The Mekong Legal Advocacy Institute (MLAI) is a platform for young public interest lawyers, policy analysts, activists, community leaders and NGO coordinators in the Mekong region. It brings together professionals who share EarthRights International`s desire to use law and legal representation as a tool for human rights and environmental justice. “For researchers, policymakers, NGOs and others in the Greater Mekong Basin, this book provides compelling information on how the practices of various stakeholders influence or are influenced by the law. However, it is perhaps a pioneer in the analysis of social law of transboundary river basins who should most praise the book. – Alistair Rieu-Clarke, Centre for Water Law, Policy and Science (under the auspices of UNESCO), University of Dundee, United Kingdom. The budget of the MRC is established by the joint committee and approved by the Council. The budget “shall consist of contributions from member countries on an equal footing, unless the Council decides otherwise, from the international community (donor countries) and from other sources”. The authors` chief legal adviser said: “This book presents a tour de force in the analysis of the complex and interlocking legal systems, authorities, meanings and scales generated by the cross-border trajectory of the mighty Mekong. This is a spectacular example of why all lawyers need to think about legal pluralism and interlegality in their work, even if they are supposed to study local national law. – Eve Darian-Smith, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA and author of Laws and Societies in Global Contexts: Contemporary Approaches.
Linked by our shared values and frustrations with traditional law firm models in the region, our vision is to provide more affordable, convenient and accessible legal services. Mekong Legal is the culmination of our travels and efforts. We founded this law firm to practice and advance our passion for providing quality legal services to our clients – entirely online. Excursions and networking events with high-level legal experts are integrated into the training. We encourage you to browse our legal guides, updates and articles. If you are looking for information on aspects of Lao law that we have not provided here, we have the resources to help you. Are you a young leader or lawyer who is passionate about combining your legal skills with strategies to help communities make their voices heard in legal processes? If you answered yes to this question, training from the Mekong Legal Advocacy Institute (MLAI) might be just what you`re looking for! The Mekong Region Environmental Impact Assessment Manual describes and analyses each of the EIA systems in the six Mekong countries, including common themes and approaches. There is a gap between the law on paper and in practice in the Mekong countries. This manual, combined with our integrated approach to training, campaigning, legal representation and networking, is an important step in filling this gap. We are two Australian lawyers from our respective corners of Sydney and Melbourne. Attracted by the charm and chaos of working in the emerging markets of the Mekong region, we began our separate journeys by gaining years of experience in senior positions in traditional law firms working on legal issues in Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. Our paths finally crossed during the cooperation in Laos in 2016.
The precedent may not have come in time to restrict or restrict the controversial Xayaburi and Don Sahong dams currently being built on the Mekong River. EarthRights supports the Mekong Legal Network (MLN), an independent group of experienced lawyers and civil society leaders from the Mekong region. MLN emerged from our Mekong Legal Advocacy Institute (MLAI). MLN participants include experts from Myanmar, Cambodia, China, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam, as well as other international supporters working to reduce human rights violations around the world. In the Mekong region, the changes brought about by rapid economic development and investment pose many challenges for local communities. Building and strengthening access to justice is an essential part of promoting equitable and environmentally sustainable development in Mekong countries that takes into account local needs and interests. The use of legal advocacy strategies is increasing in the Mekong as in other parts of the world, but there is a need to involve the next generation of civil society leaders and lawyers in legal advocacy strategies and equip them with the skills and experience to strengthen the voice of local people in legal processes. “This is an extremely important and timely book that offers new ways of thinking about transboundary water policy. The analysis of hydropower construction in the Greater Mekong basin through the prism of legal pluralism fills a critical gap in explaining how the conflict over this mighty river has evolved. – Carl Middleton, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand.
Our research arm aims to improve working and employment conditions through evidence-based research on policy and development. In addition, as ethics advocates, we will give back to the local Lao community through pro bono legal advice. MLN is an invitation-only network that moderates its own members. It meets about twice a year for professional development and exchange of skills and experience. MLN creates a safe space to develop regional investment strategies, cross-border legal mechanisms and environmental impact assessments (EIAs) and to promote access to justice in the Mekong region. It is also an opportunity for land defenders from across the region to share the challenges of working with communities in the area of public interest law and developing strategies for safe work. EarthRights founded MLAI to provide a forum for young leaders and lawyers from the Mekong region (Vietnam, Lao People`s Democratic Republic, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar and China) to share experiences, learn and develop new legal and advocacy strategies, and take effective coordinated action on environmental and social issues focused on strengthening decision-making on development projects. At the heart of this mission are regular experience-sharing sessions that bring together experienced lawyers from the region to share their skills and provide advice in key areas of emerging Mekong law, such as environmental impact assessment (EIA), land rights and corporate responsibility frameworks for foreign regional investors.
An international watershed is an ecological system, an economic path, a geographical area, a source of life and livelihoods, a geopolitical network and often a cultural icon. It is also a socio-legal phenomenon. This book is the first detailed study of an international river basin from the point of view of social law. The Greater Mekong River basin, home to some 70 million people in Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, is an excellent example of the socio-legal complexity of managing a transboundary river and its tributaries. 1. Introduction 2. River basins as social law arenas 3. Making the Greater Mekong Basin: donors, developers and experts 4. Governing a River Basin: The Work of the Mekong River Commission 5. Assessment of a river basin: the policy of technology 6. Watershed disclosure: transparency and dissatisfaction 7.
Condemning a River Basin: Civil Society Legal Strategies 8. Conclusion Annex 1: Selection of national laws and regulations Annex 2: Selected international treaties The Mekong region is characterized by rapid economic development and investment, which has brought about changes that also pose major challenges to communities living in the region. How can we help them voice their concerns? In order to find solutions to these issues through trainings, MLAI is currently seeking young lawyers, lawyers, young leaders and NGO staff from the six Mekong countries – Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. MLAI training has partnered with young lawyers and helped build knowledge, skills and networks to study and practice legal advocacy to meet community needs. The participants are a new generation of activities dedicated to the fight against human rights violations on Earth. What should be good news for the many people concerned about the future of the Mekong is that an Indian court has recognized the Ganges and Yamuna rivers as living beings. The decision means that polluting or damaging these rivers is legally equivalent to harming a person. This first edition is aimed at EIA practitioners, including policy makers, civil society leaders, lawyers, EIA consultants and project advocates. We hope that by understanding the legal obligations under national legislation, all stakeholders will work together to achieve continuous improvement of the EIA process in the Mekong region. Young leaders and lawyers in the Mekong have limited opportunities to study or conduct legal advocacy studies or practices, so it is important to create opportunities to share the experiences of practitioners in the region who have successfully carried out this type of work effectively. Recognizing the growing need to understand legal advocacy, access to justice, and regional cooperation, EarthRights International established the Mekong Legal Advocacy Institute (MLAI) in 2009. The book applies its analysis of social law to develop a new approach to understanding conflicts related to water management in the Greater Mekong Basin.