Water governance in the Mekong sub-region

In the Mekong sub-region countries of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, large-scale hydropower developments with transboundary impacts pose a formidable challenge to inclusive and sustainable development. While these developments produce substantial private benefits for political and business elites involved in their planning, construction and operation, they have significant costs. These costs are disproportionately borne by affected communities, who often have limited influence over decision-making.

This project, undertaken by the Institute for Human Security and Social Change, uses a problem-driven political economy analysis (PEA) framework to examine the factors that shape transboundary water governance and what sustains the lack of inclusion of affected communities and civil society organisations in decision-making at the sub-regional level, as well as at the country level in each of the five countries.

The project has been undertaken with a view to informing how greater inclusion of civil society and affected communities can be supported in ways that are attuned to and realistic about the political and economic contexts. The results of the study are summarised in the regional report with country reports for Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand available on request by emailing l.denney@latrobe.edu.au.