Asia Europe Journal

, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 325–343 | Cite as

Southeast Asian water conflicts—from a political geography perspective

  • Yvonne KlöpperEmail author
Original Paper


This article analyzes water-related conflicts in Southeast Asia and draws the attention to controversial dam—and hydropower—schemes. It focuses on three dam projects in Thailand, Laos and Burma that are all interwoven by different characteristics of development assistance. But they also slightly differ in terms of the implementation stage, the geopolitical setting, the socio-economical frameworks and the actors involved. Against this analytical background, the approach unveils the complexity of internationalising conflicts that are created under the influence of the ongoing globalisation and by multiple actors involved, their networks, strategies and power relations. “Scarcity of resources—securing energy by development assistance” provides a brief introduction by drawing the main global configurations. “Energy supply and poverty alleviation—new dams in Southeast Asia” zooms in on the specific stage by mirroring dam disputes in Southeast Asia (SEA). Based on these fundamentals, in “Different dams—diverse actors and conflict potentials” the case studies are reconstructed to highlight the multiplicity of dam-projects and inherent controversies. “Conclusion—new conflict frameworks require new instruments of dispute resolution” offers an outlook on conceptual ideas on how to deal with future dam disputes under the auspices of development assistance.


Dispute Resolution Poverty Alleviation Development Assistance Diverse Actor Asian Development Bank 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Asian Development Bank


Anti-Pak Mun Dam Movement


Assembly of the Poor


Development Assistance


Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand


EarthRights International


Government of Laos


International Rivers Network


Less/ Least Developed Country


Mekong River Commission




Non Governmental Organisation(s)


Nam Theun 2 Dam


Nam Theun 2 Power Company Ltd.


Southeast Asia


Southeast Asia Rivers Network


Salween Watch Coalition


Towards Ecological Recovery and Regional Alliance


World Commission on Dams


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political and Social Geography, Prof. ReuberUniversity of MünsterMünsterGermany
  2. 2.BerlinGermany

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