A Vietnamese agribusiness company in eastern Cambodia has illegally cleared old-growth forests, wetlands and spiritual sites on land that it pledged to return to indigenous communities. The land move reneges on promises the company, Hoang Anh Gia Lai, made in a mediation process with the World Bank.
Articles by Skylar Lindsay
The Indonesian government plans to turn 2.2 million acres of peat swamps on Borneo into rice paddies. The plan aims to help the country weather the impacts of COVID-19 on its food supply, but it risks repeating a fiasco from the Suharto era.
Myanmar authorities recently seized 35.5 tons of drugs and chemicals in Shan State—a haul worth hundreds of millions of dollars. But the fact that Southeast Asia’s crime syndicates allowed the busts shows the drug trade is only becoming more deeply entrenched in the region’s economy.
Farmers in Southeast Asia face increased pressure to feed the region during the pandemic, but on top of record droughts and climate change, they’re now facing impacts from sand mining.
Construction has resumed on the new US$6 billion China-Laos railway, a key piece of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative, despite the deep impacts of COVID-19 across the region. But as the pandemic brings new questions about sustainable growth and resilience, it’s changing the calculus for the governments and local communities that host China’s new development projects.
As authorities in Myanmar seized over 800 tons of illegal timber in early April, the country’s profitable illicit logging industry continues despite disruptions to trade and economies across Southeast Asia.
Almost two years after a dam in Laos collapsed, displacing thousands, the people affected struggle to secure compensation while living in deteriorating relocation centers. A group of UN experts is now calling for the governments and companies involved to finally follow through on the recovery effort.
As COVID-19 wrecks Cambodia’s economy, workers and families face added risks from record-high levels of microfinance debt. Without income, many will be unable to repay their microloans and may lose their land or be forced further into debt.
Indonesia is bringing coal mining to West Papua despite an independence movement that has contested Jakarta’s claims to the region’s resources for almost 60 years and faced violent repression. The region also has a track record of destructive mining and gas projects that have brought few benefits to most local residents.
A Twitter war with Chinese nationalists has spawned the new “Milk Tea” alliance between pro-democracy social media users in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Thailand. The new links signal the possibility of dialogue between pro-democracy movements that often struggle to gain ground.