Agricultural Land in the GMS (thousand hectare) in ... - GMS-EOC

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Agricultural Land in the GMS (thousand hectare) in ... - GMS-EOC

Importance of Rice. The GMS is home to the“rice bowls” of the Ayeyarwady, Chao Phraya,Mekong, and Red River deltas. Most of the poorsubsist on a diet of rice and fish. Myanmar,Thailand, and Viet Nam earn foreign exchange byexporting their surplus production. Rice productionis crucial to the subregion’s economies.In Viet Nam, rice accounts for more than 85% offood grain output; the country became a net riceexporter in 1989 and produced about 40 million tonsin 2010. In Thailand, in spite of a declining trendin domestic demand, rice production continued togrow, making it the second largest producer in theGMS. Thailand’s rice exports have been growingsteadily and stood at 9.1 million tons in 2010. Nextto Thailand, Viet Nam exported 6.9.million tonsof rice and is now the second largest rice exporterin the world. Much of the surplus production inThailand is from the intensively cultivated centralregion, where the area planted with rice grew from6.9 million hectares in 1968 to 10.9 million hectaresin 2010 and has since been fluctuating between9 million and 11 million hectares, depending onthe relative price of rice in the world market.GMS Rice Production, 2000 and2010 (thousand ton)Country 2000 2010Cambodia 4,026.1 8,249.5PRCGuangxi 13,607.7 11,212.5Yunnan 5,362.9 6,165.7Lao PDR 2,201.7 3,006.0Myanmar 21,324.0 32,579.0Thailand 25,844.0 31,597.2Viet Nam 32,529.5 39,988.9GMS 104,895.9 132,798.8GMS = Greater Mekong Subregion, Lao PDR = Lao People’s Democratic Republic, PRC =People’s Republic of China.Source: Cambodia Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. Rice Production. http://www.stats.maff.gov.kh/en/index.php?page=stat&mode=riceproduction&option=com_content&Itemid=47; FAO. FAOSTAT. http://faostat.fao.org/site/291/default.aspx (accessed6 August 2012); Government of Myanmar, Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation.2011. Myanmar Agriculture at a Glance 2011. Nay Pyi Taw; Guangxi Bureau of Statistics.2011. Guangxi Statistical Yearbook 2011. Beijing; Thailand Ministry of Agriculture andCooperatives. 2011. Indicators of Agricultural Economy of Thailand 2010. Bangkok;Government of Viet Nam, Ministry of Planning and Investment, General Statistics Office.2011. Statistical Yearbook of Viet Nam 2010. Ha Noi; Yunnan Bureau of Statistics. YunnanStatistical Yearbooks 2001 and 2010. Beijing.commercial farming practices. Althoughindividual countries are progressing at differentpaces, in general, the countries are adoptingintensification, specialization, increasedagrochemical use, and mechanization. Trendsobserved in Thailand and the PRC are likelyto emerge in other countries of the GMS infuture. Production of such commodities as rice,oil crops (soybean, groundnut, sesame, andsunflower), and coarse grains (maize, millet, andsorghum) has more than doubled since 1990,outpacing the region’s rapid population growth.Many farmers have switched from growingrice to producing commercial crops, such asfruits, vegetables, rubber, and pulpwood.In Myanmar, rice is virtually the only food grainproduced and employs nearly 40% of the laborforce. In 2010, Myanmar produced 32.6 milliontons of rice on 8 million hectares of land. InCambodia, rice is the most important staple food,growing on about 2.7 million hectares and thecountry has ambitious plans for expansion andintensification. Cambodia was a net importer ofrice until 1995; since then, the country has becomeself-sufficient in rice production and produced 8.2million tons in 2010, exporting a small quantity.The Lao PDR produced 2.3 million tons of rice(2010) on an area of about 627,865 hectares.GMS Rice Production,2000–2010 (thousand ton)140,000120,000100,00080,00060,00040,00020,000020002001200220032004200520062007200820092010Most of the rice crop in the subregionis still harvested manually. Upper:Threshing rice, and Lower: Sun dryingrice, in Guangxi, PRCTrends in Agricultural ProductionCambodiaMyanmarGuangxi, PRCThailandYunnan, PRCViet NamLao PDRAgriculture in the GMS is shifting fromtraditional subsistence farming to modernGMS = Greater Mekong Subregion, Lao PDR = Lao People’s Democratic Republic,PRC = People’s Republic of China.Source: See table on GMS Rice Production, 2000 and 2010.Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food Security 155


Farmers in the GMS are increasingly optingfor ”green revolution” approaches andtechnologies rather than land expansion. Theseapproaches include more effective irrigation,improved plant varieties, increased use offertilizer, and better farming practices.Crop Diversity. The wide variety of cropsgrown across the subregion reflects nationalpreferences and the nature of availablefarmland. In Thailand, more than twice asmuch sugarcane—68.8 million tons (2010)—as rice is produced each year. Sugar is alsoimportant in Viet Nam, where it is about halfthe size of the rice crop, and in Myanmar.Other major crops are cassava and maize.Thailand produces large amounts of oil palm fruitand is the subregion’s leading rubber producer.Viet Nam produces most of the subregion’s coffeebeans, while Myanmar produces far more drybeans, groundnuts, and onions than the othercountries and is the only one producing plantains.Livestock. The main livestock raised in thesubregion are pigs, chickens, and cattle, withbuffalos and ducks being significant in somecountries as well. Quantities produced in thedifferent countries vary considerably, basedto some extent on differences in culturalvalues. The main product in Cambodia, theLao PDR, and Viet Nam is pig meat, while inMyanmar and Thailand it is chicken and heneggs. Thailand’s egg production was almost1 million tons in 2010, three times that ofViet Nam, the second largest egg producer.Land DegradationThe dramatic changes in land use andagricultural intensification have come at anenvironmental cost. According to the GreaterMekong Environment Outlook, land degradationaffects between 10% and 40% of land inthe GMS countries. Forest loss, agriculturalintensification, and overgrazing are the maincauses. Changes to natural landscapes associatedwith farming activities have disrupted vitalecological services by reducing the capacityof ecosystems to contain floods, controlerosion, and limit damage from pests.Fertilizer Consumption (kilogram per hectare of arable land)Country 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009Cambodia 6 4 5 20 22 21 6 7Myanmar 4 10 20 7 9 16 7 5Thailand 111 149 132 113 117 137 131 125Viet Nam 305 342 404 292 300 353 306 402Source: http://www.worldbank.org/data?qterm=fertilizer consumption&language=ENUpper: Pig farming, VientianeProvince, Lao PDR. Lower: Vegetablegrowing, Cambodia.GMS Primary Crops Production, 2010 (thousand ton)Cambodia PRC Lao PDR Myanmar Thailand Viet NamGuangxiYunnanRice 8,249 11,213 6,166 3,006 32,579 31,597 39,989Maize 773 2,087 6,130 1,084 1,376 4,454 4,607Pulses 39 a — 795 15 5,490 b 51 145Sugarcane 366 71,196 17,509 434 9,398 68,808 15,947Soy Bean 157 167 271 16 259 177 297Cassava 4,249 1,732 1,736 140 326 22,006 8,522Rubber 42 0.4 331 — 128 3,252 755Oil Palm — — — — 335 8,223 —a= 2008 data, b = 2009 data, - = not available.GMS = Greater Mekong Subregion, Lao PDR = Lao People’s Democratic Republic, PRC = People’s Republic of China.Source: See table on GMS Rice Production, 2000 and 2010.GMS Primary Livestock Products, 2010Cambodia PRC Lao PDR Myanmar Thailand Viet NamGuangxiYunnanPig (thousand head) 2,057 32,300 27,668 3,400 9,300 7,624 27,373Chicken (thousand17,448 — — 23,000 125,000 231,918 196,140 dhead)Cattle (thousand head) 3,485 3,199 a 4,971 b 1,400 13,600 6,498 5,916Duck (thousand head) 7,000 d — — 3,200 14,000 29,233 84,060 dBuffalo (thousand702 4,135 a 2,647 b 1,200 3,000 1,623 2,913head)Eggs (thousand ton) 22 200 208 16 302 981 326Milk (thousand ton) 27 82 504 7 1,603 851 341a= 2004 data, b = 2006 data, c = 2008 data, d = 2009 data. - = not available, GMS = Greater Mekong Subregion, Lao PDR = Lao People’s Democratic Republic, PRC = People’s Republic of China.Sources: See table on GMS Rice Production, 2000 and 2010; Guangxi Bureau of Statistics. Guangxi Statistical Yearbooks 2005 and 2011. Beijing; Yunnan Bureau of Statistics. YunnanStatistical Yearbooks 2008 and 2011. Beijing.156 Greater Mekong Subregion Atlas of the Environment


The Causes and Extent of LandDegradation in the GMSCambodiaYunnanLao PDRMyanmarThailandViet NamCambodiaYunnanLao PDRMyanmarThailandViet NamCauses0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50%Deforestration Overgrazing Agriculture activitiesExtent0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50%Light Moderate StrongGMS = Greater Mekong Subregion, Lao PDR = Lao People’s Democratic Republic.Source: Thailand Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and UNEPRegional Resource Center for Asia and the Pacific. Thailand National EnvironmentalPerformance Assessment (EPA) Report. Bangkok. http://www.ekh.unep.org/files/SEF%20II%20Report%20-%20Thailand.pdfWater Use for AgricultureAgriculture is the largest user of water in all the GMScountries, consuming between 58% in Guangxi,PRC, and 95% of total withdrawals. By alteringnatural flow regimes, irrigation development hasaffected fish populations and wetland habitats. Theresulting dry-season water shortages have increasedcompetition for water, especially in intensivelyirrigatedareas, such as Viet Nam’s Red River Deltaand Thailand’s Chao Phraya River Delta. Hydropowerschemes planned for the Mekong, Thanlwin, andAyeyarwady rivers will disrupt natural flows further,with implications for farming and fisheries. Blockingfish migration paths with dams, for example, preventstheir reaching spawning and feeding areas.Irrigation consumes an estimated 41.8 billioncubic meters of freshwater in the lower Mekongbasin, which includes parts of Cambodia, LaoPDR, Thailand, and Viet Nam. More than halfof the water is used in Viet Nam in the MekongDelta (26.3 billion cubic meters), followed byThailand (9.5 billion), the Lao PDR (3.0 billion),Cambodia (2.7 billion), and the highlands ofViet Nam (0.5 billion). Water-use strategies rangefrom supplementary water during the wet seasonto fully irrigated multicropping strategies.The area under irrigation has expanded graduallyin all countries. Most of the installed irrigationinfrastructure is found in northeastern Thailand andViet Nam’s Mekong Delta. A recent assessmentof irrigation in the lower Mekong basin recordedalmost 15,000 individual irrigation projects,varying from small to large scale, and fromgravity-fed to pump-fed irrigation. The totalarea under irrigation in the lower Mekong basinis estimated at 4 million hectares, of which3.5 million are irrigated in the wet season,1.2 million in the dry season, and about 1.5million hectares where a third crop is grown.Area of Irrigated Rice andOther Crops in the LowerMekong Basin, 2007 (hectare)CountryIrrigableArea1stSeasonRice2ndSeason3rdSeasonNon-riceCropAreaAnnualIrrigatedAreaCambodia 504,245 273,337 260,815 16,713 12,172 563,037Lao PDR 166,476 166,476 97,224 — 6.977 270,677Thailand 1,411,807 1,354,804 148,255 — 252,704 1,755,763Viet NamTotal 1,919,623 739,594 1,478,740 329,740 4,217,983Delta 1,528,225 663,410 1,478,740 294,899 3,965,274141,684 76,184 34,841 252,709HighlandsTotal LMB 4,002,151 3,464,526 1,245,888 1,495,453 601,593 6,807,460- = not available, GMS = Greater Mekong Subregion, Lao PDR = Lao People’s DemocraticRepublic, LMB = lower Mekong basin.Source: Mekong River Commission. 2010. State of the Basin Report 2010. Vientiane.Upper: Cattle farming, Thailand.Lower: Land cleared for shiftingcultivation of rice or maize, centralAnnamites, Viet Nam.Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food Security 157


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Agroecological ZonesThe GMS comprises four agroecological zones thathave common farming systems and are subjectto similar geographic constraints and risks.Deltas and the Tonle Sap Floodplain. TheTonle Sap floodplain and mega deltas of the Red,Mekong, Chao Phraya, and Ayeyarwady riversrepresent around 8% of the total GMS land areabut house over a third of the total population, some86 million people. Rural population densities arehigh and each delta hosts a major city. The citiesprovide markets and fuel demand for staples,vegetables, poultry, and meat. The main delta“rice bowls” of the GMS vary from the Tonle Sapfloodplain and the Ayeyarwady Delta, which stillhave limited irrigation and low populations, tothe densely settled and intensively farmed ChaoPhraya, Mekong, and Red River deltas; the latterproduce two or three crops a year and have highlydeveloped irrigation infrastructure (dykes, levees,and canals to divert and retain water). But they allsuffer from water shortages in the dry season. Inthe Mekong Delta in Viet Nam, more than 80% ofdry-season flows are diverted for irrigation, resultingin local water shortages and seawater intrusion.The deltas and the Tonle Sap floodplain supportextensive capture fisheries, as well as rapidlyexpanding brackishwater and freshwateraquaculture. The Mekong Delta accounts for70% of Viet Nam’s aquaculture productionand 63% of its marine capture fisheries. TheTonle Sap floodplain is particularly importantbecause of its productivity and link to the inlandfisheries of the lower Mekong basin, includingCambodia, Lao PDR, and Viet Nam. The TonleSap fishery alone accounts for almost two thirdsof Cambodia’s inland fishery catch and accordingto the National Accounts of Cambodia thefisheries sector made up 7.5% of GDP in 2010.Lowland Plains and Plateaus. Lowland plainsand plateaus—from forests growing in northernCambodia to the partially irrigated, extensiveagriculture of the Isan Plateau, to the highlyirrigated Central Thailand plain—make up a quarterof the GMS and house 64 million people. Apartfrom sparsely populated northern Cambodia,population densities are moderate and povertyis widespread. Lowland plains have been largelycleared for agriculture in Thailand and Myanmar,with the remaining native vegetation limitedto higher, steeper land. Significant stands offorest remain in northeastern Cambodia and thesouthern Lao PDR. Poor soils are widespread,access to water is limited, and the remainingforests have significant conservation value.Agriculture is mostly rainfed, although annualrainfall is generally low. Lowland plains andplateaus produce a quarter of the GMS’s rice,mostly in the wet season. In the dry season,farmers graze livestock on the rice stubble,planting a second crop of irrigated rice, orgrowing irrigated sugarcane, maize, legumes,pulses, or cassava. Large herds of cattle andbuffalo graze in the plains and plateaus. Cattleare progressively replacing buffalo due tomechanization and dietary preferences for beef.Large-scale plantations of oil palm, rubber,eucalyptus, sugarcane, cassava, and other industrialcrops are increasing on the plains and plateaus.For example, by 2007, Lao PDR had grantedUpper: Manual tractor, Yunnan, PRC,called the “iron buffalo” in some lowerMekong countries. Lower: Carryingfreshly harvested sugarcane, Guangxi,PRC. Women carry out vital farmingtasks across the subregion.Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food Security 159


Above left: Satellite image showing theextensive conversion of land in Isaan,the northeastern region of Thailandon the Khorat Plateau, to small-scalefarming, mainly of rice.concessions to 123 large plantations covering165,794 hectares. Sixty percent of these werelocated in the lowland plains of the central andsouthern Lao PDR. There is minimal infrastructureon the plains of northern and northeasternCambodia but all other GMS countries haveinvested heavily in irrigation. Thailand’s ChaoPhraya River Basin is highly developed withtwo large water storages and thousands of smalldams and reservoirs. Irrigation has expandedin Myanmar since the 1980s and now covers aquarter of the cropped area. In the Lao PDR, morethan 4,000 small to medium-sized schemes pumpwater from rivers. This irrigation infrastructurecovers 190,000 hectares during the wet seasonand 136,000 hectares in the dry season.Coastal Plains. Narrow coastal plains risingrapidly to coastal ranges of 500 to 2,000 metersin height make up 10%–15% of Thailand,Myanmar, and Cambodia, and over a third of VietNam. Coastal rivers tend to be short and steep,with small watersheds. Coastal zones exhibit arange of agricultural systems, from paddy rice torainfed field crops (legumes, cassava, sugarcane,and peanut), tree crops (fruit, nuts, eucalypt forpaper pulp, jatropha, and rubber), and intensivecattle and pig farming. With farm sizes small andgrazing areas limited, there has been a shift towardraising livestock intensively in combination withgrowing crops. Small-scale irrigation of rice andvegetables using rivers and groundwater takes placeon the floodplains of coastal rivers. Plantationsaccount for a quarter of the cropped area.Significant areas of forest remain in coastal parts ofMyanmar and Cambodia but rates of deforestationand mangrove clearance are high. Little naturalforest cover remains in Thailand as a result ofconversion to plantations since the early 1900s.Significant areas of forest remain in Viet Nambut logging and thinning have taken their toll.Erosion in the coastal uplands is exacerbatedby flash flooding along the short, steep coastalrivers. The sandy, low-fertility soils of the coastalstrip make it hard for farmers to maintainproductivity. Urban and agricultural pollutantsreduce water quality in coastal environmentsclose to densely populated parts of Viet Namand Thailand. Pollution and the destructionof mangrove and coral habitats have affectedfish stocks in the shallow waters fished bylarge numbers of small-scale fishers. Marineand brackishwater aquaculture is carriedout extensively in the coastal zone, mainlyin deltaic areas, and has been responsiblefor much of the loss of mangroves.Intensively Farmed and Forested Uplands. Overhalf of the GMS consists of hills and mountains.These uplands support 85 million people, of160 Greater Mekong Subregion Atlas of the Environment


whom 46 million live in Yunnan Province, PRC.Two agricultural systems exist: intensive farmingof highly productive, densely populated uplandriver valleys; and swidden agriculture andlivestock grazing of sparsely populated forestedterrains. This distinction is likely to remain, aslarge tracts of the forested uplands are steep,with poor, infertile soils. The boundaries betweenthe two will shift as degraded soils return toforests and new lands come into production.Intensive farming takes place on upland plainsand in river valleys, which are often terraced forgrowing rice. The subtropical climate gives way totemperate conditions at altitude, enabling a widerange of plants to grow. Major food crops includerice, maize, vegetables, wheat, and cassava.Important cash crops are vegetables, flowers,tobacco, coffee, sugarcane, tea, rubber, pepper, treefruits, cocoa, and mulberry. Farmers supplementirrigated wet-season rice with dry-season cropsof faba bean, wheat, oil seed rape, or sugarcane.They also raise livestock semi-intensively. Partialirrigation supports some cash crops, includingtobacco, vegetables, and coffee. Using groundwaterto irrigate coffee plantations in Viet Nam’sCentral Highlands has depleted water supplies.Traditionally, upland farmers derived theirlivelihoods from shifting or swidden cultivation(see next section), livestock farming, andby growing a limited number of cash crops.Upland fishing is insignificant economicallybut provides valuable protein to communities.Concerns about sustainability, the desire tolocate populations in areas where servicesexist, and various political and securityissues have led all governments to introduceprograms to resettle ethnic minorities anderadicate shifting cultivation. These policieshave prompted the expansion of permanentupland agriculture, often in unsuitable areas.Commercial plantations of rubber, timber, andoil crops are also increasing, particularly insouthern Yunnan, the northern Lao PDR, andparts of Myanmar. Wild-sourced timber remainsan important economic sector in the uplandsof Myanmar. A relatively high proportion offorest cover remains in the uplands, but it isshrinking. Rates of loss are high in Myanmarand the Lao PDR but have stabilized in YunnanProvince and Viet Nam, where replanting andrestoration programs have increased tree cover.Intensive upland farming causes catchmentwidesoil erosion. This decreases soil fertilityand overloads waterways with sediment. InleLake in Myanmar has shrunk in length from56 to 15 kilometers during half a century.Plantations also cause high soil erosionrates unless the understory is maintained.Above left: Weeding rice in the MekongDelta, Viet Nam. Above right: Satelliteimage showing a typical section ofthe Mekong Delta, almost completelyconverted to rice fields. Increasingchallenges are reduced freshwater flowsduring the dry season and seawaterintrusion due to rising sea levels.Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food Security 161


Plowing fields using draught animals—here water buffaloes near a Karenvillage, Thailand—is a commonsight across the subregion.162 Greater Mekong Subregion Atlas of the Environment


Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food Security 163


Annual AquacultureProduction in the GMS,2000–2010 (thousand ton)8,0007,0006,0005,0004,0003,0002,0001,000020002001CambodiaMyanmar2002200320042005Guangxi, PRCThailand200620072008Lao PDRViet Nam2009GMS = Greater Mekong Subregion, Lao PDR = Lao People’s Democratic Republic.Note: Yunnan data not available.Source: See table on annual total fisheries production.Annual Capture FisheriesProduction in the GMS,2000–2010 (thousand ton)10,0009,0008,0007,0006,0005,0004,0003,0002,0001,000020002001CambodiaMyanmar2002200320042005Guangxi, PRCThailand200620072008Lao PDRViet Nam2009GMS = Greater Mekong Subregion, Lao PDR = Lao People’s Democratic Republic.Note: Yunnan data not available.Source: See table on annual total fisheries production.20102010Freshwater capture fisheries and aquaculture fromthe lower Mekong basin are a major componentof the total at more than 3.9 million tons in 2008,comprising 1.9 million tons from capture and 2million tons from aquaculture. This basin and itsfreshwater fisheries are among the most productive inthe world. The total economic value of the Mekongfisheries is estimated at US$3.9–7.0 billion per year.Hundreds of wild fish species are caught, as wellas a wide range of other aquatic animals, includingshrimps, crabs, molluscs, insects, snakes, and turtles.Aquaculture operations include dozens ofspecies. Cultured fish dominate sales in citymarkets in the Lao PDR and Thailand. Much ofthe increase is due to culture of tilapia, pangasiidcatfish, and shrimp. Aquaculture exportsamount to about one million tons per year.Dependence on Fish. The importance of fishto the people of the subregion has often beenunderestimated. In Cambodia, fish and riceproduction is the basis for food security, andin other countries in the subregion, most poorpeople also rely heavily on fish for protein. Somefish are consumed fresh throughout the year, butpreserved fish, fish paste, and fish sauce—whichare made at the end of the wet season when fishare abundant and cheap—are equally important.As well as the catching or growing of fish andother aquatic animals, fisheries involve processing,transporting, and marketing of fishery products andmany other supporting industries. Fisheries in thelower Mekong basin occupy millions of people whowork full- or part-time, as individuals or in smallgroups, or as part of large commercial operations.Data from consumption surveys in the lowerMekong basin in 2000 indicate that about 2.6million tons of freshwater fish and other aquaticanimals were consumed by a population of 56Upper: Family sorting their fish catchon Tonle Sap, Cambodia. Artisanalfisheries on the lake support manythousands of households. Lower:Artisanal fisher with traditional fishingnet on Inle Lake, Myanmar.Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food Security 169


Upper: Fish from the Mekong River forsale in a Luangprabang market, LaoPDR. Lower: Bargaining for fish at afishing port near Nha Trang, Viet Nam.million people, an average of nearly 34 kilogramsper capita in that year, of which fish made up 80%and other aquatic animals the remainder. VietNam and Cambodia were the highest consumers.Freshwater production accounted for 47%–80%(country range) of animal protein in the diets ofthe population, a daily average intake of 18.3grams per capita of a total animal protein intakeof 32.5 grams. To these totals must be added theconsumption of marine products in the four lowerMekong basin countries, although only significant inThailand and Viet Nam as the table below shows.Estimated Per CapitaConsumption and Production ofFish and Other Aquatic Animals inthe Lower Mekong Basin in 2000Cambodia Lao PDR Thailand Viet NamAverage/TotalPer capita consumption (kilogram/year)Inland fish 32.3 24.5 24.9 34.5 29.3Other aquatic 4.5 4.1 4.2 4.5 4.3animalsTotalfreshwater36.8 28.6 29.0 39.0 33.7Production (ton/year as fresh weight animal equivalent)Inland fish 481,537 167,922 720,501 692,118 2,062,077Other aquatic 105,467 40,581 190,984 160,705 497,737animalsTotal587,004 208,503 911,485 852,823 2,559,814freshwaterMarineproducts11,421 2,480 130,075 129,418 273, 394Lao PDR = Lao People’s Democratic Republic.Source: Mekong River Commission. 2007. Consumption and the Yield of Fish and OtherAquatic Animals from the Lower Mekong Basin. Vientiane.Scientists estimate a maximum sustainable annualfreshwater catch in the lower Mekong basin inthe range of 0.7–2.9 million tons. The catch in2008 (1.9 million tons) suggests that the fisherystill has potential to expand, but much dependson maintaining the ecosystems that supportthe aquatic fauna. Overall, the data reveal anenormous inland fishery that is vital in terms ofnutrition, livelihoods, food security, and culture.Most inland aquaculture is in northeasternThailand on the Khorat Plateau and in theMekong Delta in Viet Nam, and productionhas been steadily increasing. Traditionally, tinyfry or fingerlings are caught in rivers and lakesand raised in enclosures but in recent years,the artificial rearing of fry of some species ismaking their production more reliable. Given theproblems facing the fisheries in the subregion, theaquaculture subsector will become more importantin the future, but itself may be constrained byenvironmental problems, such as water shortagesand pollution from agricultural run-off.Fish Provide Much More than ProteinVirtually all farm families in the lower Mekongbasin, and most other rural families as well, fishfor subsistence and for extra cash income. Fish areeaten regularly by almost all people, providing notonly a major source of protein but also essentialelements (including calcium, iron, and zinc) andvitamins—particularly vitamin A. Smaller fishgenerally have higher mineral content than largefish, so they are particularly important to the ruralpoor who tend to eat small fish and sell larger fish.Fish also compare very favorably in calciumcontent with other common foods; recent studiesshow that calcium absorption from small fish issimilar to that from milk.Protecting the exceptionally productive freshwaterfisheries of the Mekong and other rivers should bea very high priority across the GMS. If the fisheriesbegin to fail and the rate of fish consumptionfalls, public health, especially among the poor,will be very seriously affected. Most poor peoplehave no other sources of food. The loss of dietarycalcium, for one, would be difficult to offset.Milk has been successfully introduced into theregular diet of many people in Thailand, but it iscomparatively expensive and there is not enoughof it to feed everyone in the subregion. Besides,lactose would be indigestible to many adults whorarely, if ever, drank milk in their childhood.Potential Threats to AquaticFauna and FisheriesThe Mekong River system has two general classesof fish: white fish, which migrate seasonally upand down the river and its tributaries; and blackfish, which live in lakes, ponds, and swamps.Both classes of fish disperse seasonally across70,000 square kilometers of diverse habitatson the nutrient-rich floodplains to reproduceand grow. There are about 20,000 dams andweirs in the lower Mekong basin alone. Thesestructures have affected the fish, which are alsounder threat from current and planned damprojects on the Mekong River main stem.There are at least 1,200 species of fish, and possiblyas many as 1,700, living in the Mekong River Basin.They have developed over many millennia inresponse to a flow regime that varies greatly from thewet to the dry season. The annual change includesnot only a large seasonal floodplain, but also theimportant and unique reversing flow of the Tonle SapRiver and the flood buffer system of Tonle Sap itself.Fish reproduction is keyed to this hydrological cycle,as evidenced by the close correlation between theannual maximum flood level and the fish catch ofthe dai (large bag net) fishery in the Tonle Sap River.Threats arise from two sources: the impacts offisheries activities themselves and impacts arisingfrom outside the fisheries sector. The direct threatsto biodiversity posed by the fisheries sector includethe use of destructive fishing methods (explosives,poisons, and electrocution); exploitation of fish atvulnerable stages, such as at spawning times; andfishing in sensitive areas, such as spawning grounds.The highly migratory fish stocks are more vulnerableto over-harvest. Large numbers of these fish migrate at170 Greater Mekong Subregion Atlas of the Environment


the same time, making them vulnerable to intensivefishing, and especially to large-scale commercialoperations. Examples include the dais on the TonleSap River. Because licenses have a short duration,many fishers tend to over-exploit the fishery.Outside the sector, the negative consequencesof deforestation, inappropriate agriculture, roadconstruction, hydropower, and other forms ofdevelopment are already evident. A secondmajor concern is the loss of riparian vegetationcover, and, in particular, the rapid loss of floodedforests, which provide crucial habitat for fishes.Dams and Weirs. Each dam built forhydropower generation, irrigation, floodcontrol, or water supply stores water in thewet season and releases water in the dryseason, thus reducing the flow of the riverin the wet season and increasing it in thedry season. These modifications in the flowregime alter the natural dynamics of theriver and can also disrupt fish migration andspawning, thus reducing the yield of fisheries.The rapid pace of tributary hydropowerdevelopment highlights the importance ofassessing the cumulative impacts of the tributarydams, including the impacts on tributary riverflow regimes, fish passage, water quality, andsediment flow.Two options have been identified for the proposedSambor Dam on the main stem Mekong River inCambodia. The high option, with an 800-squarekilometer reservoir, would seriously obstruct fishmigrations. The low option would be less of anobstacle, but would still present a significantdanger to masses of planktonic fish eggs, larvae,and fry diverted through the power plant. Afeasibility study for the low dam was done in2000, but the proposal remains controversial,especially following the detrimental effects of thePak Mun Dam on fisheries in that watershed.Lancang Cascade. Of the planned cascade of eightdams, primarily for hydropower, in the Mekongmain stem in Yunnan, two have been completed,and three more are under construction. TheLancang Cascade could have significant impactdownstream on the river’s hydrology, annual floodpattern, fisheries, and navigation. Most importantly,sedimentation in the reservoirs will make thereleased water deficient in sediments and thusclearer than normal; reservoir stratification couldalso make the water devoid of oxygen at times.Navigational Improvements in the UpperMekong River. In 1993, the governments of the LaoPDR, Myanmar, PRC, and Thailand began lookinginto how the Mekong River could be made morenavigable for regional commerce. In its naturalstate, the river can be navigated year-round onlyUpper: Scooping shrimp from a largeshrimp pond in the Mekong Delta,Viet Nam. The pond is dotted withyoung, replanted mangroves, part ofa Government coastal rehabilitationprogram. Lower: Family removing fishfrom a net, Tonle Sap, Cambodia.Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food Security 171


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Removing Barriers to FishMovementThe Pak Mun Dam, 5 kilometers from theconfluence of the Mun and Mekongrivers, has blocked the migration of whitefish between the two rivers, and decimatedimportant fisheries upstream from the dam.The 120,000-square kilometer Mun-Chi RiverBasin is one of the largest sub-catchments ofthe Mekong River; however, the small, poorlydesigned fish pass at the dam is inadequateto accommodate either large individual fish orlarge numbers of fish (many tens of thousandsof fish may need to pass at the height of themigrations). Social protests since the dam’scompletion in 1994 have occasionally forcedauthorities to keep its floodgates open toallow fish to pass through, and when thathas happened, the fisheries have temporarilyrebounded as a result.Upper: Using cast nets to catch fish ina flooded rice field, Cambodia. Lower:The Nam Theun 2 hydro dam in LaoPDR.by small vessels of less than 60 dead-weight tonsbecause of reefs, shoals, and rapids between theYunnan border of the PRC and Ban Houayxaiin the Lao PDR, although some sections can besafely navigated by larger vessels in high water. InApril 2000, the four countries agreed to make theriver eventually navigable by barges of up to 500dead-weight tons by removing the rapids, shoals,and reefs, and increasing the dry season flow byreleasing water from the Lancang Cascade.These rapids, shoals, and reefs regulate water flowsand oxygenate the water. They are also importanthabitats and spawning grounds for fish. Amongthe fish most at risk from such development isthe endangered giant Mekong River catfish.River Pollution from Many Sources. Mostarable land in the subregion is already cultivated.New technology and intensified farming tofeed the growing population probably willmean increased fertilizer and pesticide use.Fertilizers speed up eutrophication (a processthat reduces the amount of available oxygen)while pesticides can kill fish or affect theirreproduction. Thus, fish production is reduced inrivers and lakes that receive agricultural runoff.Industrial, municipal, and domestic wastes willincrease as the population grows. Like agriculturalchemicals, these wastes hasten eutrophicationand increase the toxicity of receiving waters.To protect both inland and coastal fish andfisheries in the GMS, better regulation ofagricultural chemicals and their use, andmore efficient facilities for treating industrial,municipal, and domestic wastes are essential.174 Greater Mekong Subregion Atlas of the Environment


Above:Province, central Viet Nam. Right:Plantation, April 2010Northern MyanmarPlantation, April 2011Northern Myanmar176 Greater Mekong Subregion Atlas of the Environment


Trends in the GMS FoodConsumption per Person3,5003,0002,5002,0001,5001,0005000(kcal/day)1990-92 2000-02 2005-07GMS = Greater Mekong Subregion, kcal = kilocalories, Lao PDR = Lao People’sDemocratic Republic, PRC = People’s Republic of China.Source: FAO. FAOSTAT. http://faostat.fao.org/site/291/default.aspx.International prices of the two key staple cerealsproduced and consumed in the GMS, rice andwheat, have spiked unexpectedly in the past. In2007, world rice prices were roughly double thelevels of 2002 and in the first quarter of 2008, therate of increase of international rice prices sharplyaccelerated, fueling inflation and stoking fears of a21st century food crisis in Asia. Wheat—the secondmost important item in the food consumption basketin Asia—has also had a spike in international pricesalthough not as pronounced as in the case of rice.A complex set of factors has caused a phenomenalincrease in world food prices in recent years. Theseinclude declining stocks as a result of productivitygrowth failing to keep pace with consumptiongrowth, the rising scarcity of oil, weather–relatedfactors, and financial market behavior. Mostimportantly, the rapid increase in world population;competing use of food grains for non-humanconsumption, such as animal feed and biofuels;pricing policies; and underinvestment in agriculturein the past decade have discouraged farmers fromincreasing production. The rising cost of farm inputsdue to high fuel prices, inadequate postharvesthandling and distribution systems, and poorinfrastructure have also served to dampen supply.The surge in the prices of agricultural commoditieshas threatened economic stability and overallgrowth, especially for low-income net-importingcountries. However, the impacts of high foodprices on national income and the balance ofpayments can be relatively small, as distinctfrom impacts on poor households. The mostvisible impact of the price surge of agriculturalcommodities has been food price inflation.In some GMS countries, where poor householdsspend about 70%–80% of their income onfood, the impacts of rising food prices willVegetable farm, Red River Delta, VietNam.Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food Security 177


e severe. With rapidly declining purchasingpower, poor households face the risk of foodinsecurity and malnutrition as they compromiseon more expensive sources of nutrient-richfoods, health care, education, and other nonfoodhousehold expenditures. In the absence ofsocial safety nets, this can pose serious risks topoor households, such as reduced food intake, orreduction in the intake of more nutritious foods,and a reduction in health and wellness. Copingmechanisms are likely to take the form of sale ofhousehold or farming assets, or taking out loansat exorbitant rates with the danger of default.With over one third of the GMS population livingunder the poverty line, the consequences of risingfood prices have already been severe for the poorerhouseholds and smallholder farmers, threateningto wipe out the gains from past poverty reductionefforts. A 10% increase in the price of rice willincrease national poverty rates by 0.5%. Landlesshouseholds, daily casual laborers, female-headedhouseholds, and the handicapped (those withchronic illnesses) are the most severely affected.The urban poor are more likely to be affected byincreasing fuel costs. Rising costs of inputs, suchas imported feed ingredients, are raising pricesof poultry and other meat products. This trendin rising food inflation is likely to erode foodaffordability of the poor. Urban households willexperience greater losses in real income, owingto their larger proportion of food expenditure tototal expenditure than that of rural households.The increase in world food prices hascoincided with not only the increase in fuelprices—which is a global phenomenon—butalso with increases in the cost of land andhousing, education, and social services.Upper: Busy floating market, Nga Nam,Viet Nam. Lower: Traditional foodpreparation, Champasak village, LaoPDR. Rice is almost always the mainstaple across the subregion.Retail Price of Milled Rice (domestic currency per ton)Country 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010PRC 1,323 1,422 1,580 1,637 2,362 2,225 2,174 2,430 2,400 3,930 4,600Lao PDR 2,374,000 2,339,750 2,659,083 3,495,583 4,007,250 4,075,250 4,622,084 5,003,334 6,385,750 7,123,084 7,437,458Myanmar 46,258 46,995 98,005 — — 155,800 217,276 259,408 352,337 340,919 —Thailand 7,332 7,040 7,681 7,636 8,968 10,847 10,885 10,500 18,951 16,964 13,927Viet Nam 2,782,500 2,509,500 3,423,000 3,454,500 3,664,500 4,315,500 4,462,500 5,764,862 9,336,257 8,907,854 11,041,665- = not available, Lao PDR = Lao People’s Democratic Republic, PRC = People’s Republic of China.Note: For Thailand, data are wholesale prices.Source: International Rice Research Institute. http://beta.irri.org/index.php/Online-Query.html.178 Greater Mekong Subregion Atlas of the Environment


Water Resources and Withdrawals in GMS CountriesCambodia PRC* Lao PDR Myanmar Thailand Viet NamWater ResourcesLong-term average annual precipitationDepth (= internal renewable water resources)1,904 645 1,834 2,091 1,622 1,821(millimeter per year)Volume (cubic kilometer per year) 345 6,192 434 1,415 832 603Long-term average annual renewable water resourcesExternal renewable water resources (cubic kilometer355 27 143 165 214 525per year)Total renewable water resources (cubic kilometer per year) 476 2,840 334 1,168 439 884Total dam capacity (cubic kilometer) — 562 8 15 77 20Pressure on Water ResourcesTotal freshwater withdrawal as proportion of average0.5 19.5 1.3 2.9 13.1 9.3renewable water resources (%)Agriculture water withdrawal as proportion of average0.4 12.6 1.2 2.5 11.8 8.8renewable water resources (%)Area Equipped for IrrigationTotal area equipped for irrigation (‘000 hectare) 353 62,938 310 2,110 6,415 4,585As proportion of cultivated area (%) 8.9 51.4 26.5 18.1 34.0 48.7Actually irrigated (‘000 hectare) 317 54,219 271 2,110 5,060 4,585* Refers to the People’s Republic of China as a whole.- = not available, GMS = Greater Mekong Subregion, Lao PDR = Lao People’s Democratic Republic, PRC= People’s Republic of China.Source: FAO AQUASTAT. http://www.fao.org/nr/water/aquastat/countries_regions/index.stmUpper left: Ba Lai Irrigation Dam in theMekong River Delta, Viet Nam. Upperright: Water treatment facility, PhnomPenh Water Supply Authority, awardwinningwater utility in Cambodia’scapital. Lower left: Water for domesticuse. A hand pump provides water toChampasak village, Lao PDR.There is increasing competition for water fromagriculture, towns and cities, and industrial estatesand growth centers. Urban centers and industriesin the Mekong River Basin depend very much onthe Mekong River and its tributaries for their watersupply. Populations in some cities are connectedto public water supply systems, which draw watersfrom the Mekong River and its tributaries. The totalwater demand per capita and domestic-industrialwater demand projections to 2020 denote adramatic rise.Demand scenarios of the Lower Mekong RiverBasin studied by the Mekong River Commission inits second Basin Development Plan provide someguidance on growth patterns. In the agriculturalsector, demand for water is set to nearly doubleacross the GMS countries by 2030.Total Water Demand Per Capitaand Domestic-Industrial Demandin the Mekong River Basin, 1990and Projected to 2020Total DemandPer Capita(cubic meter)Domestic-Industrial Demand(million cubic meter)Country1990 1990 2020Cambodia 150 78 187250 121 328PRC,YunnanLao PDR 280 70 168Myanmar — — —Thailand 350 725 1,467Viet Nam 550 899 1,994- = not available, Lao PDR = Lao People’s Democratic Republic, PRC= People’s Republicof China.Source: UNEP. 2006. Global International Waters Assessment. Regional Assessment 55Mekong River. Nairobi. http://www.unep.org/dewa/giwa/publications/r55.asp180 Water Availability, Demand, and Usage


Annual Irrigation Demand, LowerMekong River Basin, Projected to2030 (million cubic meter)Country 2000 2007 2030Cambodia 2,917 2,775 4,120Lao PDR 2,912 2,494 7,279Thailand 9,863 11,241 21,296Viet Nam 25,867 25,751 31,483Basin Total 41,558 42,261 64,178Lao PDR = Lao People’s Democratic Republic.Source: Mekong River Commission. 2010. Basin Development Program II. Vientiane.Industrial Water Use and Trends inLower Mekong Countries (millioncubic meter)Annual Industrial Water UseCountry2000 2007 2030 2060Cambodia 13 20 108 331PRCGuangxi — 4,780 — —Yunnan 1,831 1,880 — —Lao PDR 12 20 47 190Myanmar — 222 (2008) — —Thailand 94 140 239 581Viet Nam 44 122 149 837- = not available, Lao PDR = Lao People’s Democratic Republic, PRC= People’s Republicof China.Source. Mekong River Commission. 2010. State of the Basin Report 2010. Vientiane;Government of Myanmar, Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation. 2009. Water ResourcesManagement in Myanmar. Nay Pyi Taw; : National Bureau of Statistics of China. 2007.China Statistical Yearbook 2007. Beijing; Yunnan Water Resources Bureau. 2010. YunnanWater Resources Report 2010. Kunming.The distribution of annual freshwater withdrawalsfor the industrial sector refers to the allocationof water resources for direct industrial use, forexample the cooling of thermoelectric plants,paper making, chemical manufacture, iron andsteel production, oil refining, food processing,vegetable washing, drinks bottling, ice making,chemical products, etc. Industrial developmentis progressing at a steady pace in Guangxi andYunnan in the PRC, Thailand, and Viet Nam,and at an early stage in Cambodia, Lao PDR,and Myanmar. However, rapid urbanization isexpected to continue along with growth of theindustrial sector. Northeastern Thailand and theMekong Delta are the most advanced industrialareas in the region. Industrial development inCambodia and the Lao PDR is occurring almostexclusively in their capital cities, Phnom Penh andVientiane. Most private industries in the GMS usegroundwater or surface water from rainfall andwater withdrawals are generally not recorded.Water Supply, Sanitation, and WastewaterTreatment. The countries in the GMS have poorwater supply and sanitation services in mosturban and peri-urban areas. Many secondarytowns have no formalized water supply. Althoughwater supply and sanitation programs areunderway in each country within the contextof reaching Millennium Development Goaltargets, current levels of investment are grosslyinadequate. Urbanization is occurring at a fasterpace than the rate of implementation of watersupply and sanitation facilities. Urban wastewatertreatment is largely absent in some countries ofthe GMS, except for treatment of some sewerage.An expected doubling of the urban population by2030 will greatly increase pollutant loads.Water Quality and Pollution Levels. TheMekong River and its tributaries are still regardedas fairly unpolluted, although some areas nearurban centers or with intensive agricultureand aquaculture experience elevated levels ofnutrients and organic matter. Livestock farmsin the Lower Mekong River Basin countries areknown to cause pathogen contamination andhigh levels of biochemical oxygen demandUpper: Wastewater discharging intoa canal from Navana Korn IndustrialEstate, Thailand. Lower: Young boyhelping to sell bottled drinking water onthe Mekong River, Can Tho, Viet Nam.Water Availability, Demand, and Usage 181


Upper left: Water for health. Familybathing in a river, Champasak, LaoPDR. Lower left: Pristine stream, LaoPDR. Above right: Water for transport.The Saigon River at Ho Chi Minh City,Viet Nam, an important waterway forvessels large and small.(BOD); pollutants in wastewater from fishprocessing generate BOD, nitrogen, andsuspended solids. Water pollution from industrialsources has been identified, especially in thecapital cities of Vientiane and Phnom Penh, andmore generally in northeastern Thailand and theMekong Delta. Generally, treatment of industrialwastewater is limited and handling and disposalof industrial hazardous waste are insufficient.So far, industrial water pollution is mainlyconcentrated around factories and downstreamof major urban areas. With increasingindustrialization, more severe water dischargeproblems will occur and inter-sectoral conflictsover water quality demands may increase.Industrial waste water management in Cambodiais poor, few factories have waste water treatmentfacilities, and control of industrial waste waterdischarge is not enforced. Of the factories inPhnom Penh, only eight have on-site primarytreatment and their effluents generally exceedCambodia’s water quality standards. Anotherpollution problem relates to gemstone miningactivities in the western part of the country.Industrial activity in the Thai part of theLower Mekong River Basin is dominated bymanufacturing (including agro-industry, but alsosome textile production, light assembly, andrubber processing). Industrial wastes are expectedto increase as the sector expands. Over the next10 years, pollution loading is expected to increaseby 87%. Industrial development is also increasingthe amounts of hazardous wastes. In northeasternThailand, the generation of hazardous wastesis expected to increase by about 72% over thenext five years. All factories are required to havetheir own wastewater recycling system to allowcontaminants to settle before water is released.In Viet Nam, water pollution is serious, especially inrivers and canals near urban centers. Most industrialwastewater is discharged without proper treatment.Hazardous wastes are generated by the fastestgrowing sectors, such as steel, electronics, andchemicals. Overall, there are no systems in placefor the handling, storage, or treatment of hazardouswastes. In the Mekong Delta, where developmentof industry has been relatively slow, existingindustries have caused quite serious water pollution(e.g., organic contamination from breweries andcanneries). Heavy industry is becoming significantwith the initiation of a steel rolling mill in Can Thowith a capacity of 120,000 tons per year.Transboundary Water Pollution. There is nostrong evidence of transboundary pollutionwithin the Lower Mekong River Basin, althoughelevated nitrogen levels in the upper basinindicate some transboundary transmission ofpollutants from the upper to the lower basin. Therapid development and increasing pollution ofthe upper Mekong basin in the PRC raises someconcerns about the future quality of incomingwater from the upper basin. The Mekong Rivertransports large amounts of sediment, muchof which originates in the upper basin. Thisprocess helps to redistribute nutrients withinthe basin and is very important for areas of highproductivity, such as Tonle Sap. In this sense,transboundary transportation of nutrients alongthe river has so far been regarded as a benefitrather than a cause of pollution.Water Security Challenges. Over the next decade,the countries of the GMS face decisions about waterresource development that will have far-reachingconsequences. The relatively low level of waterresource development in the region to date and highlevels of dependence on natural aquatic ecosystems182 Water Availability, Demand, and Usage


as a major source of food, mean that there areboth great opportunities and great risks. Increasinginfrastructure and withdrawals will inevitably—andpossibly irrevocably—change the way that riversystems function.Proposed hydropower development in the majorriver basins of the GMS will result in changes toriver flows at a previously unprecedented scale andrate. The importance of freshwater fisheries to foodsecurity in the region underscores the importanceof protecting the productive capacity of freshwaterecosystems from the impacts of these changes. Thisrequires attention not only to environmental flows,but also to habitat coherence and connectivity atthe landscape scale. Main stem dams are predictedto have substantial and prolonged consequences forMekong River system water resources and security.Projections indicate that the impacts of climatechange on water resources in the GMS over thenext 20–30 years are likely to be small comparedto the impact of economic, demographic, andenvironmental changes. This “breathing space”provides an opportunity for countries andcommunities to reshape their water managementsystems and to deal with the more extremechanges expected after 2050. The most effectivestrategies for adaptation will be those that promotemore productive water use, reduce water-relatedrisk and vulnerability, and build the overallresilience of rural and urban communities.In the water sector, the GMS countries needto move rapidly toward improving water useefficiency in the agriculture sector expandingand promoting traditional water conservationmeasures, improving irrigation efficiency,and improving water demand management.Elimination of demand side measures, such asthe recent removal of irrigation fees in Viet Nam,will make it more difficult to implement reforms.The countries in the GMS, particularly Viet Nam,need to increasingly prepare for climate changeadaptation. The focus needs to be two-fold: earlywarning and preparedness for extreme events, bothfloods and droughts; and investment in capacity,infrastructure, and research and development tocope with gradual, long-term changes in sea-levelrise and hotter weather. Given that all countriesin the GMS tend to be affected at the same timeby droughts and floods, as the 2010 and 2011events have shown, climate change has opened anopportunity for the GMS countries to work togetherto mitigate adverse and enhance positive impactsfrom a changing climate. Technology transfer andjoint learning and capacity building events wouldbe essential elements for such collaboration.Among the potential opportunities for irrigationdevelopment in the Lower Mekong River Basinare changes in the wet and dry season flowregime, resulting from the large number ofplanned storage projects, which will shift the riverdischarge (both in the Mekong main stem andmajor tributaries) from the wet to the dry season.These proposed developments would reduceflood peaks and result in higher water availabilityin the dry season. At the same time, rising waterlevels would reduce the current pumping lifts,on which much of the dry season irrigatedinfrastructure relies.As the urban cities and towns in the Mekongregion have grown over the past decades, sohas the level of pollution that these settlementsdischarge into the local waterways. Governments,both local and central, as well as serviceproviders, have not been able to adequatelymanage wastewater discharge from urban centers,Upper: Water for agriculture. Irrigationcanal, Can Tho, Mekong Delta, VietNam. Lower: Water for cooling. PhaLai thermal power plant near Ha Noi,Viet Nam.Water Availability, Demand, and Usage 183


Upper: Water for food and livelihood.Fishing scene on Inle Lake, Myanmar.Lower: Irrigation weir, LuangprabangProvince, Lao PDR.especially secondary towns. Low levels ofrevenue generation that barely support operationand maintenance undermine the institutional andhuman resource capacities necessary to sustainthe delivery of services, while protecting localenvironments. Gross domestic product growth inthe GMS is now heavily biased toward industryand services, reflecting the urbanization trend.Without adequate consideration of the potentialadverse impacts of inadequate sanitation, localwaterways may become unusable as raw watersources. In the face of growing populations, therewill be an almost tripling increase in the demandsfor urban water supply and management becauseof increasing development and the push towardattainment of the Millennium DevelopmentGoals. This implies, at one extreme, a doublingof available water in Viet Nam just for urbanuses, and at the other, only a 20% increase inMyanmar. For Viet Nam, it may be difficult tomeet the needs of agriculture and other waterusers if it needs so much for urban uses. Basedon the electricity available in 2008, the 2030electricity demands just for urban water supplyand wastewater could amount to as much as 12%for Cambodia and 5% for Viet Nam.Maintaining water quality in the Mekong Riveris key to sustaining the health and productivityof the populations dependent on it. High salinitylevels are prevalent in the delta, mostly during thedry months as diminished flows of the river areunable to push back against seawater incursions.Moreover, agricultural runoff, municipalwastewater, industrial effluent, and sulfate-richsoils have resulted in elevated levels of acidity andeutrophication of the lower Mekong River. Giventhe impacts of climate change and Increasing waterpollution and scarcity, there is a need for bolderand comprehensive measures, such as strategicplanning, both at national and subregional levels,increased investments, efficient water use, watermanagement, and water sharing arrangementsamong the subsectors, and stronger monitoring andenforcement. Water availability and wise water usein the GMS will be the biggest challenges of thenext decade and beyond.184 Water Availability, Demand, and Usage


EnergyOver the last two decades, rapideconomic growth in the GreaterMekong Subregion (GMS) hasbeen accompanied by a significantrise in energy consumption. Between 1999and 2009, energy consumption grew annuallyby 5% on average, though growth has beenuneven across the subregion. Highest growthin energy consumption was in Guangxi ZhuangAutonomous Region (11%) and Yunnan Provinceof the People’s Republic of China (PRC) (14.4%).Energy consumption in the Lao People’sDemocratic Republic (Lao PDR), Myanmar,and Viet Nam grew at an average of 5%, whilein Thailand and Cambodia, increase in energyconsumption was slightly slower at 4% and 2%,respectively.The GMS is likely to witness a continuation of strongenergy demand growth. Total energy consumptionis expected to double over the next 15 years, drivenmainly by transportation and electricity. The demandfor oil, largely to meet transport needs, will accountfor approximately 43% of the expected increase inenergy consumption through 2025. Electricity willaccount for another 20%. These patterns of energygrowth attest to the sharp increases in urbanization,industrialization, vehicle ownership, and transportTotal Final Energy Consumption in the GMS, 2010and Projected in 2025Upper:Lower:GMS = Greater Mekong Subregion, ktoe = thousand ton of oil equivalent, Lao PDR = Lao People’s Democratic Republic, PRC = People’s Republic of China.Source: Gadde, B., K. Ganesan, and P.J. Tharakan. 2012. Status of Energy Use, Power Sector Expansion Plans and Related Policies in the GMS: Challenges and Opportunities. In H. Moinuddinand J. Maclean, eds. 2012. International Conference on GMS 2020: Balancing Economic Growth and Environmental Sustainability. Focusing on Food - Water - Energy Nexus. Manila: ADB.Energy 185


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equirements that marked the previous decades ofeconomic growth. Such trends are likely to persistwell into the future.The development of physical infrastructure forthat energy supply will have a significant localenvironmental impact, or footprint, in addition toincreased greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fueluse. Renewable energy and energy efficiency areimportant means to moderate these impacts andform an important part of the energy mix portfolio.Nevertheless, the local footprint must also be wellunderstood and managed.Energy access remains uneven across thesubregion, with a high dependence in somecountries on traditional energy sources, such asfirewood and agricultural residues. Rising energydemand without adequate access to commercialenergy will add to already growing environmentalpressures. The subregion depends heavily on oilimports and significant increases in demand willaggravate already existing energy concerns.Ensuring Improved Access toModern EnergyOne of the key challenges in the GMS will beto ensure that quality modern energy reacheseveryone. Electricity will be of particularimportance. One quarter of the GMS population,some 74 million people, currently lacks accessto electricity. The problem is particularly acutein Cambodia and Myanmar, where only abouta quarter of the population have access toelectricity. These countries, along with the LaoPDR and Viet Nam, are aiming to achieve 100%electrification by 2020.Even in areas with access, electricity consumptionis very low. In 2008, the average per capitaelectricity consumption for the subregion as awhole was 1,156 kilowatt hours, less than onesixth that in Organisation for Economic Cooperationand Development (OECD) countries.At the household level, Thailand has thehighest annual per capita household electricityconsumption in the subregion at only 409kilowatt hours. Households in OECD countriesin Europe consume three times as much, whilehouseholds in the United States consume morethan 10 times this amount.Dependence on traditional energy is high,particularly in rural areas: 83% of householdsin Cambodia, 80% in the Lao PDR, and morethan 50% in Viet Nam use firewood and othertraditional energy sources for cooking. In additionto health problems from poor indoor air qualityarising from the use of biomass, continuedreliance on biomass will worsen existing localenergy vulnerability.Per capita Electricity Consumption and Share of Biomass Use in TotalEnergy Use in the GMSElectricity consumption,kilowatt hours2,5002,0001,5001,000500-100806040200Percent (%)Upper: Coal-fired (thermal) power plantin Xuanwei, Yunnan Province, PRC.Lower: Hydropower dam construction,central Annamites, Viet Nam.Annual per capita electricityconsumption (kWh)Annual per capita householdelectricity consumption (kWh)Share of biomassin total energy use (%)GMS = Greater Mekong Subregion, Lao PDR = Lao People’s Democratic Republic, PRC = People’s Republic of China.Note: Per capita electricity consumption is for 2008; share of biomass in total energy use is for 2006.Source: ADB. 2009. Building a Sustainable Energy Future: The Greater Mekong Subregion. Manila; National Bureau of Statistics of China. 2010. China Statistical Yearbook for RegionalEconomy 2010. Beijing; Lao PDR Ministry of Energy and Mines; World Data Bank. World Development Indicators and Global Development Finance. http://databank.worldbank.org/ddp/home.do?Step=1&id=4Energy 187


Upper: Nam Theun2 hydropower dam,Lao PDR. Lower: A child carryingfirewood, Lao PDR.There is growing realization that meeting goalsfor access to modern energy requires innovativesolutions in the use of the growing subregionalpower grid, promoting off-grid renewable energysources, encouraging private sector involvement,and offering subsidies.Cambodia, for instance, has instituted a dedicatedRural Electrification Fund through which private ruralenergy supply companies can expect to receive aquarter of the investment requirement in addition tosupport in securing private sector financing. The LaoPDR is establishing a similar fund to support its offgridhousehold electrification program. Myanmar ispromoting the use of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) ashousehold fuel, aiming to achieve a 46% decrease infirewood dependence over the next three decades.Increased use of hydropower for cross-borderelectricity trade will also improve rural access.Cross-border energy flows require interconnectionsthat pass through rural areas, providing anopportunity to improve electricity access in thoseareas, as is the case in rural electrification projectslinked to the GMS Northern Power TransmissionProject in the Lao PDR.Exploiting Indigenous EnergyResourcesThe GMS has abundant conventional andrenewable energy resources. Exploitedappropriately, they could underpin much of theenergy supply for the future. The available energyresources, however, are not evenly distributedacross the subregion and require a framework ofstrong subregional collaboration for their use.Coal. Over two thirds of the subregion’s coalreserves are concentrated in Yunnan and VietNam. Yunnan still has remaining reserves of 6.2billion tons. Viet Nam has an estimated resourcebase of 45 billion tons. Lesser deposits arescattered around the subregion. Coal depositsalso offer significant opportunities for mine-mouthelectricity generation and export across borders.The Hongsa lignite coal deposit in the Lao PDR,for instance, is being developed to fuel a 1,800megawatt power plant designed for export ofelectricity to Thailand.Oil. Approximately 80% of crude oil consumptionin the GMS is met through imports. Marginalreserves are located in Cambodia, Myanmar,Thailand, and Yunnan, but many of them are yetto be developed. Cambodia and the Lao PDR areentirely reliant on imported petroleum products.Thailand meets 85% of the country’s consumptionthrough imports, the balance through domesticproduction. However, Thailand will have to importmore in future as local production declines.Gas. The GMS holds significant natural gasreserves, which could support large-scaleexpansion of gas-based power generation and help188 Greater Mekong Subregion Atlas of the Environment


Energy Resource Base in the GMSCountry Coal Gas Crude Oil Hydropower Biomass Other Renewable EnergyCambodia 0.01 Bt 140 Bcm 3 400–500 Mbbl 15 GW 16 GW 2 GWh/yearPRCGuangxi 1 Bt — — — — —Yunnan 6.25 Bt 24.1 Bcm 3 0.122 Mt 103.6 GW — —Lao PDR 0.60 Bt 102 Bcm 3 — 17 GW 33,000 Tj/year 40 GWMyanmar 0.70 Bt 569 Bcm 3 — 99 GW 33 Tj/year 40 GWThailand 1.20 Bt 760 Bcm 3 0.2 Bbbl 7 GW 760 ktoe 56 GWViet Nam 45 Bt 256 Bcm 3 3.0 Bbbl 11 GW 240–400 MW 110 GW- = not available, Bt = billion ton, Bcm3 = billion cubic meter, Bbbl = billion barrels, GMS = Greater Mekong Subregion, GW = gigawatt, GWh = gigawatt hour, ktoe = thousand ton of oilequivalent, Lao PDR = Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Mbbl = million barrels, MW = megawatt, Mt = million ton, PRC = People’s Republic of China, RE = renewable energy—excludesoperational capacity, Tj = terajoule. Note: Hydropower excludes installed capacity.Source: ADB. 2009. Building a Sustainable Energy Future: The Greater Mekong Subregion. Manila; National Bureau of Statistics of China. 2010. China Statistical Yearbook for RegionalEconomy 2010. Beijing; Lao PDR Ministry of Energy and Mines; World Data Bank. World Development Indicators and Global Development Finance. http://databank.worldbank.org/ddp/home.do?Step=1&id=4; Yunnan. 11th-Five Year Plan of Yunnan Water Resource Development.meet transportation energy demand. The majorityof the gas reserves are in Myanmar and Thailand,while Cambodia, Viet Nam, the Lao PDR, andYunnan have smaller reserves.Myanmar holds an estimated 560 billion cubicmeters. The country’s gas production increased morethan 10-fold between 1991 and 2005 to 13 millioncubic meters. Almost all of Myanmar’s current gasproduction is exported to Thailand, making gas thelargest export earner for the country. In Thailand,natural gas already accounts for 67% of the totalenergy supply and over 68% of total electricitygeneration capacity. Currently, approximately70% of Thailand’s gas consumption is sourcedindigenously; the remainder is imported fromMyanmar. Thailand has decided to import liquefiednatural gas (LNG) to meet the country’s growingdemand for gas by the power and industry sectors.LNG terminal expansion at Map Ta Phut is underconstruction and will be operational by 2014.Hydropower. With a total potential of 248,000megawatts, the GMS is extremely rich inhydropower resources. Generation fromhydropower plants is already an important energysource for the subregion. Approximately 20% (or49,000 megawatts) of the total potential has beenutilized and hydropower currently accounts forabout 40% of the installed capacity. Hydropowerforms 70% of Myanmar’s generation capacity and100% in the Lao PDR. Throughout the subregion,hydropower ranks as a key renewable energysource, perhaps second only to biomass.Upper: Wang Noi gas power plant,Thailand. Lower: Many families in ruralareas still gather firewood for cooking.Energy 189


Emptying waste into a householdbiogas collector, also known as ananaerobic digester, Cambodia.Total Potential and InstalledHydropower Capacity in the GMS(megawatt)GMS Country Installed Capacity PotentialCambodia 13 5,000–8,600People’s Republic of ChinaGuangxi 25,100 78,800Yunnan 11,980 90,000Lao PDR 1,826 23,000Myanmar 2,521 100,000Thailand 3,424 10,000Viet Nam 4,155 15,000TOTAL 49,019 248,000GMS = Greater Mekong Subregion, Lao PDR = Lao People’s Democratic Republic.Source: ADB. 2008. Integrating Biofuel and Rural Renewable Energy Production inAgriculture for Poverty Reduction in the Greater Mekong Subregion: An overview andStrategic Framework for Biofuels Development. Manila; ADB. 2008. Energy Sector inthe Greater Mekong Subregion. Manila; Lao PDR. 2010. Briefing on Lao PDR PowerDevelopment Plan 2010 – 2020. Prepared for the GMS Ninth Meeting of the RegionalPower Trade Coordination Committee, October 2010. Shenzhen, PRC; Myanmar. 2010.Myanmar Briefing. Prepared for the GMS Ninth Meeting of the Regional Power TradeCoordination Committee, October 2010. Shenzhen, PRC.Two thirds of the hydropower potential in theGMS are in Myanmar and Yunnan, with smallerbut still substantial resources across the subregion.Hydropower is currently the main source for crossborderelectricity trading. The Lao PDR, for example,currently sells 1,881 megawatts of hydropowerto Thailand. Future development of hydropowercapacity will rely on significant expansion of crossborderelectricity trading. Also, small, low-impacthydropower plants, which have the potential tobe widely deployed throughout the GMS, couldprovide electricity access in rural areas.The development of hydropower resources isnot without costs. Large plants could reduce theavailability of water resources, displace peoplefrom their land, and disturb ecosystems. There isalso a strong perception that the planning process isskewed toward favoring the broader economic gainsfrom hydropower plants over their environmentalimpact. An environmental assessment frameworkthat is integrated into the planning process wouldprovide a way to manage and mitigate the negativeimpacts of hydropower development.Biomass and Biogas. Numerous renewable energysources are available within the GMS. Biomass,especially in the form of fuelwood, remains themajor source of energy for lighting and heating inmost of the GMS (except Thailand), particularly inrural areas. In 2005, the share of biomass in the totalprimary energy supply was 26%, though down from31% in 2000. Biomass is used by over 50% of therural population in Viet Nam, 83% of householdsin Cambodia, 80% of households in the Lao PDR,and 93% of rural households in Myanmar. InYunnan, almost 41% of rural households are totallydependent on firewood for cooking. In Thailand,77% of the 2,120 megawatts of renewable energycapacity is fuelled by biomass, such as rice husks,bagasse, and wood and other agricultural residues.The use of forest biomass resources hasseveral implications for energy security andenvironmental sustainability in the subregion.Poor households often spend a significantamount of their income on fuelwood orcharcoal. Forest resources are important forbiodiversity and are also a source of livelihoodfor many people in rural areas. Forest resourceshave declined steadily over the last two decades,aggravating social and economic vulnerabilitiesof the rural population.Biogas can provide rural households withmodern lighting and heating. As a cheap, cleaneralternative to biomass, biogas could reducepressure on forest resources. The PRC’s biogasdevelopment initiative is the most extensivein the GMS: approximately 26.5 million ruralhouseholds deploy biogas facilities that generateabout one billion cubic meters of methane. Thetechnology is being extended to other GMScountries through pilot projects supported by theGovernment of the Netherlands.Biofuels. Spurred by strong national programs,biofuels are rapidly emerging as an importantenergy source for the GMS. The PRC (as a whole)ranks as the third largest producer of bioethanolin the world. Within the PRC, Guangxi producesethanol from cassava at one of the PRC’s five mainbioethanol plants; Yunnan is a demonstrationprovince for biodiesel from jatropha. Thailandranks as the eighth largest producer of biofuels.Between 2000 and 2009, transport energy demandin the GMS (excluding PRC) increased 50%.The high dependence on oil imports is likely toremain as demand continues to outpace domesticproduction. Future demand for oil accounts forapproximately 40% of the increase in total energyconsumption through 2025. Biofuels providean alternative to oil products, reducing importvulnerabilities and offering an environmentallybenign energy option for the fast growingtransportation sector.Biofuels also offer a strong developmentdividend. They provide new markets for existingagricultural products and could enhanceeconomic opportunities in the agricultural sector,which sustains the majority of the subregion’spopulation. Biofuel produced from conversion of10% of the available land and wasted grain coulddisplace up to 34% of the conventional transportfuel energy demand with biodiesel and even morewith bioethanol.Despite the potential, biofuel development is notwithout challenges. Experience suggests that ifdeployed unsustainably, biofuels can be associatedwith numerous risks. Increased demand forbiofuel feedstock like maize and cassava leads tocompetition with the food industry, thus raisingfood prices and endangering food security. Biofueldevelopment could threaten rural livelihoods byfavoring large-scale plantation systems, reducingbiodiversity, and affecting soil and water quality.Several best practices to mitigate these risks,such as use of surplus land, small holder-basedproduction, use of nonfood crops and second190 Greater Mekong Subregion Atlas of the Environment


generation biofuels, have begun to emerge withinthe GMS and could provide the lessons and basisfor sustainable development of biofuels.Summary of Biofuel Policies andTargets in the GMSCountryPolicies / IncentivesCambodia No policiesLao PDR E10 by 2015E20 by 2020MyanmarE5 and E15B5 to B20PRC aE10Subsidies for producersThailandViet NamE10 and E20B5Tax incentives1% of total fuel demand in thetransportation sector in 2015and 5% by 2025E5Policy Targets(million liters per year)Insufficient informationInsufficient information12 million tons of ethanol peryear by 20206 million tons of biodiesel peryear by 2020Bioethanol: 3,285 by 2021Biodiesel: 2,179.05 by 2021Bioethanol: 684 by 2020Biodiesel: 128 by 2020GMS = Greater Mekong Subregion, PDR = People’s Democratic Republic, PRC = People’sRepublic of China.Note: Ethanol and biodiesel density assumed to be 789 tons/million liter and 845 tons/million liter, respectively; B5, B20 refer to percentage of biodiesel in diesel fuel; E5, E10 refer topercentage of bioethanol in gasoline.athese policies cover the whole PRC.Source: Tharakan, P., N. Chrishna, R. Jane, and M. David. 2012. Biofuels in the GreaterMekong Subregion: Energy Sufficiency, Food Security, and Environmental Management.Southeast Asia Working Paper Series. No. 8. Manila: ADB; Thailand Department ofAlternative Energy Development and Efficiency. 2012.Solar, Wind, and Geothermal Resources. Solarenergy is an abundantly available clean energysource that can be deployed widely in rural areas.The estimated potential for solar energy in mostGMS countries is high. Myanmar has potentialsolar energy of 51,974 terawatt hours per year.Thailand has a potential for 50,000 megawattsof solar-photovoltaic power and has targeted2,000 megawatts for development. Despite somepreliminary subregional level assessments, there hasbeen little work done to develop robust estimatesof wind potential across most of the GMS. Potentialwind resources in Thailand and Viet Nam alone areeach more than 100,000 megawatts. Geothermalresources appear to be limited in the GMS. VietNam has the most potential at 200–400 megawatts.Development of these renewable resources,particularly wind and geothermal, will require theexpansion of the electricity grid to remote areaswhere the plants are likely to be based.Meeting Electricity Demand GrowthElectricity demand in the GMS is expectedto experience a three-fold increase over thenext 15 years, reaching 241,000 megawatts by2025. Robust demand growth will occur acrossall countries in the GMS, with annual averagegrowth of 6%–12%. About 218 gigawatts ofnew power capacity will be needed. Meetingthis demand growth represents a serious, shareddevelopment challenge. It also opens up newopportunities for developing robust transmissionnetworks, broadening electricity trade acrosscountries, and better utilizing indigenousenergy resources, as well as integrating energyefficiency, renewable energy, and cleantechnologies into the supply mix.Coal fired power generation is likely to be a keypart of the growth, meeting approximately 30% ofthe required new capacity over the next 15 years.Even under a low-carbon scenario, 37 gigawattsof new coal capacity could still be added between2005 and 2025. The unbridled expansion of coalcapacity would place increased pressure on theSolar panel array of the Lop Buri solarenergy project, Thailand.Potential Biofuel Production and Demand in the GMSTransport Demand (million liter) Share of Transport Demand Met through Biofuels (%)Gasoline Diesel Bioethanol a Biodiesel bCountry2009 2020 2009 2020 2009 2020 2009 2020Cambodia 903 1,729 2,235 4,396 44 23 8 4PRC, Guangxi and2,978 5,404 4,970 8,518 73 40 4 3YunnanLao PDR 208 540 323 839 104 40 27 10Myanmar 590 1,656 702 856 269 96 34 28Thailand 7,524 9,209 18,465 25,267 6 36 3 9Viet Nam 5,095 10,132 8,533 14,667 20 10 0 0GMS = Greater Mekong Subregion, PDR = People’s Democratic Republic, PRC = People’s Republic of China.aIncludes bioethanol produced from converting 10% of available land and from wasted grain/crops. b Includes biodiesel produced from converting 10% of available land.Source: Tharakan, P., N. Chrishna, R. Jane, and M. David. 2012. Biofuels in the Greater Mekong Subregion: Energy Sufficiency, Food Security, and Environmental Management. SoutheastAsia Working Paper Series. No. 8. Manila: ADB; Thailand Department of Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency. 2012.Energy 191


Peak Demand and Projected PowerCapacity by Type in the GMS400Capacity, gigawatt3002001000PeakCapacity Peak Capacity Peak Capacity Peak Capacity20102015 2020 2025CambodiaLao PDRViet NamExisting HydroGuangxi, PRCMyanmarExisting ThermalFuture Hydro & RenewableYunnan, PRCThailandFuture ThermalExport Projects (Myanmar)GMS = Greater Mekong Subregion, Lao PDR = Lao People’s Democratic Republic,PRC = People’s Republic of China.Source: ADB. 2010. Facilitating Regional Power Trading and EnvironmentallySustainable Development of Electricity Infrastructure in the Greater Mekong Subregion,Component 1, Module 1, Update of the GMS Regional Master Plan. Manila; Myanmar.2010. Myanmar Briefing. Prepared for the GMS Ninth Meeting of the Regional PowerTrade Coordination Committee, October 2010. Shenzhen, PRC.Natural gas-based power capacity could accountfor approximately 20% of projected capacity,or 22% under a low-carbon scenario. New gascapacity will largely be combined-cycle plantsthat are more efficient, but expansion of gascapacity will need more gas production andinfrastructure facilities.Nam Ngum 1 hydropower dam, north ofVientiane, on the Nam Ngum, a tributaryof the Mekong River in Lao PDR.environment, including air quality and waterresources, and could be balanced with the adoptionof clean coal technologies through incentives, withoptions for carbon capture and storage. Preliminaryassessment in the GMS suggests moderate to highcarbon dioxide storage potential in depleting oiland gas fields and deep saline aquifers, though theuncertainty of this assessment is very high and fewstudies have been conducted.Hydropower is likely to grow significantly overthe next 15 years, accounting for approximatelyhalf of capacity increases. Much will be intendedfor cross-border electricity trade, particularly fromMyanmar into the PRC and Thailand, and fromthe Lao PDR and Cambodia into Viet Nam andThailand. Hydropower development will dependon expansion of the transmission system.Across the GMS, renewable energy has beenpositioned as a key part of the future energy mix.Availability of renewable energy resources, alongwith supporting policies, will be a key driver of itsgrowth. Wider deployment of renewable energy isbeing favored for its ability to simultaneously deliveron the goals of clean energy and access to modernRenewable Energy Targets and Policies in the GMSCountryCambodiaPRCGuangxi andYunnanLao PDRMyanmarThailandRenewable Energy TargetOver the next five years, 5% ofall new installed capacity to berenewable energy basedRenewable energy to meet15% of total energy needsby 2020Renewable energy to reach30% of total energy by 2025Renewable energy tocomprise 20.3% of totalenergy by 2022Viet Nam Renewable energy to reach 5%of total energy by 2020Policies Supporting Renewable EnergyFIT RPS TWC/ TGC Tax CreditsVoluntaryVoluntaryPartlyFiscalIncentivesLoans/creditsNet MGMS = Greater Mekong Subregion, Lao PDR = Lao People’s Democratic Republic, FIT = feed-in tariff, Net M = net metering, PRC = People’s Republic of China, RPS = renewable portfoliostandard, TGC = tradable green certificate, TWC = tradable white certificate.Note: Fiscal incentives include fixed government investment subsidy/grant. Loan/credit includes low-interest loans and credit. Blank indicates information was not available.Source: ADB. 2009. Building a Sustainable Energy Future: The Greater Mekong Subregion. Manila; Gadde, B., K. Ganesan, and P.J. Tharakan. 2012. Status of Energy Use, Power SectorExpansion Plans and Related Policies in the GMS: Challenges and Opportunities. In H. Moinuddin and J. Maclean, eds. 2012. International Conference on GMS 2020: Balancing EconomicGrowth and Environmental Sustainability. Focusing on Food - Water - Energy Nexus. Manila: ADB.192 Greater Mekong Subregion Atlas of the Environment


energy. Use of renewable energy expands theavailable resource base and reduces the vulnerabilityassociated with dependence on fossil fuels. Thepotential that renewable energy offers for off-gridapplications makes it especially suited to deliveringthe benefits of modern energy to rural populationsnot adequately served by the grid. Solar, wind andgeothermal, however, remain relatively expensivesupply options and their expansion will depend oncontinued policy support over the near to mid-term.The promotion of clean technologies, hydropower,and other renewable energy sources also reflectsefforts to minimize the increase in greenhousegas emissions from the power sector. A lowcarbonfuture, where the environmental andsocial costs of energy choices are internalized indecision making, could result in savings of 392million–1,030 million tons of emissions from thepower sector between 2005 and 2025.Growth in Cross-Border PowerTradingTighter integration of energy markets across theGMS will be a key component of its energy futureand could save the subregion almost $190 billion,or approximately 20% of the discounted totalcost through 2025, in addition to lowering energydependence on the rest of the world by as much as5.5% of total energy consumption.The ability to meet future electricity demand hingescritically on the expansion of cross-border powertrade. Power trading in the GMS began in 1971with the Lao PDR’s power export to Thailand fromthe Xeset Hydropower project. Several bilateraltrade arrangements during the 1990s led to furtherexpansion. Today there are cross-border linksconnecting all neighboring countries. The network,however, is still limited, consisting predominantlyof medium-voltage transmission lines except for thetwo 500 kilovolt transmission lines connecting theNam Theun 2 and Nam Ngum 2 hydropower plantsin the Lao PDR to Thailand.The current plan envisions an interconnectedsubregional grid by 2025 with an electricity tradingmarket involving a number of buyers and sellers. Thisrequires more than just new transmission lines; italso requires greater harmonization of power sectorpolicies. The transition to such a grid from a patternof one-way, dedicated cross-border power flowscan only occur when GMS countries allow such aregulatory framework in their own sector policies.At present, the GMS Regional Power TradeCoordination Committee coordinates subregionalpower trade and represents the countries. Effortsare underway to establish a permanent GMSPower Trade Coordination and Information Center,which would coordinate day-to-day operations,develop common operational norms, andmonitor developments of the GMS power grid. Asubregional master plan with short- and mediumtermaction plans has been developed.Energy Security ChallengesThe sharp rise in energy consumption coupled withdominance of fossil fuel use has created severalenvironmental challenges. Over the last few years,particulate emissions in urban areas of the GMS haveconsistently exceeded ambient air quality guidelinesof the World Health Organization (WHO). Increaseduse of gasoline and diesel to meet the burgeoningneed for transport fuel could significantly worsen thehealth impacts of poor air quality.Apart from emission problems, coal- and gasbasedpower plants often involve loss of forestor other natural habitats from the power plantand mining, production, and transportation offuels. Thermal plants often affect water resourcesand aquatic ecosystems through the use of largequantities of cooling water. The release of coolingwater can damage riverine and marine ecosystemsthrough changes in temperature and oxygenlevels, and pollution. These plants also generatesolid and toxic waste. Fly ash, for instance, canbe a particularly severe problem with coal-basedpower plants. The transport of fuel by rail, road,or pipeline can also have local impacts along theway, in addition to significant impacts at the site ofexploration, mining, or fuel extraction.Although the GMS has a relatively small carbonfootprint, growing awareness about greenhouse gasemissions has helped frame climate-friendly energyControl room of the Nam Ngum 1hydropower plant, Lao PDR.Energy 193


The Nam Theun 2 hydropowercomplex, Lao PDR. Upper left: Interiorof the power plant. Lower left: Aerialview of the hydropower dam on theNam Theun River. Upper right: asubstation down river from the NamTheun dam.strategies. Between 2005 and 2025, emissionscould grow by 1.2 to 1.8 billion tons; a strategy lessreliant on carbon-based fuels (a low-carbon energystrategy) could lessen this to about 0.8 billiontons. Total discounted environmental costs fromgreenhouse gas emissions could vary between $320billion and $358 billion, while a low-carbon energystrategy could lower those costs to $292 billion.Hydropower will be a large part of the energysupply solution but has the potential to cause awide range of adverse social and environmentalimpacts. The construction of hydropower facilitiescan lead to the loss of land, disruption of sensitiveecosystems—causing significant disruption offisheries—displacement of communities upstreamand downstream, increased vulnerability toenvironmental degradation in the plant’s vicinity, anddisruption of hydrological regimes and the associatedaquatic and littoral ecosystems. Hydropowerplants can also offer several benefits in watershedmanagement, such as improvement in seasonalwater flows that can enhance local agriculturaland livelihood opportunities. These benefits andrisks co-exist in complex patterns. They have to bewell understood and managed in a manner thatmaximizes the benefits and mitigates the risks.The increased use and expected growth of biofuels asa substitute for fossil oil in transport have spotlighteda new set of risks as agricultural lands are convertedfor energy production. Soaring food prices in early2011 brought into sharp focus the need for countriesto increase the security and sustainability of theirfood supply. Rising food prices, particularly forcommodities like sugarcane and corn, have beenpartly attributed to biofuel expansion. Increasingbiofuel exports could also have an indirect impactby increasing the prices of feedstock for other foodcommodities. The increased cultivation of energycrops would pose a risk as they compete with otheragricultural products for land and water, and useagrochemicals with attendant risks to biodiversity.Across the subregion, there is growing awarenessthat emission impacts and environmental costs mustinfluence the future energy mix. Rather than beinglimiting, these environmental challenges providean opportunity for the integration of biofuels,renewable energy, energy efficiency, and cleantechnologies into the evolving energy supply mix.To make this integration happen, policies andinstitutions are needed that emphasize the use ofrobust and comprehensive social and environmentalimpact assessment that engages all stakeholders fromthe beginning of the energy planning process. Forenergy production and use to be truly sustainable,such social and environmental impact assessmentsmust become important reference points in decisionmaking on energy choices and planning.Expanded Regional EnergyCooperationGMS countries have recognized that a strongerintegrated approach to energy planning andmanagement can offer sustainable, secure, andcompetitive energy. The GMS road map forexpanded energy cooperation takes into accountthe GMS Strategic Framework 2012–2022 andthe needs for improved energy security, betterutilization of energy resources, and mutuallybeneficial energy trade to meet national andregional energy needs in a sustainable manner.The goals and objectives for expanded energycooperation in the GMS are to improve access toenergy of all sectors and communities, particularlythe poor, by promoting best energy practices;developing and using more efficient indigenouslow-carbon and renewable resources, whilereducing dependence on imported fossil fuels;improving energy supply security through crossbordertrade, while optimizing use of subregionalenergy resources; and promoting public-private194 Greater Mekong Subregion Atlas of the Environment


196 Greater Mekong Subregion Atlas of the EnvironmentSatellite image, showing the Srinakarin hydropowerdam, Kanchanaburi, Thailand, built in 1980 witha capacity of 720 megawatts and surrounded by aprotected area. The reservoir has become a majorattraction for domestic tourism.


Satellite image, showing the Nam Ngum 1Hydropower Dam, Lao PDR. This dam is the oldest inthe country, begun in 1968 and reaching full heightin 1996. Its reservoir covers 370 square kilometers,creating the largest lake in the Lao PDR.Energy 197


Upper and Lower: Construction of theLop Buri solar power project, Thailand.partnership and private sector participation,particularly through small and medium-sizedenterprises.The road map for expanded subregional energycooperation has a policy framework that includesways to achieve the goals and objectives andconcrete, practical activities for the short to mediumterm, such as promoting the use of new andrenewable energy sources, energy efficiency andconservation, regional energy planning, policy andprogram coordination, and other initiatives specific tothe power, oil-gas, and coal sectors. The institutionalframework for the road map is based on a “lead”implementing member country and a subregionalenergy forum to monitor and manage progress.Improving Energy EfficiencyAt present, energy efficiency is low in the GMSbut is widely regarded as a key part of the broaderenergy strategy. Many of the key barriers toimproving efficiency, such as fossil fuel subsidies,lack of awareness, and absence of incentives,are common to most GMS countries. This offersconsiderable scope for subregional collaborationand sharing of experiences.Policies designed to promote efficiency are highlyuneven across the countries. Policy measuresbeing adopted in GMS countries include energyconservation programs, standards and labeling,building energy standards, energy audit, financialincentives, and private sector participation. ThePRC and Thailand already have well-tailoredenergy efficiency programs in place. Guangxiand Yunnan implement the national programsof the PRC that include targets to reduce energyintensity along with monitoring and reportingrequirements at several levels. Thailand has anumber of best-practice policies that could bereplicated across other countries in the GMS.Viet Nam is targeting annual energy savings of5%–8% of total energy consumed during 2011–2016 through its programs as part of the EnergyConservation law. The other GMS countries aredrafting energy efficiency programs also.Energy Efficiency Policies in the GMSPolicy measureCambodiaPRC(Guangxi andYunnan) Lao PDR Myanmar Thailand Viet NamEnergy Conservation Programs A few Yes A few Yes Yes YesStandards and Labeling Planned Yes - Planned Partly mandatory PlannedBuilding Energy Standards Voluntary Mandatory Voluntary Voluntary Partly mandatory Mandatory forindustriesEnergy Audit Voluntary Mandatory forcertain categoriesVoluntary Voluntary Partly mandatory Mandatory forindustriesFinancial incentives - Available - - Dedicated fund AvailablePrivate Sector Participation Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes- = not available, GMS = Greater Mekong Subregion, PDR = People’s Democratic Republic, PRC = People’s Republic of China.Source: Gadde, B., K. Ganesan, and P.J. Tharakan. 2012. Status of Energy Use, Power Sector Expansion Plans and Related Policies in the GMS: Challenges and Opportunities. In H. Moinuddinand J. Maclean, eds. 2012. International Conference on GMS 2020: Balancing Economic Growth and Environmental Sustainability. Focusing on Food - Water - Energy Nexus. Manila: ADB.198 Greater Mekong Subregion Atlas of the Environment


UrbanizationCities are important for the developmentof Asia. They have become the focalpoints of economic activity andthe engines for economic growth,substantially contributing to national economicproductivity. Most of the subregion’s neweconomic growth will be generated in its urbaneconomies. They provide the bulk of jobs andemployment opportunities and serve as centers ofexcellence for education, health care, innovation,entrepreneurship, business, commerce, industry,culture, and social services. The cities also actas the markets for all types of products, goods,and services and they connect with the widerworld through all types of transportation andcommunication systems.Urban areas are growing at annual rates of 3.9% inCambodia, 5.0% in the Lao People’s DemocraticRepublic (Lao PDR) and 2.5% in Viet Nam.These rates are around 2.5 times the nationalpopulation growth averages. Although urbanizationdrives economic growth, it brings with it seriouschallenges. The vast majority of the new urbancitizens are poor people from rural areas. Theypay higher prices for their water and at times useunsafe water and endure unsanitary conditions.Poverty makes access to basic services, such aswater supply and sanitation, difficult, particularly inurban areas. The poor not only have low incomes,but they have little or no access to safe water andbasic sanitation, which adversely affects theirhealth and productivity, and perpetuates poverty. Acombination of speculation, market forces, urbanbeautification, and large-scale infrastructure projectshas made land a valuable and hotly contestedcommodity in urban areas, particularly in citieswhere urbanization is most intense. Those living ininformal slum settlements, especially the poorest,are least able to participate in the competitionfor land. Without policy and institutional reform,there is a real risk of urban services becomingunsustainable, leading to environmental degradationand serious health problems. These outcomesultimately undermine the competitiveness of townsand cities, making them less livable.Upper:Lower: Vientiane, Lao PDR, a ‘sereneUrbanization 199


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Cambodia is currently at a relatively early phaseof redevelopment of its urban areas. The presenturbanization rate is around 15%, largely aresult of rural-urban migration, and is leading togrowing incidences of urban deficiencies andproblems. An exception is the city’s water supply,which provides water to almost all the city’sresidents as a result of being refurbished withworld class management that won for the PhnomPenh Water Supply Authority the StockholmIndustry Water Award in 2010.In the People’s Republic of China (PRC),urbanization is a key policy of the Government,aiming to increase economic productivity andreduce the rural-urban income gap. Rapid growthof cities and towns has placed stress on both theenvironment and the planning and managementof public services. Surplus labor arising fromrural reform is the main source of migrationfrom farms to towns. Large-scale rural-to-urbanmigration challenges the absorption capacity ofnonagricultural sectors. An official report on thePRC’s floating (temporary) population shows thatthere were 211 million migrants in 2009, and thisis expected to rise to 350 million in 2050. Between1979 and 2008 the level of urbanization in thePRC grew from 19% to 46%.In Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in thePRC, the present urbanization rate is 40%, belowthe national average. However, the GuangxiGovernment has formally promulgated a decisionto speed up development of the Beibu (Tonkin)Gulf economic zone in the context of the PRC-Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)free trade cooperation. The urbanization rate ofGuangxi is estimated to rise to 50% by 2015. Atpresent, Yunnan Province in the PRC is undergoinga period of accelerated urbanization, upgradingurban systems, and optimizing layout structures inurban areas. However, the urbanization level is stillonly around 16.59% (2010).In the Lao PDR, urbanization is currently at22%. Urban development is influenced by theGovernment’s decentralization policy and growthin services, such as tourism, market access, andtransit growth centers emerging from the GMSeconomic corridors initiative. The urban populationof the Lao PDR is expected to increase from 1.28million in 2005 to about 3.5 million or 38% of thetotal population by 2030.In 2011, 31% of the total population in Myanmarwas classified as urban following an upward trendin recent years; Yangon (the former capital Rangoon)contained one third of the total urban population.The Myanmar Government relocated the capitalto Nay Pyi Taw in March 2006, but Yangon’spopulation continues to increase, estimated at 6.7million in 2011, including the suburban areas.The pull of the city and the perceived attraction interms of opportunities offered by Yangon have notgone away. From the late 1800s to 1941, Indianimmigration played a significant role in Yangon’sgrowth. From 1941 to 1965, rural-urban migration,as a result of insecurity in the countryside, was amajor factor. From1973 to the 1990s, natural increaseand boundary expansion were the most importantfactors in growth of the city’s population. The recentextension of city limits has not been accompanied bya proportionate increase in population size becausethe newly developed areas are settled by squattersrelocated from various parts of Yangon, fire victims,and public servants and their families.Thailand’s urbanization level is forecast to reach50% by 2015 from the current 43%. The 1997financial crisis slowed down urbanization andPrevious page: View of densely populatedarea of Ho chi Minh City. Upper left:Evening view of Guilin, Guangxi, PRC,at night. Street scenes in Phnom Penh(upper) and Yangon (lower).Urbanization 201


1990Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar(Left)and 2011 (Right)202 Greater Mekong Subregion Atlas of the Environment


2011 – A new capitalNay Pyi Taw, MyanmarUrbanization 203


Upper: Bangkok’s mass transitsystem, the Skytrain, provides efficienttransport for the city’s growingnumbers of commuters. Lower: Motorcycles fill the streets of cities andtowns in Viet Nam.widened the rural-urban poverty gap. Since 1997,urbanization has largely taken place in peri-urbanareas that extend up to 75 kilometers around thelarge cities because of the improved transport andcommunication network. The 1999 DecentralizationLaw addresses the extensive centralization ofthe administration and increases the number ofmunicipalities from 149 to 1,129—creating ashortage of qualified skilled persons in the NationalCivil Service. The Bangkok Metropolitan Regioncovers an area of 7,762 square kilometers and hadan estimated population of 12 million in 2008, witha population density of 1,301 per square kilometer.Due to the success of the service and tourismindustries in Bangkok, the city has gained inpopularity for work not only among provincialThais from the rural areas but also with peoplefrom other countries in the subregion and beyond.Many workers reside outside the metropolitan areaand travel into the city for day jobs. The populationswells to 15–20 million in the city during the day.Peri-urban areas accommodated almost 90%of the recent population growth, indicating theimportance of these areas.Bangkok Metropolitan Region –Population Growth and DensityAdministrativeAreaBangkokMunicipalityArea (km²)Population(2000)Population(2010)PopulationDensity(persons/km²)1,568.74 6,355,144 8,249,117 5,258.6Nonthaburi 622.30 816,614 1,333,623 2,143.1Samut Prakan 1,004.50 1,028,401 1,828,044 1,820.6Pathum Thani 1,525.90 677,649 1,326,617 869.4Samut Sakhon 872.30 466,281 885,559 1015.2Nakhon Pathom 2,168.30 815,122 942,560 434.7Greater Bangkok 7,762.00 10,159,211 14,565,520 1,876.6Source: Census data, 2010. http://www.citypopulation.de/php/thailand-admin.phpViet Nam’s rapid urbanization is due to thetransformation of an agriculture-based economy intoan industrialized economy, which has put enormouspressure on the Government to invest in urbaninfrastructure. The degradation of environmentalquality and sanitary hygiene associated with denseliving has become acute as more people migrateto the cities, prompting the Government to embarkon environmental improvement programs. VietNam’s urban areas contribute 70% of the country’seconomic growth. The urban share of the populationis not uniform across regions, being significantlyhigher (57%) in the southeast than in other regions,due to the presence of Ho Chi Minh City. Secondin density (29%) is the Red River Delta, due to thepresence of Ha Noi and Hai Phong.Urban Share of Population byRegion in Viet Nam, 2009 (%)Excluding 5 CentralRegionCity-Provinces*Northern Midlands and16.0 16.0MountainsRed River Delta 19.9 29.220.9 24.1North and South CentralCoastIncluding 5 CentralCity-ProvincesCentral Highlands 27.8 27.8Southeast 30.1 57.1Mekong River Delta 19.6 22.85 Central City-Provinces 62.7 62.7* Central city-provinces are 5 municipalities that are administratively equivalent toprovinces and directly under the central government; they are Ha Noi, Ho Chi Minh City,Hai Phong, Da Nang, and Can Tho.Source: Ministry of Planning and Investment, General Statistics Office. 2011. Viet NamPopulation and Housing Census 2009. Migration and Urbanization in Viet Nam: Patterns,Trends and Differentials. Ha Noi. http://unfpa.org/webdav/site/vietnam/shared/Census%20publications/7_Monograph-Migration-Urbanization.pdfIn Viet Nam, cites are administrative units thatinclude territory outside the city center, i.e., ruralareas. In 1989, three quarters of Ho Chi Minh Citywas urban, while only a third of Ha Noi and Hai204 Greater Mekong Subregion Atlas of the Environment


Phong was urban. By 1999, Ha Noi had becomea city with urban population accounting for about60% of the total because the overall area of thecity had decreased and the inner city area hadexpanded. By 2009, the urban proportion of thepopulation in Ha Noi decreased again due to theexpanded geographic area when former Ha TayProvince was incorporated into Ha Noi.As urban cities and towns in the GMS havegrown over the past decades, so has the level ofpollution that these settlements discharge into thelocal waterways. Governments, both local andcentral, as well as service providers have not beenable to adequately manage wastewater dischargefrom urban centers, especially secondary towns.Low levels of revenue generation that barelysupport operation and maintenance underminethe institutional and human resource capacitiesnecessary to sustain the delivery of services, whileprotecting the local environment.One of the most adverse side-effects of economicgrowth, industrialization, and urbanization inthe GMS is the increasing rate of solid wastegeneration in urban areas. Among the capitals, itis highest in Bangkok, followed by Kunming andVientiane. In many countries that are experiencingrapid economic development, the problemsassociated with solid waste production andmanagement are not addressed until they arealready posing a serious threat to advancement.The PRC may have surpassed the United States asthe world’s largest generator of municipal solidwaste; urban residents produce two to three timesmore waste than their rural counterparts. As percapita incomes of urban dwellers in the GMS haveincreased, vehicle ownership likewise has beenincreasing and generally following a similar pathto that in developed countries. Much of this growthis occurring in the cities and towns where the bulkof economic activities are located. The overallnumber of vehicles remains currently very modest;for example, about 40 vehicles per 1,000 personsin the PRC versus 350 per 1,000 persons in Japan.However, the sheer size and dynamic growthpatterns in countries like the PRC can lead in arelatively short period of time to an exponentialincrease in vehicle numbers, comparable to thosein Europe and the United States.Garbage collection in Ho Chi MinhCity, Viet Nam. Garbage disposal hasbecome a perennial problem in thesubregion’s cities and towns.Population Growth Rate, Urban Population, Access to ImprovedSanitation, and Solid Waste Generation in GMS CountriesCountryCapital /Major cityCapital/CityPopulationGrowth Rate (%)Urban PopulationShare of TotalPopulation (%)Population in theLargest City, % ofUrban Population(%)Populationwith Accessto ImprovedSanitation, % ofUrban PopulationPopulationwith Access toImproved WaterSource, % ofUrban Population aSolid WasteGeneration inCapital/Major City(kilogram/capita/day)Cambodia Phnom Penh 2.8 (2010) 19.5 (2010) 48.5 (2010) 73 (2010) 87 (2010) 0.74 (2008)PRCGuangxi Nanning 0.90 40 (2010) 37 (2010) 80 (2010) 77 (2010) 0.78 (2010)Yunnan Kunming 1.07 35 (2010) 40 (2010) — — 0.25 (2010)Lao PDR Vientiane 2.0 (2010) a 33 (2010) 40 (2010) 89 (2010) 77 (2010) 0.64 (2008)Myanmar Yangon 1.4 (2009) b 30.7 (2010) 27 (2010) 84 (2010) 81.4 (2010) 0.26 (2010)Thailand Bangkok 0.03 34 (2010) 30 (2010) 95 (2010) 97 (2010) 1.54 (2009)Viet Nam Ha Noi 12.7 (2010) 30 (2010) 25 (2010) c 94 (2010) 99 (2010) 1.45 (2008)- = not available, GMS=Greater Mekong Region, Lao PDR = Lao People’s Democratic Republic, PRC = People’s Republic of China.aCalculated from data of statistical yearbook 2010, b Yangon region, c Ho Chi Minh City.Source: ADB. 2011. Key Indicators for Asia and Pacific 2011. Manila; AIT/UNEP RRC.AP. 2010. Municipal Waste Management Report; Cambodia National Committee for Sub-National DemocraticDevelopment. Commune Database Online; Guangxi Bureau of Statistics; Myanmar Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation, Department of Agricultural Planning; Thailand National StatisticalOffice; UNDP. 2011. Human Development Report 2011. New York; Viet Nam Ministry of Planning and Investment, General Statistics Office. 2011. Statistical Yearbook of Viet Nam 2010. Ha Noi;World Bank indicators. http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SH.STA.ACSN.UR; Yangon City Development Committee; Yunnan Provincial Environmental Protection Department. 2011. 2010Report of Environment State of Yunnan Province. http://en.7c.gov.cn/uploads/2010EnvrionmentState-final.pdf; Report of Environment State of Kunming 2010; Yunnan Bureau of Statistics. 2011.Yunnan Statistical Yearbook 2011. Beijing.Urbanization 205


Satellite images of Kunming City, capital of YunnanProvince, PRC, in 1992 (Left) and 2011 (Right),showing dense urban development extending intothe hinterlands.206 Greater Mekong Subregion Atlas of the Environment


2011 - UrbanizationKunming, Yunnan Province,People’s Republic of ChinaUrbanization 207


Number of Vehicles per 1,000Persons in GMS CountriesRegionVehicles per 1,000 PersonsCambodia 21 (2005)PRCGuangxi 21 (2009)Yunnan 21 (2010)Lao, PDR 20 (2007)Myanmar 7 (2009)Thailand 134 (2006)Viet Nam 15 (2010)GMS = Greater Mekong Subregion, Lao PDR = Lao People’s Democratic Republic,PRC = People’s Republic of China.Source: Guangxi Bureau of Statistics. 2011. Guangxi Statistical Yearbook 2011. Beijing; VietViet Nam Ministry of Planning and Investment, General Statistics Office. 2011. StatisticalYearbook of Viet Nam 2010. Ha Noi; World Bank.. http://data.worldbank.org/indicator;Yunnan Bureau of Statistics. 2011. Yunnan Statistical Yearbook 2011. Beijing.The types of vehicles plying the roads influencethe nature of air pollutants. Diesel vehicles areassociated with particulate emissions and gasolinevehicles, including two- and three-wheeler vehicles,with nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbon emissions.Increasing traffic congestion in many of the cities inthe subregion has exacerbated the problem.Large cities in GMS countries are increasinglyfacing problems with urban ambient air quality.In most cases, the transport sector is the largestcontributor to air pollution. Pollutants of mainconcern are particulate matter (PM), especially verysmall particles (known as PM 10and PM 2.5), nitrogenoxides, and hydrocarbons. Increasing nitrogenoxide levels contribute to an increase in ozonelevels. On average, there has been a moderate toslight decrease in pollution levels of sulfur dioxide,which are now below the guideline values set by theWorld Health Organization (WHO)—proving thatair quality management policies and measures canwork in Asia. However, total suspended particulatematter and PM 10remain at levels harmful to humanhealth, while ambient concentrations of nitrogenoxides are gradually increasing, currently just abovethe WHO guidelines.Upper: Bangkok on the Chao PhrayaRiver. Lower: Commuter buses andvendors in Yangon, Myanmar.Pollution Concentrations in Urban Ambient Air in GMS Countriesand CitiesCountryCarbon Monoxide(parts per million)Sulfur Dioxide(microgram per cubicmeter)Lead (microgram percubic meter)Suspended ParticulateMatter (microgram percubic meter)Small particulate matter(PM 10), country level(microgram percubic meter)Cambodia, Phnom Penh 9.11 (2009) — — — 37.00 (2009)PRCGuangxi — 0.031(2010) — — —Yunnan — — — — 59.00 (2010)Lao, PDR — — — — 45.00 (2009)Myanmar — — — — 41.00 (2009)Yangon — 0.745 (2008) — 150.19 (2008) —Mandalay — 1.100 (2008) — 353.17 (2008) —Thailand, Bangkok 1.5 (2009) 5 (2009) 0.03 (2009) 82.50 (2009) 53.00 (2009)Viet Nam — — — — 50.00 (2009)- = not available, GMS = Greater Mekong Subregion, Lao PDR = Lao People’s Democratic Republic, PRC = People’s Republic of China.Source: Cambodia Ministry of Environment. 2009. Annual Report. Phnom Penh; Guangxi Environmental Protection Department. 2011. Report on the State of Environmental Protectionin Guangxi 2010. Nanning; Myanmar National Commission for Environmental Affairs; Thailand Ministry of Science; World Bank. http://data.worldbank.org/indicator; Yunnan ProvincialEnvironmental Protection Department. 2011. 2010 Report of Environment State of Yunnan Province. http://en.7c.gov.cn/uploads/2010EnvrionmentState-final.pdf208 Greater Mekong Subregion Atlas of the Environment


TransportOver the past 15 years, transportinfrastructure in the countries of theGreater Mekong Subregion (GMS)has improved connections betweenthem, strengthened their ability to compete in theface of globalization, and promoted a sense ofcommunity among them. Borders were opened toincrease trade among the countries and this hasspurred their development, providing employmentopportunities and, hence, contributing toreduction of poverty. Investments in priorityinfrastructure sectors, such as transport, energy,telecommunications, and tourism, focus on thesame geographic space to maximize developmentimpact and minimize costs. For this reason,economic corridors were developed in selectedtransport routes in the subregion.Economic CorridorsAn economic corridor is a geographicallydefined area in which infrastructuredevelopment, such as subregional roads,is linked directly to production, trade,and investment potential of the area. Theaim is to start and accelerate economicactivities throughout the corridor andits surrounding areas. Among the keyelements of an economic corridor are thelinks, the transport corridors; the “nodes”or economic growth areas along the corridorroute; “software,” such as policies, programs,institutional arrangements, and multicountryagreements; and regionally integratedcommercial infrastructure. In 1998, three maincorridors were identified: North–South, East–West, and Southern. These corridors have nowbeen extended to nine. They will play a majorrole in integrating the subregion.Upper:Lower:Nam, Viet Nam.Transport 209


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The main achievements in the sector havebeen the emergence of transport corridorslinking the subregion from north to south andfrom east to west. Notable roads and highwaysprojects include the Phnom Penh–Ho Chi MinhCity Highway, the East–West Corridor Project,the Northern Economic Corridor (Boten–Houayxay), the Yunnan Expressway (Chuxiong–Dai) and Southern and Western Yunnan RoadsDevelopment, the Guangxi Roads DevelopmentProject, the Siem Reap airport, and the Dali–Lijiang railway project in Yunnan. In additionto Siem Reap, airports have been upgraded atMandalay, Vientiane, Ha Noi, and Phnom Penh.These improved airports, air safety, and moreopen skies have stimulated business and tourismtravel, encouraged investment, and generatednew employment opportunities, even in remoteareas of the subregion.Waterways, which include large marine shippingports in some countries as well as extensive inlandrivers and canals, remain important in the subregion.Recent transport projects include upgrading inlandwater navigation systems and seaports.Also, there have been many in-country transportinitiatives that bear importantly on linkingthe subregion. This combination of transportinitiatives has cut transport costs, reduced traveltimes, and created an effective and efficient tradelink in Southeast Asia.In 2003, the six GMS countries signed the GMSCross-Border Transport Agreement (CBTA).The CBTA provides a basic framework, suchas customs inspection, traffic rights, andinfrastructure standards, for improving crossbordermovement of goods and people.Moving People and GoodsIn terms of passengers carried, the road networksacross the GMS countries are by far the mostimportant mode of transport. The subregion’sextensive inland waterways are next overall, butmostly due to ferry boat operations across rivers inViet Nam. Railways are a close third and importantin five of the seven economies. The picture is alittle different in terms of freight. Roads again carrythe major share of goods around the subregion,but inland waterways are also seen to be veryimportant, while railways have a very minor shareand aircraft, understandably, have a negligible rolein freight transport.In the following section are outlines of thefour transport modes in the GMS countries.Further details are contained in the InformationResources section.Upper: Bus plying highway Route 48,Cardamom Mountains, Koh Kong,Cambodia. Lower: Constructinghighway tunnels to avoid destruction offorest in Xishuangbanna, Yunnan, PRC.Transport 211


GMS Passenger Transport (million passengers)Item Cambodia Guangxi, PRC Yunnan, PRC Lao PDR Myanmar Thailand Viet NamRoad — 722 (2010) 362 (2010) 45 (2010) 38 (2009) 427 (2009) 2,011 (2010)Railways


Left: Road traffic in Bangkok, Thailand.Upper right: Trucks are the main formof long-distance transport of goodsin Viet Nam. Lower right: Low-costmotorcycles are a popular form oftransport in Mandalay, Myanmar.RoadsRoad transport infrastructure in the GMS is invarious stages of development. While standardindicators, such as road density and proportion ofpaved roads, are good measures of the maturityof a country’s road network, they are also largelya function of the geography and demographyof a country. Thailand’s proportion of pavedroads is much higher than elsewhere inthe subregion, thus putting the country ahead interms of road development. The Lao PDRhas fewer paved roads, but this is principallydue to its sparsely populated land.The total road network in Cambodia, 44,919kilometers, consists mainly of rural roads(33,005 kilometers), as well as 5,487 kilometersof national roads and 6,427 kilometers ofprovincial roads. Almost all national roadsare now surfaced and about 10% of all roadsare paved. However, the extensive rural roadnetwork continues to deteriorate becauseof the steady growth in traffic, inadequatemaintenance funding, lack of capacity ofmaintenance institutions and private contractors,and design and construction deficiencies.Transport 213


Rush hour traffic in Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam.214 Greater Mekong Subregion Atlas of the Environment


Transport 215


Traffic congestion in Bangkok,Thailand.Road Accidents becomeCambodia’s No.1 KillerCambodia has one of the highestincidences of road accidents in theworld. In 2010, 1,816 people were killed onCambodia’s roads, and 70% of the deathswere caused by motorcycle accidents.Deteriorating road safety is a major concern,especially with the rise in traffic. Mostaccidents occur due to speeding, trafficviolations, and driving under the influenceof alcohol. Increased traffic speeds, resultingfrom improved paved road surfaces, posestremendous safety risks.Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region servesas an important passage linking southwesternPeople’s Republic of China (PRC) withAssociation of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)countries. The road network is about 101,782kilometers long, including 2,574 kilometers ofexpressways. The network has been growing atmore than 7% annually over the past decadeand all prefectures in Guangxi are accessibleby second grade roads or higher. YunnanProvince has some 209,231 kilometers of roads(2010), with an annual growth rate of 9.66%from 2000 to 2010. Major road infrastructureprojects are underway in Yunnan to facilitatetrade with its GMS neighbors and ASEAN,including a highway linking Kunming withSingapore. The highway network also connectswith the network of neighboring provinces.The Lao PDR depends heavily on road transportfor trade links both externally and internally. Theroad network grew from 25,090 kilometers in2000 to 39,585 kilometers in 2011. Due to itsrelatively sparse population, the road networkdensity is low. Most roads remain in very poorcondition and are often impassable during thewet season. Less than 15% of the total roadnetwork is paved. Meanwhile, demand hasbeen increasing over the years at an annual216 Greater Mekong Subregion Atlas of the Environment


ate of 5%–8% for goods and 8%–10% forpassengers, in line with rising economic growth.In Myanmar, most roads have been constructednorth to south along the geographic orientationof the mountain ranges and rivers. The networkincludes 11 roads totaling 3,946 kilometersdesigned as the Union Highway. Currently,east to west highways are being added to theexisting north to south vertical highways. Inall, 35 east-west highways totaling 15,208kilometers and 45 north-south highways of9,160 kilometers are designated under a UnionHighways proclamation. Included are highwaysunder regional cooperation agreements—ASEAN Highways, Asian Highways, GMSeconomic corridor highways, and an India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway.Thailand has the most developed transportnetwork, with 108,004 kilometers (2009) ofnational roads, of which 92% were paved. Allof the country’s provinces are interlinked with agood interregional and interprovincial transportnetwork, and services are mostly available evenfor isolated and remote rural areas. The direction,composition, and volume of traffic flows reflectthe geographical distribution of economicactivities. Freight traffic is concentratedmostly in the corridor along an axis radiatingfrom Bangkok to the south and northeast.The total length of the road system in Viet Namis about 287,698 kilometers, of which 15,065kilometers are national roads; 36,225 kilometersare provincial roads; and the remainder aredistrict, commune, and village roads. Abouthalf the total length is paved. The transportsector has contributed to the rapid economicgrowth of Viet Nam over the past decade. It hashelped reduce poverty through improved linksto markets, education, and health facilities, andindirectly through its contribution to growth.Most GMS countries appear to have focusedon new road construction, without full fundingfor subsequent maintenance requirements.Motorcycles are a favoritetransportation mode for all kinds ofgoods, Ha Noi, Viet Nam.Transport 217


Rehabilitated passenger train,Cambodia.RailwaysThe railways in the GMS countries have developedindependently over the course of a century. Eachnational railway has developed into a uniquesystem with its own standards, line widths, andprocedures. Some national railways are undergoingmodernization with a view to subregionalinstitutional and operational integration; many ofthe transboundary agreements that are requiredare common for all transport modes and havealready been established under the GMS Cross-Border Transport Agreement. Adapting theseagreements to railway traffic will give impetus tointegrating railway traffic in the GMS. The nationalrailways of the PRC, Thailand, and Viet Namalready operate international connections, whichprovide a useful starting point for establishinginternational connections within the GMS.In addition, the GMS railways will need to besystematically designed by incorporating othersupporting modes of transport, such as roads andwaterways together with main gateways for eachroute. This would enable multimodal transportmanagement to be put into practice, creating themost efficient and seamless connections. Majorcenters in the GMS are well connected by road andair, and some by inland waterways, but to date,only the PRC and Viet Nam are connected by rail.In 2010, all six of the GMS countries hadapproved plans to establish a transnationalrail link to improve transportation networksbetween neighboring nations. At present, themost viable route of four routes being consideredto connect most of the countries would see arail line stretch from Bangkok to Phnom Penh,then on to Ho Chi Minh City and Ha Noi,extending up to Nanning and Kunming in thePRC. The link would use existing tracks wherepossible as well as several lines currently underconstruction. Preliminary expectations are thatthe completed route will be open by 2020and carry an estimated 3.2 million passengersand 23 million tons of freight by 2025.218 Greater Mekong Subregion Atlas of the EnvironmentMAP LAST UPDATED: 03 February 2012


Railway Network, Present and Projected, of theGreater Mekong SubregionCambodia’s rail network is currently beingreconstructed after decades of neglect and damagefrom war, as part of the Trans-Asian Railway projectwith modern trains replacing the current openaccesssystem of “bamboo trains”—homemadebamboo mats powered by go-kart or water pumpengines. Cambodia privatized its railways in 2009.Two rail lines exist, both originating in Phnom Penhand totaling about 650 kilometers. The railwayrehabilitation project is a vital component of theGMS’s Southern Economic Corridor that linksThailand, Cambodia, and Viet Nam. It is also akey component of ASEAN’s Singapore to KunmingRail Link Project, of which the line from Cambodiato Viet Nam represents the largest missing link.The PRC has started an $11.8 billion program toexpand railway connections between Kunmingand Nanning, and new lines, including one to theViet Nam border and another to the Myanmarborder, are under way. A line to connect to theLao PDR is under consideration. The railwaynetwork in Guangxi is now 3,205 kilometerslong, connecting three major coastal harborsas well as neighboring provinces, includingGuangdong, Hunan, Guizhou, and Yunnan, andlinking to the Viet Nam railway network andthe ASEAN project. Several trunk lines meet inNanning and join the line to Viet Nam—YueGui railway (Guangdong to Guangxi), Xiang Gui(Hunan to Guangxi), Zhi Liu railway (Henan toGuangxi), Qian Gui railway (Guizhou to Guangxi)and Nan Kun railway (Nanning to Kunming).Yunnan has a rail network of 2,155 kilometers(2010). Links are under construction to neighboringcountries in Southeast Asia. From Yuxi, the Yuxi-Mengzi railway link, under construction since2005, and the Mengzi-Hekou railway link, underconstruction since 2008, will form a standardgauge railway connection with Viet Nam. TheDali-Ruili railway link, under constructionsince May 2011, will bring rail service to theborder with Myanmar. Also under planningis a rail line from Yuxi to Mohan, transversingXishuangbanna Prefecture, on the border withTransport 219


kilometers in 2008. Most lines run north-southwith branch lines to the east and west. Thecondition of the network is generally poor.Most lines are not passable during the monsoonseason. The speeds of freight trains are heavilyrestricted on all existing links as a consequenceof poor track and bridge conditions. MyanmarRailways is currently undertaking an ambitiousexpansion program that will add another3,645 kilometers to its network, includingextensions to Myeik in the south, Kyaingtongin the east, and Sittwe in the west.Upper: Skytrain, the mass transit systemin Bangkok, Thailand. Lower: New andrehabilitated cargo wagons, Cambodia.Lao PDR. This line will be extended furthersouth to Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore.Other than a 3.5 kilometer rail link acrossthe Mekong River between Thanaleng in LaoPDR and Nongkhai in Thailand, the railwaysubsector in the Lao PDR has not beendeveloped, restricting the transport of bulkand heavy freight. This has contributed to slowgrowth of large industries in rural areas.Myanmar Railways steadily increased thereach of its network in the last two decades,from nearly 3,200 kilometers in 1988 to 5,211The State Railway of Thailand rail networkis 4,429 kilometers long. Recently, 1,539kilometers have been upgraded, allowingincreased axle loads and speed. Plans arebeing considered for extending the lengthof double tracking, developing high-speedtrain lines, and constructing new lines, someof which could link to the Lao PDR andonward to Viet Nam. The Government alsoplans to implement policy measures aimedat encouraging a shift from road to rail.The Viet Nam railway network is 2,600kilometers long and was mainly constructedin the early part of the 20th century. It linksthe main population, cultural, agricultural,and industrial centers in Viet Nam andconnects with Guangxi’s railway networkat Lang Son in northeastern Viet Nam andwith Yunnan at Lao Cai in the northwest. Therailway in Viet Nam is a strategic link in theGMS Transport Sector Strategy to connectCambodia, Thailand, and Viet Nam with thesouthern PRC. As mentioned, it is part of theASEAN Singapore to Kunming rail project.220 Greater Mekong Subregion Atlas of the Environment


WaterwaysRiver basins are the backbones of social andeconomic development. Inland waterway transportcontributes to sustainable development becauseit is safe, efficient, reliable, and environmentallyfriendly. The region’s inland waterways play a specialrole in the economic development of remote ruralareas and in the welfare of their inhabitants, whoare usually among the lowest of low-income groupsin the region. In the absence of inland waterwaytransport, many remote underprivileged communitieswould be inaccessible or too costly to service.Growing freight demand points to the needto increase the capacity and quality of inlandwaterway transport. Cooperation between riverbasins and exchange of experiences createmutual benefit and there is scope for both publicand private parties to increase cooperation andfurther develop the inland navigation system.Deep Sea PortsPorts for international trade are particularlyimportant in several GMS countries. Cambodiahas two major ports, Phnom Penh Port andSihanoukville Port, also known as KampongSom, and five minor ones. Guangxi has threeharbors, in Fangcheng, Qinzhou, and Beihai,respectively, that have an annual throughputcapacity of more than 20 million tons.90% of the country’s exports and virtuallyall imports. The Government has started toconstruct the Kyaukphyu deep sea port andDawei-Nyaw Byin international deep sea port,which will give access to huge volumes ofcargo handling toward various destinations inEurope, ASEAN, and South Asian countries.Upper: Saigon River Port, Ho Chi MinhCity, Viet Nam. Lower: Loading Chineseboats at Chiang Saen, Thailand.Myanmar, with its extensive coastline of 2,832kilometers, has nine ports connecting theBay of Bengal. Of these, four ports—Yangon,Sittwe, Pathein, and Mawlamyine—are suitablefor international maritime transport. YangonPort is the premier port and handles aboutThailand’s largest and one of Asia’s leadingdeep sea ports is located at Laem Chabang, onthe east side of the Gulf of Thailand. Secondin importance is Bangkok and there are minorports along the southwestern isthmus, bothin the gulf and facing the Andaman Sea.Transport 221


Upper left: Yangon River port,Myamnmar. Lower left: Boattransportation, Tonle Sap, Cambodia.Right: Chao Phraya River transport,Bangkok, Thailand.Inland waterwaysCambodia has extensive inland waterwaystotaling 3,700 kilometers in length, includingthe Mekong and Sab rivers, and Tonle Sap,that are important for domestic trade as wellas transporting passengers. They are linkedvia the Mekong River to the major port atPhnom Penh. In 2009, Cambodia and VietNam signed an agreement that will allowfreedom of navigation on Mekong waterwaysbetween the two countries and increaseaccess to the river system for foreign vessels.Guangxi has nearly 6,000 kilometers of inlandwaterways, including the Xijiang or “golden”waterway complex that connects GuiGang,Nanning, Baise City, Guangdong Province,and Hong Kong, China. At present, Yunnanhas six major water systems consisting of theJinsha (Golden Sand), Lancang (Mekong),Yuan, Nanpang, Nu, and Ayeyarwady rivers,as well as some 30 lakes of various sizes. Atotal of 8,000 kilometers of waterways canbe used for river transport. Along the JinshaRiver and the Lancang River, the length ofintra-province waterways is about 1,500kilometers. Major ports include Shuifu, Suijiang,Jinghong, Simao, and Dali. However, thePRC is constructing a series of dams on theMekong River that will reduce the length ofcontinuous navigable waterways considerably.Over 2,000 kilometers of the Mekong Riverand its tributaries are located in the Lao PDR.During the dry season, the navigable length isreduced to 1,300 kilometers. The river forms222 Greater Mekong Subregion Atlas of the Environment


the border with Myanmar and with Thailand.Twenty-one river port facilities, constructedby the Government, have typically beenemployed for domestic trade only. However,trade on the river has been increasing inrecent years, especially cross-border tradewith the PRC, Myanmar, and Thailand.Myanmar is well endowed with natural riverresources, including about 12,800 kilometersof navigable waterways, a quarter of whichare commercially navigable, mainly along theAyeyarwady, Chindwin, Thanlwin, and Sittaungrivers. There are two ports for international trafficon the Mekong—Wan Seng and Wan Pong.Thailand has 6,000 kilometers of waterways butonly 30% are commercially navigable and thisis reduced by a further 12% in the dry season.Most activity is in four river systems: Chao Phraya,Pasak, Tha Chin, and Mae Klong, which providetransport routes between the agriculturally richregions and Bangkok. Important ports for crossbordertrade are Chiang Saen for trade with thesouthern PRC and Chiang Khong for the Lao PDR.Viet Nam has over 2,360 rivers (longer than 10kilometers) and channels with total length of 40,116kilometers, including lakes and reservoirs, creatingan inland waterway system. There are nine mainriver systems in the country—four in the north(Bang Giang-Ky Cung, Red River, Thai Binh, and Marivers), three in the Central Region (Lam, Thu Bon,and Ba rivers), and two in the south (Dong Nai andMekong rivers, which are linked through channelsand ditches creating a waterway transport network).Satellite image showing Mekong Riverrapids at Si Phan Don, Lao PDR. Despitethe difficulties, making the MekongRIver navigable will be a millenniumproject for the GMS countries.Transport 223


224 Greater Mekong Subregion Atlas of the Environment


Air TransportCambodia has 10 airports, the main ones beingPhnom Penh International Airport (PochentongAirport) and Siem Reap Airport, the gateway toAngkor Wat, which also serves international flights.There are six civilian airports in Guangxi, namelyNanning, Guilin, Beihai, Liuzhou, Wuzhou, andBaise. Guilin, the largest, and Nanning WuxuInternational Airport are international airports. In2010, 5.63 million passengers used the Nanningairport alone. In Yunnan, there are 18 airports.Among them, Kunming Wujiaba Internationalairport had been a major gateway to the PRC formany Southeast Asian countries. In 2010, theairport handled 20 million passengers, makingit the 6th busiest airport in mainland PRC. Also,several provincial and 2 international routesoriginate from Xishuangbanna InternationalAirport, 4 kilometers from Jinghong City. TheKunming Changshui International Airport replacedWujiaba airport in June 2012, becoming thefourth largest in the PRC and fifth in the worldin terms of area. The new airport is expectedto handle 38 million passengers annually.Wattay Airport at Vientiane and two regionalairports at Luangprabang and Pakse, respectively,cover international traffic and associated servicesin the Lao PDR. Wattay is capable of assistingthe largest jets, and Luangprabang andHo Chi Minh City airport, Viet Nam.Transport 225


Suvarnabhumi airport terminal,Bangkok,the main gateway to theGreater Mekong Subregion.Pakse can handle regional jets and turbo propaircraft. Another significant provincial airport isSavannakhet. There are also 10 minor airportsin provincial capitals and 39 other airstrips.Myanmar has 70 airports but only 12 haverunways suitable for commercial aircraft.The latest and largest is at the new nationalcapital, Nay Pyi Taw, opened in December2011. Two other airports, Yangon Internationaland Mandalay International, are the majorairports at present. Yangon airport canhandle 2.7 million passengers per year.Thailand has six main international airports:Suvarnabhumi, Don Muang, Chiang Mai, Mae FahLuang, Hat Yai, and Phuket, and more than 100airports serving domestic flights. SuvarnabhumiAirport also known as Bangkok International Airport,serves as the regional gateway and connectingpoint for various foreign carriers. It is the sixthbusiest airport in Asia and the busiest in the country,handling 47.9 million passengers in 2011, and isalso a major air cargo hub with a total of 96 airlines.In view of Viet Nam’s geography, air transportgrowth is considered to be a prerequisite of nationaleconomic growth. In recent years, the sector hasgrown rapidly with 21 million inbound passengersand 10.7 million outbound in 2010. Viet Namcurrently has 21 commercial airports, including nineinternational airports (Can Tho, Da Nang, Noi bai,Tan Son Nhat, Cam Ranh, Phu Quoc, Lien Khuong,Chu Lai, and Phu Bai) and 12 local airports. Ofthese, only Noi Bai (Ha Noi) and Tan Son Nhat (HoChi Minh City) operate frequent international flights.226 Greater Mekong Subregion Atlas of the Environment


228 Greater Mekong Subregion Atlas of the Environment


GMS International Tourist Arrivals 2002 – 2011AAGR (%)Country 2002 2004 2006 2008 2010 20112002-2011Cambodia 786,524 987,359 1,591,350 2,001,434 2,508,289 2,881,862 13.9PRCGuangxi 1,363,400 1,175,800 1,707,729 1,620,466 1,996,452 3,027,900 8.3Yunnan a 1,303,550 1,100,994 1,810,017 2,502,170 3,291,532 3,953,800 11.7Lao PDR 735,662 894,806 1,215,106 1,736,787 2,513,028 2,723,564 14.0Myanmar 217,212 241,938 263,514 193,319 310,688 816,369 b 14.2Thailand 10,872,976 11,737,413 13,838,488 14,584,220 15,936,400 19,098,323 5.8Viet Nam 2,627,988 2,927,876 3,583,486 4,207,895 5,049,855 6,014,032 8.6Total 17,907,312 19,066,186 24,009,690 26,846,291 31,606,244 38,515,850 8.0AAGR = average annual growth rate, Lao PDR = Lao People’s Democratic Republic, PRC = People’s Republic of China.a= Figures include visitors from Macau and Hong Kong, China. b = Including day-trips.Source: GMS national tourism organizations; Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office estimates; Pacific Asia Travel Association; Yunnan Bureau of Statistics. Yunnan Statistical Yearbooks2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, and 2011 and Yunnan Provincial Tourism Administration. 2011. Yunnan Tourism Statistical Report of 2011. Kunming.GMS Tourism – Key IndicatorsCambodia Lao PDR Myanmar Thailand Viet Nam2009 Receipts (million $) 1561.0 267.7 196.0 15,358.0 4,227.00Change in international arrivals 2010/2011 (%) 14.8 8.3 162.7 19.8 19.0Travel and tourism economy as share of GDP a 18.3 11.4 5.6 13.8 12.3Share of GDP forecasted in 2020 (%) a 15.3 10.4 6.1 17.7 13.0Employment (2009) b 302,578 51,754 37,992 2,976,934 819,345Women’s share of tourism employment (%) c 54 50 — 65 70Share of total GMS international arrivals (%) d 7.5 7.1 2.1 50.3 15.8Upper: Li River cruise against the scenicbackdrop of karst landscape, Guangxi,PRC. Lower: Part of the Grand Palace,Bangkok, Thailand.GDP = gross domestic product, GMS = Greater Mekong Subregion, Lao PDR = Lao People’s Democratic Republic, - = not available.Source: GMS national tourism organizations; a World Tourism and Travel Council; b Greater Mekong Subregion Tourism Sector Strategy Draft Final Report, 2005, suggests one job per$5,159 expenditure in 2009 dollars. c ADB. (2009), Gender Related Impacts of the Global Economic Slowdown in the Greater Mekong Subregion: Emerging Trends and Issues. Manila.dIncluding Guangxi and Yunnan, PRC, which accounted for 8.8% and 6.3% of 2009 arrivals, respectively.Tourism 229


Above left: Ko Phi Phi island, a majorisland beach attraction of southernThailand. Above right: Some of the4,400 temples of Bagan, Myanmar.Built in the 11th to 13th centuries, theyrival the temples of Angkor, Cambodia,in splendor.can follow to enter the service economy. Itsability to create employment in the informalsector has long been recognized as a keyopportunity for job creation and povertyreduction in developing countries.According to the World Travel and TourismCouncil (WTTC), in 2010 the Mekong countriesof Cambodia, the Lao People’s DemocraticRepublic (Lao PDR), Myanmar, Thailand, andViet Nam generated $22.1 billion in economicoutput from travel and tour operations, shopping,entertainment, transportation, and various othertourism-related service occupations and productivesectors. The WTTC forecasts that the combinedtourism economy of these countries will be worth$56.95 billion in 2020 and represent a significantproportion of each country’s GDP.Domestic tourism is also an important contributor tothe more developed GMS economies. An estimated87 million domestic tourists spent $12.3 billionin Thailand during 2009, and Yunnan Province ofthe People’s Republic of China (PRC) counted 120million domestic visitors the same year. Thailand andthe PRC minimize tourism-related imports to less than4% of gross receipts due to strong linkages betweenthe tourism sector and other productive sectors, suchas manufacturing and agriculture. In contrast, suchimports in the Lao PDR, Cambodia, and Myanmaramount to 20%–40% of tourism receipts.Women represent at least half of the subregion’stourism industry workers and hold 65% ormore of tourism-related jobs in Thailand andViet Nam. Most women are employed in lowerskilledjobs paying lower wages. Men tendto secure a higher proportion of managerialpositions in government and private sectortourism enterprises. In Thailand, 66% of hoteland restaurant workers are women; virtually allhousekeepers in the Lao PDR’s accommodationsubsector are women. Notwithstanding lowerwages and gender-biased pay rates that favormales, remittances from low and semi-skilledtourism workers are an important source ofsupplementary income for rural households. Forexample, remittences from hotel workers in SiemReap and Phnom Penh, Cambodia amount toover $1.2 million per month.About 65% of GMS international arrivalsoriginate in Asia, led by Thailand, Malaysia,Republic of Korea, Japan, and the PRC. Longhaulsource markets from Europe accountfor 21% of international visitors, followed bythe Americas and Oceania at 6% and 5%,respectively. Average length of stay for long-haulvisitors is 8 days and average spending varieswidely by country, ranging from $60 to $170 perday. Intraregional tourists tend to vacation forshorter periods and spend less per trip than longhaulvisitors.230 Greater Mekong Subregion Atlas of the Environment


232 Greater Mekong Subregion Atlas of the Environment


Tourism 233


Satellite images showing development from 1990 (left)to 2010 (right) around Angkor, a complex of templesbuilt between the 9th and 15th century, one of the mostimportant archeological remains of the Khmer empire.The site has been declared a UNESCO world heritage siteand now attracts millions of tourists annually, rapidlytransforming Siem Reap town and the surrounding area.234 Greater Mekong Subregion Atlas of the Environment


Tourism 235


While GMS tourism growth is predominatelybased on leisure travel to the subregion’s culturaland natural attractions, the gaming industry is alsoexpanding rapidly. There are currently at least 32casinos in the border areas of the Lao PDR andCambodia, with most clients originating in the PRCand Thailand where casino gambling is illegal.Viet Nam is also actively pursuing developmentof integrated casino-resort projects, including a $5billion venture in Da Nang and a 9,000-room, $4.2billion project on a pristine strip of the southerncoast in Ba Ria–Vung Tau.Upper: Temples at the UNESCOWorld Heritage Site, Luangprabang,Lao PDR. Lower: Tea leaf drying inXishuangbanna, Yunnan, PRC, along the“Tea Caravan Trail.”The business of GMS tourism is predominantlyled by private enterprise, although many tourcompanies and hotels in the PRC, Myanmar, andViet Nam have partial or total state ownership.The International Finance Corporation reports thatThailand is the easiest place in the subregion tostart a business, ranking it 18 out of 183 countriesevaluated. In comparison, Viet Nam ranked 78, andCambodia 147. The Lao PDR trailed its neighborswith a ranking of 171. Despite these rankings,Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Viet Nam added a total of92,084 hotel rooms between 2006 and 2009.In this context of highly favorable strengths andopportunities—supportive tourism investmentpolicies, abundant private investment capital,outstanding natural and cultural tourismassets, improved subregional connectivity,and increasing affluence in Asia—it is highlylikely that GMS tourism will continue toexpand in the coming decades if threats tothe industry can be managed. These includeenvironmental degradation at key tourist sites,Multicountry Tour CircuitsTo help spread the benefits of tourism toless developed areas, GMS countries haveprioritized the development of thematic multicountrytour circuits that span the region. Twopopular routes are the historically significantTea Caravan Trail that links attractions in themountains of Yunnan Province of the PRC, thenorthwestern Lao PDR, and northern Thailand;and the Mekong Discovery Trail, a network ofecotourism adventures where visitors can geta taste of local life along the Mekong River innortheastern Cambodia and southern Lao PDR.inadequate management and protection ofcultural resources, effects of climate change, andcommunicable disease epidemics. To addressthese threats requires significant investmentsin infrastructure, human resources, and policydialogue between the GMS countries.236 Greater Mekong Subregion Atlas of the Environment

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