Crossing Borders and Defying Policing, Abuses of Thailand’s Fishing Industry Challenge International System›August 18, 2015 // By Linnea Bennett
Somewhere off the coast of Thailand, “ghost ships” bump and crash along the choppy waves scrapping the sea floor with nets that spare nothing. Pulling up these illegal hauls in shifts that sometimes last 20 hours are thousands of migrant fishermen, many of whom have been forced into indentured servitude or kidnapped. Far from shore on unregistered boats, they have little hope of escape and face daily abuse and squalid conditions. More recently, some captains have turned to trafficking Rohingya fleeing persecution in Myanmar, pressing some into service, extorting others, and taking sex slaves.
In 2003, the United Nations General Assembly declared 2005 to 2015 to be the decade of “water for life” as a way to encourage countries to reach their water-related targets under the Millennium Development Goals. In summing up the last 10 years, it was noted that water cooperation had been promoted widely, featuring at international fora and in government initiatives and development agendas. Water cooperation is described as having the potential to enable peace and sustainable development. However, just as focusing on “water wars” might undermine the everyday challenges of securing safe and adequate supplies of water, focusing only on “more cooperation” may well simplify the problem at hand.
In his 2007 best-seller, The World Without Us, Alan Weisman explored what would happen to the planet if the human race suddenly vanished – the gradual deterioration of the built environment, the geologic fossilization of our everyday stuff, and the ecological processes that would rebound and thrive without continual and growing human pressure. [Video Below]
›September 25, 2014 // By Wilson Center Staff
Conflict over environmental resources endangers rural people’s livelihoods and can increase the risk of broader social conflict. Yet joint action to sustain shared resources can also be a powerful means for community building. The Strengthening Aquatic Resource Governance (STARGO) project demonstrated this in three ecoregions: Lake Victoria, with a focus on Uganda; Lake Kariba, with a focus on Zambia; and Tonle Sap Lake in Cambodia. The results of the project were released at an event in Berlin in early July 2014.
›March 10, 2014 // By Wilson Center Staff
I meet Keo Mao, 42, in the floating fishing village of Akol on Cambodia’s Lake Tonle Sap. The houses here move seasonally with the lake, which expands by a factor of five during the monsoon rains and recedes again in the dry months. Fish supply about 80 percent of the animal protein eaten by Cambodians, and about 60 percent of the inland catch comes from the Tonle Sap.
›February 20, 2014 // By Wilson Center Staff
In the sleepy northern Thai border town of Huay Luk, a community leader, Pornsawan Boontun, still remembers the day when villagers netted a Mekong giant catfish more than a decade ago. The fish weighed 615 pounds, and it surprised everyone since the elusive species has never been common in this stretch of river.
›February 14, 2014 // By Wilson Center Staff
What do melting Himalayan glaciers have to do with food security in Cambodia? Not much, thought an aid practitioner trying to boost food security along the lower reaches of the Mekong River – until she heard a colleague working on the Tibetan Plateau describe the downstream implications of climate change in the Himalayas. Everything she was working on, she suddenly realized, could be literally washed away.
What does Himalayan ice melt have to do with food security in Cambodia? A lot, when they both significantly affect the flow of the Mekong River. But when it comes to long-term planning across topical and regional lines, development agencies aren’t always as collaborative as they could be – both externally and internally.
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