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Mekong drivers of change (CPWF GD workshop, Sept 2011)


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By Kate Lazarus. As part of a CPWF September 2011 workshop in Thailand regarding global drivers. We have divided driver types into five categories: 1. Demographic/Social, 2. Economic, 3. Political/Institutional/Legal, 4. Environmental/Climate change, 5. Technological/ Innovations

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Mekong drivers of change (CPWF GD workshop, Sept 2011)

  1. 1. Drivers in the Mekong Basin! Kate  Lazarus     Global  Drivers  Topic  Working  Group  Workshop   Chiang  Mai,  Thailand   12  September  2011  
  3. 3. Nation States & River Basins! NaDon  States   River  Basins   Yunnan  Thomas  2009  
  4. 4. Mekong Region & Mekong Basin! Mekong   Basin  Greater   GMS  &  Mekong  Sub-­‐ Mekong  Basin  region  Thomas,  2009  
  5. 5. Mekong River Basin! River River Basin Mean discharge Glacial melt in Area Population Population Water availability (m3/s) river flow (%) (km2) x 1,000 density (m3/person/year)Indus 5,533 44.8 1,081,718 178,483 165 978Ganges 18,691 9.1 1,016,124 407,466 401 1,447Brahmaputra 19,824 12.3 651,335 118,543 182 5,274Irrawaddy 13,565 Small 413,710 32,683 79 13,089Salween 1,494 8.8 271,914 5,982 22 7,876Mekong 11,048 6.6 805,604 57,198 71 6,091Yangtze 34,000 18.5 1,722,193 368,549 214 2,909Yellow 1,365 1.3 944,970 147,415 156 292Tarim 146 40.2 1,152,448 8,067 7 571Total 1,324,386 Xu,  et  al.  2007.     •  Mekong River: 4,800 km, longest river in SEA! •  8th largest in terms of amount of water! •  12th longest in the world! •  Largest difference in wet and dry season flow! •  Rich riverine ecology & fisheries! •  Low level of water resources development – compared to most other large river basins!
  6. 6. Mean Monthly Discharge at Various Sites on the Mekong Mainstream! CONDITIONS in the MEKONG BASIN!
  7. 7. Terrain & natural ecosystems! Desert  –  xenic  shrublands  Major  biomes   Montane   Temperate  -­‐  each  is  divided  into  eco-­‐regions   grasslands  -­‐   broadleaf  &   shrublands   mixed  forest  -­‐  distribuDon  reflects  climaDc  variaDon   Temperate  conifer   forest   Tropical  /  sub-­‐tropical  moist   broadleaf  forest   Tropical  /  subtropical  dry   mangroves   broadleaf  forest   Data:  WWF  –  World  Wildlife  Fund  
  8. 8. Remaining  Forest  Cover  •  Seen  as  criDcal  for   maintaining  biodiversity  &   watershed  funcDons  •  Major  focus  of  climate   change  miDgaDon  schemes   so  far   Data:  FRA  2000  –  Forest  Resource  Assessment  (FAO)  
  9. 9. Demographic Distributions & Transitions! Ethno-­‐ linguisAc   diversity   Data:  GMI  World  Language  Mapping  System   Urban  areas  in   PopulaDon  Growth  Rates    (%  per  year)   yellow  Data:  CIESIN:  GRUMP  ver  1.1   source: UN Population Divisions quinquennial estimates and projections
  10. 10. Populations in low-lying areas!
  11. 11. Economic Change! growth,  structure,  employment,     connecDvity,  trade,  investment  ADB  
  12. 12. Poverty! Poverty   Density   Persons  /  km2   Poverty  Incidence   %  Poor   Persons  /  km2   NaAonal  poverty  data   Small  area  esAmates  
  13. 13. Sub-catchments in theMRB with the spatialdistribution of majorwater uses! Kirby  et  al  2011  
  14. 14. Current  water  resources  development   •  Water use is concentrated in the most downstream portion of the basin: the Vietnam Delta with an irrigated area of some 2mil hectares! •  Other actively irrigated areas in the Basin amount to less than 1mil hectares! •  Significant diversions from the mainstream above the Vietnam Delta are so far absent! •  Laos and Cambodia hardly divert 1& of their annual renewable water resources! •  Existing storage of water resources amounts to 2% of the average annual flow!
  15. 15. Capture Fisheries inthe Mekong!Income generation andfood security!US$ 3 billion p.a.!Nutrition - 60 millionpeople LMB!Fish – main source ofanimal protein + micronutrients!Per capita consumption29-39 kg p.a.!
  16. 16. Area:   •  Tonle  Sap  Lake,  Cambodia   Key  parts  of  the  Tonle  Sap   ecosystem:   •  Flood  Pulse   •  Large  floodplain  and  rich   biodiversity   •  Floodplain  vegetaDon   •  High  nutrient  input  from   Mekong  Kummu,  Lamberts  2008  
  17. 17. Flood Pulse!Body of evidence insupport of hypothesis thatthe flood pulse is thedriving force of theproductivity of the TonleSap Lake and floodplainecosystem has becomesolidly established.!Most of the water involvedin this flood pulseoriginates from theMekong River!Kummu  &  Lamberts  (2008)  
  18. 18. Mekong fisheries are dependent onmigration over long and short distances!More than 70% of the !total catch (>1.3million tonnes) in theLower!Mekong Basin is !dependant on long!distance migration! Source:  MRC  
  19. 19. Agriculture  Rice production is thedominant land use in NEThailand, central andsouthern Cambodia and theVietnam Delta!Smaller areas of croppingin Lao PDR and in centralhighlands of Vietnam!Some irrigation in many ofthese areas but main areaof irrigation is in the Delta!Agriculture along withfisheries and forestryemploy 85% of the peoplein the MRB, many atsubsistence levels.!
  21. 21. Demography  •  Population growth: set to rise by 33mil by 2025!•  Large cohort of young people: 30% under 15 years of age!•  Migration from rural to urban: seeking work & future pressures from climate change!•  Increased pressure on states to provide employment, education, energy and water resources.!Grumbine,  Dore,  Xu  (forthcoming  2011)  
  22. 22. Human  Development  •  High  poverty  and  low  development  •  Regional  poverty  fell  from  48.4%  in  1990  to   25.3%  in  2005  •  Lack  of  access  to  clean  water  •  Over  30%  do  not  use  closed  sanitaDon  systems  •  Decisions  around  large-­‐infrastructure  are   being  made  in  the  name  of  ‘development’  to   ‘reduce  poverty’  
  23. 23. Food  Security  •  Food  demand  –  expected  to  double  by  2050   –  Decreasing  investment  in  tradiDonal  agriculture   accompanied  by  substanDal  slowing  in  growth  of  land   under  irrigaDon  –  drought  of  2010   –  Farmers  across  wider  MRB  moving  away  from  subsistence   farming  towards  plantaDon  agriculture  –  rice  producers  are   becoming  rice  consumers;  Income  is  rising  but  with   ecological  implicaDons  –  driven  by  smallholders  and   plantaDon  investors  –  monoculture  threatens  biodiversity,   reduces  total  carbon  biomass  and  depletes  groundwater;   Farmers  subject  to  fluctuaDons  in  global  commodity  prices   –  Market  volaDlity  influences  poverty  in  the  Mekong   •  Food  price  inflaDon  kept  20  mil  people  from  escaping  poverty  
  24. 24. Economic  investment  and  trade  •  GMS  promoted  program  of  economic   cooperaDon  (regionalisaDon)   –  Economic  linkages,  connecDng  infrastructure,  large   water,  energy,  infrastructure  projects,  cross-­‐border   trade,  collaboraDve  responses  to  social  and   environmental  problems       –  Up  to  2010,  $11bil  for  investments…..   –  What  types  of  good?  Who  benefits?  Who  is   vulnerable?   –  NaDonally,  socio-­‐economic  and  sector  policies  and   plans  that  support  major  water  related  projects  for   navigaDon,  flood  control,  hydropower,  irrigaDon  
  25. 25. Drivers:  Private  Sector-­‐led   Development  •  Role  of  the  private  sector  in  the  development  of   water  and  related  resources  has  been  increasing:   –  Private  project  developers  bring  funding  and  experDse   –  They  also  have  disincenDves  to  comply  with  Dme-­‐ consuming  and  costly  safeguard  policies   –  They  also  have  disincenDves  to  develop  projects   through  processes  open  to  public  scruDny  and  may  be   less  sensiDve  to  arguments   –  Not  only  water  projects  but  significant  investment  in   other  sectors  such  as  mining  and  agribusiness  
  26. 26. Drivers:  Climate  Change  •  Wildcard driver in LMB!•  Projected impacts by 2050 from low (e.g. water availability), to moderate (increased temperatures), to potentially high (decreasing food production, sea level rise in Delta)!•  Extreme events (droughts) together with impacts of land use (rubber) are having cumulative effects on watershed stream- flow!•  Warming, increasing human migration and land use change - infectious diseases!•  Poor people disproportionately vulnerable!•  Region rice production – may decline sharply!•  Infrastructure (or economic development) pressures onto of climate change…!
  27. 27. PoliDcal  drivers  of  water  allocaDon  –  PN67  research  into  poliDcal  drivers-­‐  InsDtuDons,  Interests,   Discourses,  Policy  processes:  –  RegionalisaDon  –  MRC,  ASEAN,  Irrewaddy-­‐Mekong…..but  also   bilateral  when  regional  is  not  sufficient….  –  StandardisaDon  –  HSAP,  EP,  transboundary  codes  of  conduct  –  IntegraDon  –  IWRM  (IWRM-­‐based  MRC,  IWRM  –  MONREsss)  

  29. 29. Contested  Waterscapes  •  Increases in FDI in Laos/Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, China ʻgoing outʼ!•  Private sector pressure (both driver and response) – role of China in the LMB! –  China gaining prominence as bilateral trading partner and investor in Mekong waters! –  Leading trading partner in Vietnam! –  #1 investor in Laos and Cambodia!•  Difficult decisions - trade offs required between hydropower/irrigation development & capture fisheries!•  Cooperation manifesting in different ways:! •  Weak regional RBO (Mekong River Commission)! •  GMS! •  Bilateral!•  Political commitment for the implementation of IWRM, strengthening of resource managers at the national and sub-basin levels (financial exercise or linkage to decision-making?)!•  Increased knowledge of and engagement by CSOs (emerging and sustaining of local groups)!•  Drive for more and in particular electricity demand!•  Drive for all things climate change – in the name of adaptation - REDD+ (National planning)!
  30. 30. Economic  Responses  –  Development of water storage by China in the Upper Mekong Basin main flow changes in the LMB may come from the UMB!–  Development of hydropower in the LMB hydro projects that are being constructed & planned may likely offset increases in future irrigation demand in the LMB!–  Decisions made at the regional level, such as the development of transboundary transport and electricity transmission networks.!
  31. 31. Proposed  Mekong  Power  Grid   •  Flagship  project  of   ADB’s  GMS  iniDaDve   •  Regional  grid,   system  for  regional   power  trade   •    private  sector   investment   •  Power    Thailand   and  Vietnam  
  32. 32. •  Different  visions  •  Different  prioriDes  •  Different  interests  •  Plenty  of  tensions  within  and  between  
  33. 33. Pak  Mun  Dam:  Perpetually  Contested?  
  34. 34. Research  •  MRC  Scenario  exercises  •  CSIRO-­‐AusAID  Alliance  –  Exploring  Mekong   Region  Futures  •  Lebel  et  al  –  scenarios  -­‐  NSEC  
  36. 36. •  PoliDcs  and  transboundary  cooperaDon  –   thought  to  go  one  way  –  then  changes  –   (Xayabouri  case)  •  China  –  friend  or  foe  (Laos,  Cambodia,   Vietnam)  –  what  about  other  neighbours?  •  Technological  innovaDons  –  e.g.  embankment   in  VTE;  in  the  name  of  climate  change?  •  Increased  dialogue  on  revenue  management  
  37. 37. Thank  you  for  your  apenDon!!