The Belt and Road Initiative, hydropolitics, and hydropower

On 7 June 2021, speakers from Fudan University, La Trobe University, Chulalongkorn University, and Kyoto University were brought together to examine the role of new and planned hydropower projects financed by China in shifting geopolitics between China and South and Southeast Asia.

The online seminar explored how hydropolitics and dams are enabling new forms of economic, social and political regional institutionalisation through the Belt and Road Initiative, how these play out differently in South and Southeast Asia, and what these mean for local communities and nature in particular locales across South and Southeast Asia.

Prof Jiejin Zhu discussed ‘China and Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC)’. Dr Ruth Gamble spoke on ‘China-India River Politics: Tensions and the Impact on Indigenous and Minority Cultures, with a Focus on a New Development in the Pemako Region’. Dr Carl Middleton discussed ‘Reworking the Mekong River Regime: The Geopolitics and Hydropolitics of Competing Regionalisms’. Finally, Rohan D’Souza spoke on ‘Damming Politics: India, China, and Trans-Border Rivers’. The online seminar was chaired by Professor Lyla Mehta, a Fellow at IDS whose work focuses on water and sanitation, large dams, forced displacement and resistance, climate change, the politics of scarcity, rights, access, uncertainty and sustainability.

You can watch the seminar in full:

This online seminar was convened as part of the China and Global Development Seminar Series run by the UK Anchor Institution for the China International Development Research Network at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS).

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