Governing International Rivers
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Governing International Rivers

Polycentric Politics in the Mekong and the Rhine

Tun Myint

This important book employs the theory of polycentricity, a system with several centers as an analytical concept to explain the multilayered international environmental governance of river basins. It introduces a new methodological framework to deconstruct and investigate the dynamics of citizens, states and non-state actors in world politics via the context of river basin governance.
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Chapter 7: Influence of Non-state Actors on Pak Mun Dam

Tun Myint


What we saw in the previous chapter is the lie of the land for the Pak Mun Dam struggle in Thailand. The struggle, led by project-affected villagers for 14 years from 1989 to 2003, passed through seven prime ministers and nine coalition governments including the 1991 military coup council, the National Peace Keeping Council and its appointed government. The villagers and members of AOP who led the Pak Mun Dam protests would rather describe their struggle as one against EGAT instead of a struggle against Thai governments or prime ministers. Because EGAT is a stateowned agency with relatively stable technobureaucratic leadership compared to elected prime ministers and coalition governments who come and go with the election cycle, villagers are correct in describing their struggle as one against EGAT in particular. However, in a larger context, the Thai state is ultimately responsible as it approves and oversees EGAT’s activities. This chapter explains and analyzes how villagers and their network of NGOs influenced the processes of the Pak Mun Dam struggle within Thai politics and outside the borders of Thailand. STAGES OF THE PAK MUN DAM STRUGGLE There were three stages in the development of the Pak Mun Dam struggle. The first stage was the emergence of protests against Pak Mun Dam by villagers. In this stage, villagers defined their rationale and pronounced their policy disagreement with building Pak Mun Dam by protesting against the project. Actors against the dam emerged and forged their identity to press forward and influence the struggle....

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