due to sediment  Difficult to control, manage sediment  ES lost from coastline erosion  Many othersLong
  7. 7. Things we can do – plan WRD carefully Include all costs when planning WRD Choose WRD sites that reduce damage to ecosystem services (often farther upstream on tributaries) Introduce advanced (fish-friendly, sediment-friendly) technology Have water release mimic natural flows Define and maintain minimum environmental flows Equitably share benefits and costs of WRD Design hydropower for multiple uses (livestock, irrigation, fish) Diversify energy sourcesPichai
  8. 8. Things we can do – use suitable tools to assessWRD especially hydropower for sustainability Use HSAP, RSAT and similar tools to assess hydropower investments for quality and sustainability Use participatory “tools for listening” to assess community concerns about planned or on-going investmentsPichai
  9. 9. Things we can do - encourage multiple uses Encouraging multiple uses of WRD  Design WRD for multiple uses  Increase farm productivity through irrigation  In-reservoir, drawdown irrigation  Irrigation downstream of reservoirs  Irrigation for high-value off-season production  Predictability of flow of water availability for irrigation  Increase productivity of capture fisheries and aquaculture  Make use of water from new infrastructure for livestock  Examine trade-offs among alternative usesPichai
  10. 10. Things we can do – use RBOs in developing“checks and balances” in decision making Encourage “checks and balances” in WRD planning, implementation and operation Use RBOs to provide a “strong say” on behalf of the voicelessPichai
  11. 11. Things we can do – improve understanding and management of floods Strengthen early warning systems, forecasting, preparedness, communication Improve drainage infrastructure (clogged canals, wetlands) Coordinate water release from dams, especially in cascades Increase credibility and accuracy of information to public Have those unaffected by floods help out those affected Don’t excessively rely on dams for flood control Water is not the enemy – don’t blame the NagaKimKong
  12. 12. Things we can do – regulate wisely Use regulations, legislation and enforcement to  Encourage WRD investments that are beneficial, equitable and sustainable  Discourage (or redesign) WRD investments where costs exceed benefits  Discourage (or redesign) WRD investments where costs are unfairly distributed Pick highest standards when formulating regulations Make sure that “enforcement” keeps up with the development of regulations and legislationKimKong
  13. 13. Things we can do – seek transparency, derive financingfrom banks using sustainable development principles Seek transparency and accountability in discussions and negotiations in planning and financing WRD Derive WRD financing from banks that with the highest standards, that use solid sustainable development principles  To reduce risk  To have access to independent grievance /dispute mechanisms  To take advantage of banks’ concerns for “reputational risk” and “corporate and social responsibility”LKS
  14. 14. Things we can do – employ PES (payment forenvironmental services) Have some portion of electricity rates go to special fund to be used for  preserving ecosystem services  fostering livelihoods equity  mitigating negative external consequences of dam and reservoir operationLKS
  15. 15. Things we can do – use science to inform policy Conduct research to obtain the facts about the consequences for different groups of different courses of actions When “navigating science and policy interactions” and when dealing with “competing facts and contested values” . . . Choose a balance between using science as:  Arbiter – science takes the decision  Advocate – science proposes the decision  Honest broker – science facilitates and informs the decisionLKS