New Thai government must show more responsibility with the Mekong

Around this time of year when the rainy season begins, people living on the banks of the Mekong River along the Thai-Lao border always feel a little less stressed because rising water levels mean more fish and food to support their survival.

Until the mid-1990s, these rural people fished not only to feed themselves but also to generate income. But this is no longer possible due to the environmental impact of dams built along the river.

Thailand has committed to achieving the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, emphasizing that it will “leave no one behind.” Along the Mekong, Ubon Ratchathani is one of 15 Thai provinces included in a joint European Union and U.N. Development Programme project that aims to promote SDGs at a local level.

Rural villagers in Ubon Ratchathani and around Thailand’s northeastern Isan region have been fighting to survive the impact of dams and other development projects financed and operated by Thai businesses and banks, the World Bank and China in the lower Mekong basin.

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Titipol Phakdeewanich