Keeping the rivers flowing freely

The development of large-scale hydropower dams that was unpopular among the public in the past is now becoming a playbook of military rulers to resume its suspended construction since the military took a coup d’état in Myanmar on February 1, 2022. Issuing a license to continue the construction of a Chinese dam is considered diplomatic leverage with China to secure their geopolitical support for the international legitimacy the military junta has daringly sought. Moreover, the business interest of military crony companies partnering with Chinese investors for an economic monopoly is another reason to go ahead with the hydropower development project. This alerts all environmental activists and human rights defenders in Myanmar to strengthen their strenuous efforts in continuing their environmental justice movement for the longevity of the Irrawaddy and Salween rivers, which are ecologically diverse and important for global biodiversity and sustainable livelihoods. This event to give a brief account of the environmental perspective and political views of the author, who actively participated in the nationwide public campaign against hydropower development projects. As far as hydro-power development is concerned for global debate, the lessons learned from the people’s struggle to keep the river free flow would be helpful for academia to carry out further research, as well as for those environmental activists to carry on their unfinished job of fighting against environmental injustice. To some degree, policymakers and investors might also find something important for decision-making; nevertheless, a consensus is to be reached on what has been pointed out in this event.

Event Type: Hybrid Meeting

Time: 16:00 – 18:00 BST

Venue: Michael Dummett Lecture Theatre, Christ Church College or online

Register for the event here.

Speaker Profile

Win Myo Thu

Win Myo Thu is a development practitioner with over 30 year’s working experience extensively in environmental conservation and rural development. He studied at Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) for M.Sc in Rural and Regional Development with a background of B.Sc (Forestry) from Yangon University and Yezin Agriculture Institute. He professionally contributed to a number of policy development works such as the national communication report on climate change, national biodiversity strategic action plan (NBSAP), national environmental performance assessment, national rural development strategic framework for poverty reduction, and Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan (MSDP). In addition to these contributions, he has been actively advocating for the cancellation of hydropower mega-dams, promotion of renewable energy, improving land tenure security of the poor and indigenous people, and strengthening a common platform for civic empowerment in the process of natural resource governance. He directs a local environmental organization, the Association of Advancing Life and Regenerating Motherland (ALARM), and is currently a visiting research fellow at Oxford University.


Prof. Simon Dadson

Simon Dadson is Professor in Physical Geography at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Christ Church. Simon has published widely in the fields of climate change, hydrology and Earth surface processes, in leading scientific journals such as Nature, Science, Geophysical Research Letters, Proceedings of the Royal Society, and Water Resources Research. He has also recently authored the book Statistical Analysis of Geographical Data, published by Wiley-Blackwell in 2017, as part of an initiative to improve the teaching of statistics to undergraduate geographers. Simon’s research has been featured in the print and broadcast media, including in The Times and on BBC Radio 4. Simon holds an MA from the University of Oxford, an MSc from the University of British Columbia, and a PhD from the University of Cambridge. He is an Honorary Fellow of the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology where he leads the Hydro-JULES project which combines a three-dimensional model of the surface and subsurface water cycle with weather and climate models to predict future floods, droughts and water scarcity.

This event is co-hosted by the Oxford Water Network 


Oct 13 2022


16:00 - 17:00

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