Theme 2: Trans-boundary issues
In the Mekong Region transboundary flows appear to be growing in importance. In the Region, improved transport infrastructure is increasing trade in agricultural and manufactured products. Enhanced construction capabilities and access to financial services is leading to larger and more complex manipulations of river flows – for irrigation, hydropower, navigation and flood regulation. Advances in communication and information technology are changing the way people perceive themselves and others, their aspirations and how they organize. The outcome has been an overwhelming but uneven increase in interconnectedness. Flows, in short, have created diverse opportunities as well as risks and burdens.
Many flows are internal to a country, some go beyond. Transboundary flows are defined as flows that cross share1 international borders. Transboundary flows are not independent of each other. International trade and investment agreements, cooperation on conservation and exploitation of natural resources, introduction of standards and national policies to protect particular sectors or promote exports influence flows in diverse ways. International regions are formed, defined and reinforced by these dense and complex networks of transboundary flows. The significance of transboundary flows often needs to be assessed relative to the properties, magnitude and impacts of within-boundary, or, domestic flows, and in the case of goods and services, flows from rest of the world. Transboundary flows may also have impacts on people’s livelihoods and environments in source and border locations. Flows to the border may be almost or just barely ‘transboundary’ when border and receptor areas are the same place. Transboundary flows can be distinguished into five types: Resource flows refer to the movement of animals and natural resources. People flows refer to the movement of people. Goods flows are the movement of agricultural commodities and manufactured products. Service flows are defined in this paper as non-material or symbolic transactions, in particular, of money and information.
Specific Research Topic:
some key questions addressed in the 2nd research partners meeting and they should cover in the transboundary flow study in the Mekong countries.
1. How can we make foreign direct investment (FDI) work better for small farmers?
- Tax contributions
- Poverty reductions
- Land tenure and security
- Resource management
2. How can we conserve aquatic biodiversity?
- Ecosystem services approach to management
- Management policies need to reflect fishery ecology
3. How can we improve environmental cooperation?
- Study performance of international organizations that support those institutions (ADB, MRC, etc)
- Treaty obstacles and barriers
- Governance structure (institutional arrangement)
4. How can the fish trade be made more sustainable?
- Commodity value chains
- Value added
- Focus on fish (but maybe timber)
- Rural development, small scale fisherman
Minor topics are as followings:
(i) Migration (human and wildlife) in response to environmental change, (ii) Resource be used across border: how do communities manage indigenous resources when people across borders to use those resources? How do they deal with external users? (iii) Policy arrangements: How are flows shaping the development direction / agenda of the region? Which policy shapes supply and demand?