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First International Conference on Salween-Thanlwin-Nu Studies

State of Knowledge: Environmental Change, Livelihoods and Development”

14-15 November 2014

Hosted by the Regional Centre for Social Science and Sustainable Development (RCSD), Faculty of Social Science, Chiang Mai University, Thailand.

Organized by the Salween-Thanlwin-Nu (STN) Studies Group

The Salween-Thanlwin-Nu (STN) Studies Group will hold the First International Conference on STN Studies titled “State of Knowledge: Environmental Change, Livelihoods and Development” on 14-15 November 2014 at Chiang Mai University. The conference will provide an opportunity for scholars, policy makers, community groups and civil society from Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, China and internationally to exchange information and to learn from one another about critical environmental change, livelihoods and development issues in the Salween River Basin.

Shared between China, Myanmar, and Thailand, a range of cultural, biological, and socio-economic values are generated by the Salween River and its adjacent basin ecosystems; the river supports the livelihoods for more than six million people. At the same time, there are nowadays a range of proposals for investment into the river basin, including plans for 20 large hydropower dams, which is being largely undertaken without comprehensive basin-wide assessment that considers the cumulative impacts on ecosystem and existing local livelihoods.

The purposes of the conference are:

  • To address the lack of knowledge about the Salween at a basin-wide level by bringing together researchers from a range of disciplines and backgrounds to present work specifically within the framework of “Salween-Thanlwin-Nu Studies.”
  • To provide a forum where a wide range of environmental, social, cultural and development issues related to the Salween River can be discussed amongst scholars, policy makers, community groups and civil society.

This conference will also launch the Salween-Thanlwin-Nu Studies Group, which aims to be a regional network of scholars, policy makers, community groups and civil society working on issues related to the Salween River. Tentative topics in the conference include 

  • River-related livelihoods and alternative or local knowledge
  • Political ecology and development
  • Indigenous knowledge, local research, and citizen science (participatory knowledge)
  • Geopolitics and environmental governance
  • Trans border decision-making and governance, including environmental and international law
  • Environmental Assessment – Transboundary EIA, Strategic Environmental Assessments, alternative tools
  • Human rights, corporate accountability, and regional development
  • Agrarian change/peasant studies, including water and land grabbing
  • Environmental science and geomorphology
  • Biodiversity and conservation
  • Climate and environmental change and adaptation
  • Political borders, boundaries and ecologies
  • Gender and development
  • Cultural politics of environment and development
  • Salween archaeologies and histories
  • Shan Studies – Ethnic Studies

Publication Opportunity: One of the significant outcomes of this proposed meeting will include an edited volume of conference proceedings. This book will serve two purposes: it will serve as a baseline assessment of the state of knowledge, and it will provide a framework for future research about the Salween.

Field Trip: For interested conference participants, a field visit to the Salween River will be offered. Please indicate in your email if you are interested in this field trip opportunity.

More information and updates about the conference can be found on the RCSD website: http://rcsd.soc.cmu.ac.th 

For all related inquiries, please contact salween.studies@gmail.com


Internationally known as the Salween River, this transboundary river is known as the Nu River in China and as the Thanlwin River in Myanmar.