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dc.contributor.advisorClements, Kevin P.
dc.contributor.authorPearse-Smith, Scott William David
dc.identifier.citationPearse-Smith, S. W. D. (2012). Hydro-development and Conflict: The Mekong Basin (Thesis, Master of Arts). University of Otago. Retrieved from
dc.description.abstractHydro-development of the Mekong Basin is proceeding at an increasing pace. The relatively small-scale hydro-development projects that have taken place to date provide some insight into the expanding environmental and social impacts that can be expected as hydro-development projects increase in number and scale. This thesis explores how these environmental and social consequences of hydro-development might generate violent conflict, both between, and within, Mekong nations. This study adopts a value-added model – based on that of Homer-Dixon – to consider the causal relationship between hydro-development and violent conflict. In doing so, it explores how hydro-development interacts with the unique environmental, social, economic, and political conditions of the Mekong Basin. Two intervening variables between hydro-development and violent conflict are identified as particularly significant: environmental scarcity and social effects. This study reaches two main conclusions. The first is that, despite increasing interstate tensions, violent conflict between Mekong States is unlikely. As well as strategic and historical arguments, this is because regional hydro-development advances economic growth and regional integration, in line with the economic imperative of Mekong nations. The second main conclusion of this study is that, while violent interstate conflict is unlikely, violent intrastate conflict is likely to increase. Hydro-development is predicted to decimate the supply of crucial natural resources, upon which the largely rural Mekong Basin populations depend for their livelihoods. Furthermore, the costs and benefits of hydro-development are not equitably shared, which in combination with the increasing scarcity of key renewable resources, can sharpen existing social divisions. Violent conflict within society is therefore predicted to increase. Protests and civil unrest are also likely to increase, although such movements are unlikely to generate serious attempts at insurgency.
dc.publisherUniversity of Otago
dc.rightsAll items in OUR Archive are provided for private study and research purposes and are protected by copyright with all rights reserved unless otherwise indicated.
dc.subjectSoutheast Asia
dc.subjectEnvironmental Conflict
dc.titleHydro-development and Conflict: The Mekong Basin
dc.language.rfc3066en Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies of Arts of Otago
otago.openaccessAbstract Only
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