Thai non-governmental administration
Living River Siam ( Thai : โครงการแม่น้ำเพื่อชีวิต ; once South East Asia Rivers Network, or SEARIN ) is a Thai non-governmental administration ( NGO ) which analyzes the impingement of Thailand ‘s assorted dam projects and coordinates the research of autochthonal peoples to give Thai villagers the ability to document the influence of local rivers and dams. Founded in 1999, it gained bulge during the Pak Mun Dam analyze period in 2001, when it developed a method for instructing villagers on how to document the effects of the dammed river on their lives. When the Thai government proposed other dam sites, Living River Siam took its research methods to the villages surrounding those sites angstrom well. today, the organization works with early NGOs in Southeast Asia to counter government-sponsored inquiry that encourages decameter structure .

Pak Mun Dam protests [edit ]

Living River Siam was launched on March 14, 1999, the International Rivers Day of Action, by a group of NGO workers and Thai academics. [ 1 ] Its first action, on March 23, was to support an occupation of the Pak Mun Dam web site by 5,000 villagers. [ 2 ] The Pak Mun Dam, funded partially by the World Bank, [ 3 ] was built in 1994 and slowly became the focus of national controversy. It received widespread complaints from Thai villagers and was the concentrate of the Assembly of the Poor ‘s 99-day, 20,000-person protest in Bangkok in 1997. [ 4 ] The dam generates 0.5 percentage of Thailand ‘s electric capacity ; 40 percentage of Thailand ‘s sum electric capacity goes idle on an everyday footing. [ 5 ] On June 16, 2001, the Thai government under Thaksin Shinawatra agreed to open the sluice gates of the Pak Mun Dam for four months to allow studies to be conducted on its social impact ; this was former extended to 13 months. [ 6 ] Coinciding with this agreement, the politics announced that official studies would be conducted by Ubon Ratchathani University and a private team contracted by the National Economic and Social Development Board. The university received a budget of 10 million baht ( approximately US $ 280,000 ), and the government contractors, alleged to be the same group that recommended damming another river, received 94 million baht ( roughly US $ 2,700,000 ), raising suspicions. [ 7 ] Villagers thought that outside academics would not be able to make an objective or accurate study of the river because they were unfamiliar with local pisces migration and habitats. [ 8 ]

Thai Baan research [edit ]

In response, Living River Siam developed Ngan Wijai Thai Baan ( งานวิจัยไทบ้าน ), or “ research by Thai villagers ”. This research is meant to circumvent the traditional access to anthropological study by allowing villagers to investigate and document, in their own lyric and on their own terms, every view of their life on the river. The only function of the overseeing administration is to compile the villagers ‘ data and publish it for others to read. Living River Siam refers to this in English as “ Thai Baan inquiry ”. [ 9 ] The Mun River research documented the spawning grounds, migration patterns, habitats, and preferable baits of 137 species of pisces. originally, there were 265 species in the river ; 220 of these disappeared when the river was dammed, and only 92 reappeared when the sluice gates were opened, meaning that the diversity of the Mun ecosystem had already been badly reduced by the decameter. [ 6 ] There were 104 species that migrated between the Mekong and Mun rivers, meaning the dam endangered the Mekong ‘s ecosystem vitamin a well. Thai villagers took photos of all the fish and counted the number of pisces catch before and after the afford of the gates. [ 9 ] Over 200 villagers volunteered for the analyze, and divided themselves up into groups to survey the sub-ecosystems of rapids, channels, eddies, minor waterfalls, drinking wells, don islands, bok hin pools, khum pools, wang pools, huu holes, lhum hin rock pockets, kon shallows, kan submerged rapids, and luang fishing grounds. [ 9 ] The use of small and large fish in the local economy was analyzed. Researchers found that while the less park large fish are sold for profit, the diet of Pak Mun villagers consisted largely of little pisces which can be caught in both the besotted and dry seasons. little pisces are eaten, sold, and traded with the hill peoples for rice. [ 6 ] The villages documented changes in their towns as a consequence of the opening of the sluice gates. Fishermen who had been forced to leave for the city returned to their homes, the increase in fish caused a boom in the rural economy, in fish and tourism. Villagers were able to hold religious ceremonies in important riverside spaces. [ 9 ]

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Government reaction and early responses [edit ]

The results of the Thai Baan research were supported by several academics, including Niti Pawakapan of Chulalongkorn University. [ 10 ] The Ubon Ratchathani University study besides recommended keeping the sluice gates open for at least five years. however, the Thai government rejected all of the studies for indecipherable reasons and alternatively conducted a three-day public opinion poll of a random sample of Thais, after which it decided that the gates would stay closed for eight out of twelve months of the year. [ 4 ] [ 6 ] In 2007, Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont decided to close the gates permanently, citing an alleged secret agreement between thousands of villagers and the Internal Security Operations Command. [ 11 ] The reaction from non-governmental organizations has been more friendly. The Mekong Wetlands Biodiversity Programme ( MWBP ), an international alliance managed by the United Nations Development Programme and World Conservation Union, has published a study on the methodology of Thai Baan research and coordinated their own study in Sri Songkham district in 2004, concluding that it was more utilitarian than top-down styles of village research. [ 12 ] The study oversee by the MWBP was cited in an academician diary [ 13 ] and submitted to an external conference. [ 14 ] Living River Siam ‘s spokesperson Pianporn Deetes was invited to a United Nations Environment Programme league on dams. [ 6 ] In 2002 the Thai government ’ s department of irrigation met the demands of Living River Siam and the Assembly of the Poor with a promise to halt all future dam projects, which was accepted with timid optimism. [ 15 ] To circumvent the consequence of domestic dam, in 2007 the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand ( EGAT ) announced plans to build a series of dams on Burma ‘s Salween River along its surround with Thailand. Living River Siam opposed this design, citing the menace of environmental destruction in Burma ‘s Shan, Karenni, and Karen states a well as Mae Hong Son Province. [ 16 ]

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Additional research [edit ]

Since 2004, Living River Siam has employed its inquiry methods in other endanger locations across rural Thailand.

Chiang Khong District [edit ]

Two mountainous streams flowing across rocks into a pool. An example of the Mekong ‘s rapids. The Mekong River remained release of dams until 1993 because of its complex system of rapids which wreck boats, and the unusual monsoon season which reverses the course of some of its branches. [ 3 ] In 2004, the Thai government made an agreement with China to open the river to commercial seafaring by destroying rapids, which Thai Baan research had identified as important fish spawning grounds. On the chinese side, dams were constructed. Living River Siam gathered extra Thai Baan surveys from 146 villagers in the Chiang Khong District, which determined that the blaring of rapids had made the river water unsuitable for drink and washup, washed off many local riverbank gardens, and decimated the populations of local plants and pisces. [ 17 ] In response to the 2004 studies, the Thai government suspended savage on one of the rapids, the Khon Pi Luang. [ 18 ]

Kaeng Sua Ten [edit ]

In 2006, in response to renewed plans for dam construction in Kaeng Sua Ten, [ 19 ] Living River Siam released a report on the people of Sa-iap, Amphoe Song, Phrae Province ( share of Mae Yom National Park ), based on their own experiences and history. It was called Chaobaan research, but the methodology was equivalent to the Thai Baan research. The report card examined the ecosystem of the residents of Sa-iap, the vegetables and fungi they subsisted on, medicative herb they used, local fauna, wood resources, and their culture. [ 20 ] The report divided Sa-iap history into four periods. Before 1937, the greenwich village was self-sufficient and used both farm and gathering for the overpower majority of its needs. In 1937, the Thai government allowed private companies to log the forest, destroying separate of the villages ‘ infrastructure. In 1957, the villagers entered the hire of the logging companies, causing internal and external conflict a well as increased reliance on unsustainable practices. last, in 1991 the villagers formed a conservation group, the Forest Lover Group, which the Chaobaan researchers agreed cut down on conflict. The mood of the villages has returned to one of reciprocal aid and traditional customs. [ 20 ]

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Rasi Salai Dam [edit ]

The Rasi Salai Dam was completed in 1994, around the same clock as the Pak Mun Dam, and received exchangeable local complaints. The dam ‘s cardinal reservoir was occupied for two years by villagers, until a July 2000 decision opened the sluice gates. [ 21 ] From 2003 to 2004, Living River Siam coordinated Thai Baan research in three districts : Amphoe Rasi Salai, Amphoe Rattanaburi, and Amphoe Phon Sai. The report examined village culture, ecology, biodiversity, department of agriculture, and food and water management. The affect of the closing and open of the sluice gates was besides examined. It was concluded that the dam reduced fish populations, but more importantly, flooded natural salt pits and spread them into rice and vegetable fields, destroying trees and crops. [ 22 ] The government has not made a commitment to keep the Rasi Salai Dam decommissioned, [ 5 ] but as of 2008 the gates have not so far been closed. [ 23 ]

Mekong flood [edit ]

In 2005, and again in 2008, the Mekong River flooded its banks, damaging hundreds of rural villages. Living River Siam joined with early NGOs to form the Thai People ‘s Network for Mekong, which pointed to dams in China as the basal cause of the deluge. An intergovernmental work group called the Mekong River Commission opposed these claims, saying China ‘s dams had little to do with the flood, [ 24 ] although they besides pressed China for data on the floodwaters. [ 25 ] The back-and-forth was covered heavily in Thai bid, which gave ample distance to the statements of the People ‘s Network. [ 26 ]

Seminars, coordination, and publications [edit ]

A book cover portraying men and a boat, with text in Thai. Thai Baan Research at Chiang Khong. The breed of Beginning in 2006, Living River Siam began training early grassroots organizations in Thai Baan inquiry, beginning with the Vietnam Rivers Network and expanding to a chinese group in 2007. [ 27 ] In 2008 they worked with the Burma Rivers Network to conduct research on the Salween River. [ 28 ] They besides assisted a United Nations-funded NGO, the Mekong Wetlands Biodiversity Programme ( MWBP ), with running Thai Baan inquiry in 2004. [ 12 ] Living River Siam, along with the MWBP, organizes cross-basin coordination between Thai Baan research groups. [ 29 ]

Living River Siam has compiled the research and oral accounts of Thai villagers into many publications, which they make available on their web site. Its published books text file local cognition about fish, the results of village inquiry, a how-to manual for Thai Baan research, and citizens ‘ guides to defending Thai rivers and communities. They besides have produced posters of fish species and dams, pamphlets on fishing gear, and brusque documentaries about the river. [ 30 ]

References [edit ]

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