More than 230 representatives participated in the workshop, including members of Thai environmental groups, experts from China, academic experts and professors from respective universities and environmental activities and experts and members of Mon society organizations.
The workshop, entitled “Workshop on Socioeconomics and Ecosystem Values of the Thanlwin River: Towards Trans-boundary Management Framework and Research Collaboration Network”, was held at the Mawlamyine University convention hall, in Moulmein City.
“[During the workshop] academic experts [held] discussion about the 16 dams built along the Salween River. They discussed mainly about the consequences of the blockage of [the river] water from running,” said U Min Min Nwe, a member of the workshop organizing committee.
U Min Min Nwe continued that, after this workshop, representatives who presented at the workshop would travel along the Salween River on September 5th, in order to observe the lives of communities and local residents residing along the river, meeting with locals for interviews regarding changes that have effected them.
The workshop was organized in collaboration of the Renewable Energy Association of Myanmar (REAM) and Towards Ecological Recovery and Regional Alliance (TERRA), and was held to foster discussion amongst respective university researchers and experts regarding the ecosystem and resources of the Salween River.
“An expert particularly studied in the Salween River, who discussed at the workshop, said that it is completely not suitable to construct dams on the Salween River,” said workshop attendee Ko Kyi Zaw Lwin.
According to the Myanmar River Watch, dam construction along the Salween River will cause negative effects, not only to local residents and their farming, but may also negatively impact peace talks for the nationwide ceasefire agreement which the government and ethnic armed groups have been working towards.
According to records and reports from networks working for the rivers in Burma, investment companies, namely Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT), China Three Gorges Project Development Corporation (CTGPDC), Shwe Taung Hydropower Company, and Myanmar Electric Power Enterprise, became involved in dam construction projects along the Salween River, and have never provided awareness or education concerning negative impacts on the community caused by dam construction.