The Interplay of Activists and Dam Developers: The Case of Myanmar's Mega-Dams

Kirchherr, J., Charles, K. and Walton, M. (2016) The Interplay of Activists and Dam Developers: The Case of Myanmar's Mega-Dams. International Journal of Water Resources Development, 33 (1): 111-131

39 Pages Posted: 21 Apr 2017

See all articles by Julian Kirchherr

Julian Kirchherr

Utrecht University - Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development

Katrina Charles

University of Oxford - School of Geography and Environment

Matthew Walton

University of Oxford - Saint Antony’s College

Date Written: May 12, 2016

Abstract

Scholars investigating activism against large dam developments in Asia usually focus on those campaigning, but not on those the campaigns are aimed at – the dam developers. Yet the developers’ perspective is crucial to comprehensively understand the dynamics of social and environmental activism in South-East Asia as well as its implications for the region’s energy landscape. This article analyzes the interplay of activists and Chinese dam developers in Myanmar via case studies of the Myitsone Dam and the Mong Ton Dam. The research is based on direct scholarly interaction with both activists and dam developers. It presents evidence of change from both sides: activists have professionalized in recent years; and Chinese dam developers now attempt to engage with civil society, albeit with limited success in the two cases studied. Yet, even with these changes, conflict over dam development persists, and the country may soon face severe limitations on development options for improving energy security. The case of Bhutan is also discussed to illustrate the potential of developing Myanmar’s hydropower resources.

Keywords: Myanmar, Myitsone Dam, Mong Ton Dam, activism, Chinese dam developers, large dams

Suggested Citation

Kirchherr, Julian and Charles, Katrina and Walton, Matthew, The Interplay of Activists and Dam Developers: The Case of Myanmar's Mega-Dams (May 12, 2016). Kirchherr, J., Charles, K. and Walton, M. (2016) The Interplay of Activists and Dam Developers: The Case of Myanmar's Mega-Dams. International Journal of Water Resources Development, 33 (1): 111-131. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2956656

Julian Kirchherr (Contact Author)

Utrecht University - Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development ( email )

Heidelberglann 2
3508 TC Utrecht
Netherlands

Katrina Charles

University of Oxford - School of Geography and Environment ( email )

Oxford University Centre for the Environment
South Parks Road
Oxford, OX1 3QY
United Kingdom

Matthew Walton

University of Oxford - Saint Antony’s College ( email )

Oxford
United Kingdom

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