Statement to Thank Korean Federation for Environmental Movement
for Revealing Information and Ensuring Accountability of the Private Sector’s Role
on Thailand’s Water Management Scheme
28 June 28, 2013
We, a network of civil society and community-based organizations in Thailand, who would be affected by the Thai government’s 3.5 billion Baht Water and Flood Management Policy, would like to express our sincere appreciation to the Korean Federation for Environmental Movement (KFEM) for its courage in sending representatives to Thailand to make a field visit and exchange social and environmental issues surrounding Korean Water Resources (K-Water), who won the bid to build part of the project, for the Thai people to understand.
Lesson learned from the Four Major Rivers Project and the Gyungin Canel, which created adverse impacts on the environment and ecosystems- while promised benefits have not been materialized, have helped Thai society receive another side of the story under the name of development.
Since the Thai government announced its water management policy and started projects without giving any opportunity to local communities, stakeholders, and the public to meaningfully participate, we have been worried that the policy and scheme, which comprises of dozens of dams, vast land for flood water retention areas (known as monkey’s cheeks), and an almost 300-kilometer floodway that will cover areas in seven provinces. This is a massive investment. The scheme covers dozens of provinces in the North, Northeast, and West. To date the process has been short cut. Significantly, there has not been meaningful information disclosure to the Thai public.
K-Water, who won the bid for two modules, with the budget of 1.6 billion Baht, represents the largest portion of the budget. Thus, it is crucial for Thai society to know more about this company. A presentation made by KFEM’s representative presents another side of information, which has not been earlier revealed to Thai society. This is the start for a process to ensure accountability and transparency of the scheme, and helps contribute to participatory democracy.
Yesterday, 27 June 2013, the Thai Central Administrative Court ordered a postponement to the water management project until public hearings and environmental and health impact assessments are first conducted. This good news makes us confident that the water management scheme will now be more transparent, accountable, and establish a higher social and environmental standard in Thailand, in accordance to the Constitution, while contributing to democracy.
Ecosystems and the environment have no boundaries.
Thai Water Partnership
The Northern River Basins Network
Mekong-Lanna Natural Resources and Cultural Conservation Network
Orpha-ya Institute, Mae Chame, Chiang Mai
Living River Siam Association
Klong Chompoo Bain Conservation Network
Ratsadorn Rakpa Group, Sa-eib Sub-district, Yom Basin, Prae Province
Takonyom Group, Yom Basin, Prae Province
Khan Basin Network, Chiang Mai