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 So where can Vietnam get its base of engineers

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lynk2510
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PostSubject: So where can Vietnam get its base of engineers   Sat Jun 25, 2011 2:14 am

his dam issue has become the first major test of environmental diplomacy for the four countries in the lower Mekong, members of the Mekong River Commission (MRC). An inter-governmental body that came up after a 1995 agreement, the Vientiane-based body aims to manage the development of the Mekong basin in consensus. Any plan to dam the Mekong has to be scrutinised for its cross-border impact under a special mechanism, formally known as the Procedure for Notification Prior Consultation and Agreement (PNPCA). "This is the first time that we are going through the prior consultation process," Jeremy Bird, MRC’s chief executive officer, told IPS. "Countries do not have a veto right (to stop a dam being built in a neighbouring country) yet countries cannot proceed without consultation."

The MRC’s members have to weigh the provision in the agreement that "a country cannot act irresponsibly to impact its neighbour" against every member’s "right not to agree" and ability to "take its own decision," added Rudi Veestraeten, Belgium’s envoy to Thailand. MRC is funded by Belgium, along with other European countries, Australia and Canada. Till now the 4,880-km long Mekong has remained free of dams along its journey through the basin, winding its way past Burma along the four MRC partners till it falls in the South China Sea in southern Vietnam.

But upstream, the river’s flow from its headwaters in the Tibetan plateau through southern China has been harnessed by four dams in China’s Yunnan province, part of a cascade of eight mega dams the Asian giant plans. Local activists, environmentalists and even government experts of the lower Mekong are alarmed. The impact of the Chinese dams on the downstream countries has strengthened the campaigns led by Towards Ecological Recovery and Regional Alliance (TERRA), a Bangkok-based green lobby. TERRA warns that dams on the lower Mekong will affect the lives of 60 million people who depend on food and their livelihood from the river.

"Laos has not helped its case because the government has refused to make public the EIA (environmental impact assessment) it has done for the Xayaburi dam," Premrudee Daoroung, co-director of TERRA, told IPS. "The Laotian government says it is a secret document." The dam blueprint puts red and green interests at loggerheads across an international border.







Can Vietnam breed innovators?

Global Post 01 March 2011

Vo Van Toi’s high-tech laboratory clashes against its impoverished surroundings. Outside, cattle roam swampy fields and squatters sell sugarcane from wooden huts. Inside, he shows off his near-infrared spectroscopy machine, which measures oxygen content in blood, and a CT scanner. The contrast sums up Vietnam’s current state of development: It’s a relatively poor nation, with per-capita GDP of $3,000, trying to follow its larger Asian neighbors’ leap into an era of skyscrapers and international commerce. To do that, it needs to bring in a plethora of new technology — and the innovators who come with it.

So where can Vietnam get its base of engineers, scientists and academics? From abroad, especially from overseas Vietnamese who know the language and culture. They, like Vo, are invigorating the country’s growth that reached double digits before the 2008 economic downturn.

Vo is one of many, having returned to his hometown after he left the country in 1968, at the height of the Vietnam War. With a doctorate from Switzerland, he worked as a postdoctoral fellow at a combined Harvard-MIT biomedical engineering center before joining Tufts University two decades ago. A specialist in ophthalmology equipment, he created Tufts’s biomedical engineering program and helped launch its biomedical engineering department in 2003. Vo accepted a professorship at International University, where he founded the biomedical engineering department that now oversees about 60 students. “This is a good time,” Vo said. “Medical device consumption here is huge, while the local supply is almost nonexistent.” He expects a growing demand for his graduates, even if it takes a while for Vietnam to kick off its growth.
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PostSubject: Re: So where can Vietnam get its base of engineers   Wed Jul 06, 2011 4:10 am

his dam issue has become the first major test of environmental diplomacy for the four countries in the lower Mekong, members of the Mekong River Commission (MRC). An inter-governmental body that came up after a 1995 agreement, the Vientiane-based body aims to manage the development of the Mekong basin in consensus. Any plan to dam the Mekong has to be scrutinised for its cross-border impact under a special mechanism, formally known as the Procedure for Notification Prior Consultation and Agreement (PNPCA). "This is the first time that we are going through the prior consultation process," Jeremy Bird, MRC’s chief executive officer, told IPS. "Countries do not have a veto right (to stop a dam being built in a neighbouring country) yet countries cannot proceed without consultation."

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