Rapid development in large-scale water and energy infrastructure has resulted in an increase in the demand for cumulative impact assessment (CIA) capacity in the Lower Mekong region (LMR). CIA is a risk assessment and planning tool for incremental, multi-project planning that puts multi-disciplinary and stakeholder inclusiveness at the heart of its process. While some guidance for conducting CIA has been established, it is recognized to be a methodology that is still evolving, where there are no set rules, and is considered to be an emerging field for the LMR. Water and energy infrastructure in this context includes hydropower and associated reservoirs, irrigation systems, and large-scale high water consumption industries and urban centers.
Two recent regional planning assessments led by the Mekong River Commission (MRC), namely the “Basin Development Plan Study” in 2012, and the “Council Study: Impacts of Mekong Mainstream Hydropower Dams” in 2017, are key examples of regional CIA studies on large scale energy and water infrastructure development. Both studies are also illustrative of common challenges in conducting such large-scale assessments, including: 1) lack of available regional experts; 2) inability to identify standard methodologies that were well accepted among key stakeholders; 3) lack of understanding of the relevant complex and multi-dimensional development sectors; and 4) lack of certain datasets or low quality data.
To help address these capacity gaps in the LMR, the Lower Mekong Initiative - Sustainable Infrastructure Program (LMI-SIP) and partners are organizing a training event, namely “Cumulative Impact Assessment on Lower Mekong Regional Water and Energy Infrastructure Planning and Development.” This training event seeks to build fundamental principles and skill sets on CIA and water resources planning. The training is expected to be held from August20-25, 2018, in Chiang Rai Province, Thailand.
Objective of the training: To build additional skillsets in CIA for the Lower Mekong (LM) regional and national experts, focusing on regional water and energy infrastructure development and planning.
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