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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  August 30, 2016 10:32am-12:33pm EDT

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moving largely indifferent directions picked the administration in the philippines and others are remaining calm and not to victorious about the decision in the hope to get traction going, but i hope-- he talks about the tract in the idea that rising power seems to fight and if you want to avoid that you need to agree to this new model and make concessions to china. depressed" except that. the present will talk about the things amy said it will come out with essentially no resolution in my view and then it depends on how much risk he wants to take and how firmly we are about freedom of navigation operations and continuing to work with the philippines, but i think despite what he is saying his government is pre-much on the same tract and i think amy would agree with that. >> i would like to ask-- i think
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a lot of asian countries are wondering whether the-- president obama-- i think a lot of people are watching his speech closely, so how can he convince the asian leaders that he can, you know, make this? >> i have not said anything about this. tpp is actually essential to the pivot, the rebalance strategy. it's essential to the us position in asia. it's essential to our economic strategy of the last 70 years of trying to create a champion, a rule-based order and that is important and self advertising, i'm doing a piece today you'll
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see later about the aspect of this rulemaking. it's absolutely critical. the fact that it was agreed is a significant, schmidt. a lot of people thought that wasn't going to happen and i've always been an optimist that tpp everything that was supposed to happen has happened as long as you did not pick a date and a so i won't pick a date, but i believe tpp will ultimately be ratified by all 12 members including the united states and i think the president will try to assure leaders in asia that that is his belief in his strong intention and he will work as hard as he can before he leaves office to get this ratified. i personally think it's going to be a long shot, as mike said, to get it done, but i think it is possible so i will leave an optimistic note. anything's possible in politics. politicians can decide and say things today that they decide--
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they feel differently about on another day and so i would listen, not to what politicians are saying today, but what they say november 9, the day after the election. >> thank you. i have a question about bricks it. after the bow, secretary lu that highly integrated relationship between the uk and eu is something best for the international economic society, so that interest among europe and the uk seems to be a bit different, so i wonder how obama-- president obama will push this discussion in the g20 meeting and how we can expect a call the sprint in that, you
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know, in the discussion. also, i wonder whether we can expect some statement or discussion about the monetary policy or the exchange rate situation. >> i don't imagine that brexit will be a part of any of the formal conversation at the g20. i would expect it to be less informal bilateral conversation. tomorrow there will be a meeting and she will sit down with her three key cabinet ministers to talk about the different options. we don't know what the negotiations will look like because the british government has not pronounced how it wishes to proceed and the european union is allowing the british government to help understand that, but clearly and we won't know the full impact, the
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economic data will be very delayed until we really understand, but it was not as awful and catastrophic as some economists had predicted. after the markets got over that initial shock of the decision, but this will be a difference relationship. regardless of the process they proceed, but what i found so interesting about the us government, it was when president obama visited london a month before the referendum there was a message of actual punishment that the uk would go into the back of the queue if they decided to vote to leave the european union and the next -- the day after the referendum it was that indispensable partner and we want to keep the closest possible relationship. maybe it's the politicians that say one thing and the day after rely something else. i think there will be questions about what free trade arrangements will be made. but, again, i think right now,
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for the g20 it's trying to make sure brexit does not have an immediate short-term impact on global stability and i think we sort of possible marker, but now the question is in the long-term and that gets to monetary policy and the bank of england. this decision, i don't know whether negative interest rates and very accommodative policy. the finance minister has been extreme a concern because that grained current-account surplus in that favor nations are being punished for their value and negative interest rates. >> i think actually brexit will still be talked about in the g20 not so much because of its financial impact, great. it's the worry about that impact has passed, but it still is a pretty big event. by the ims forecast it will shave something like a percent off a british growth in that--
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britain is still the fifth largest economy in the world. it's a large economy, so when my british friends say it's a small island nation i remind them it's a huge economy with a big impact, so there will be talk of that and how to deal with that. monetary issues, there's a general agreement that monetary policy, the people who criticize where we are in certain countries and negative interest rates, but i think there is broad agreement that monetary policy has gone nearly as far as it can in addressing the fundamental growth if not completely exhausted or gone beyond where it should be, so everyone is agreed on that and i think then the question is should therefore the emphasis be put on more fiscal base stimulus versus structural reform and naturally the us germany debate to a large extent, but i think that will be the main focus of contention and difference in the
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g20. >> we are coming up against time here, so final question. scenic this question is for heather. specifically the topic of cyber security and the russians you said there's concern about the fact that these russian hacks were targeted towards the dnc and other democratic organizations. however, they are also targeting organizations like the fif. is there greater concern that these russian hackers are attacking outside groups, groups on the periphery, groups that are not direct government or political organizations. thank you. >> we take exception to the term we are on the prefer your. [laughter] >> there-- i think it is a
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challenge for the us government, just begin for the dnc hacks and when he gets to sort in the heart of democratic processes and our election. i think the us government has to make a decision about attribution then deciding if there are costs to that, if a back attribution is made in an action. i think the longer we debate over what to do and whether it gets out of a legacy or it's a difficult thing to do at the end of the administration, the problem is our lack of resolve then messages to those that are using these tools keeps-- pushing the envelope, keeps pushing the boundary and there is really not that cost, so i think that is the cycle we get into and i think in some ways the good news has been there's been an enormous amount of investigative journalism and transparency into this and putting focus on it, so americans are aware that this
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type of behavior is going on, so it's exposing it, but then it is finding those tools to address it. some of those tools we may be aware of publicly. i'm sure most of those tools we are not aware of, but that there is that reaction. think tanks are not immune. immune to these types of attacks , specifically when we talk about and expose our research exposes this type of activity and makes policy recommendations on how to stop it. this is where we are really entering what i would consider unchartered territory. when you have state actors that are trying to shape and influence outcomes and we better get a quick handle on this before it does significant damage. the good news is, i think, more so than ever americans are aware of the challenge of a government
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the decision has to be made what to do about it. >> folks, we are going to leave it there. ligature inboxes later today and we will send a transcript 21 today that wants to follow up with our expert panelists, please get in touch with myself and also brandon schwartz and andrew schwartz and our relations office. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> president obama will make stops in hawaii and midway island before heads to china and laos from september 2 through the knife. the stop and laos will make in the first us president to visit the southeast asian nation. the present will take part in a summit from leaders from that first top 20 industrialized nation in plan separate talks
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with the chinese president's. and laos the president will attend conferences and meet with their president and other officials. >> with the house and senate returning from their summer break next week, on thursday at 8:00 p.m. eastern we will preview for key issues facing congress this fall. federal funding to combat the zika virus. >> women in america today want to make sure that they have the ability to not get pregnant. why? because mosquitoes ravage pregnant women. >> today they turned down the very money that they argued for last may and decided to gamble with the lives of children like this. >> the annual defense policy and program built. >> call of these votes are very vital to the future of this nation and a time of turmoil and a time of the greatest number of refugees since he and world war
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ii. >> gun violence legislation criminal justice reform. >> every member of this body, every republican and every democrat wants to see less gun violence. >> we must continue to work the work of nonviolence and demand an end to senseless killing everywhere. >> the resolution to congress to impeach irs commissioner. >> house resolution 828 in teaching, commissioner of the internal revenue service for high crimes and misdemeanors. >> we will review the expected debate with susan for each show, senior congressional correspondent for the washington examiner join us thursday night at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span for congress this fall. >> book tv recently visited capitol hill to ask members of congress what they are reading this summer. >> well, the mentioned before i
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usually keep a book in my nightstand in indiana as i travel back-and-forth to washington every week and sometimes more than once a week or can keep a book on my nightstand and our place in washington, so before i go to bed i tried to get some good reading in. and then, i have my on the plane blog, which i read going back and forth, so not surprisingly the two books that i'm reading here in indiana, jack kemp's book. i was very close friend of jack kemp, colleague of champ, close friend of the kemp family. have a personal relationship, so it's interesting to go back and read his some of that history. also, the latest book here, politics which fits from washington is mitch mcconnell's book, the long run-- what is it? "the love game".
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i thought since he's my boss and he gave me a free book i ought to read it, so since i see him every day i can say i just read chapter seven and did not notice about you etc. then my book on the plane is a new book about churchill that was written by the mayor of london. i'm a big churchill fan. every book i can get on churchill, but this is a different perspective and i-- perspective and i recommend it to people because it's a different look at churchill, so i'm enjoying the. then, my book at home, i always have to read a spy book. i'm on that intelligence committee and i love spy books, so "tightrope", a world war ii spy that was airdropped into france to report on the germans and so forth. absorbing novel, so those for recently have been my books and
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event i am stacking up ideas for the break here in august to hopefully have more time to read >> i hope to finish a couple of books. first of all, i'm reading freedoms, which was given to be -- me by senator roy flynt. this is a book that is about the dome being put on the capital building pre-civil war, but what is i found especially interesting it as i get into the book is a focus on the house chamber in the senate chamber and how those were added to the original capital building and one of the main proponents of that is jefferson davis. so, while we are approaching the civil war we haven't jefferson davis really helping our country, helping build a capital building, which would serve our entire country and then we know later he became the president of
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the confederacy, so that they book i am hoping to get through. i started it and i need to finish it. i also want to read about destiny and power, which is the book by john meacham on george hw bush. i would like to get that done this summer. then, every summer i try to read a book that i have read before. last summer i read "to kill a mockingbird" in the summer before i read "all the kings men, which is one of my favorite men and this summer i will reread dickens "tale of two cities". >> well, i have a bigger stack that i have time, i fear, but right now i'm reading the wright brothers. wonderful american story of ingenuity and creativity and the library of congress does a great series for members of congress where they bring in authors and date interview them. they talk about their most
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recent books and i had the opportunity to see david mccall and talking about this book and then they give us each a copy of the book for those of us who come to the event and so it's a wonderful story. >> verse, i will pay you i think the best book that i read last year was a book called poetry night at the ballpark by bill kauffman, which had nothing to do with poetry, but was about minor-league baseball and politics and history. i really recommend that book to anyone. i currently am reading three books. i'm reading the scott burdened biography, which is not a long read, but very good and then i'm reading a new book by bill bradley, which is sort of a travel book about his travels around a small town in great
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britain. sort of a sequel to a book he wrote 25 years ago, i guess, about england. then, i'm reading a third book called "the boys in the boat", which is about the rowing team from the university of washington for the 1936 olympics it was recommended to me by one of my staffers. i ordinarily never really had a interest in rowing before reading this book, but it's a lot about hitler in history and also that rowing. >> book tv wants to know what you are reading this summer. treat us your answer at book tv or posted on our facebook page, facebook.com. u /book tv. >> tell us about senator mccain's race. who's he running against and what is it look like currently? >> he's running against kelly were, former state senator and
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it's a very tight race-- actually know it's not a tight race. he's up by about 26 points over ward in-- according to the latest cnn poll, but it's a very nasty race. ward went on television recently and said mccain is too old to be reelected and she also made the point as a former physician that she said i know the average american male's lifespan is not 86 years old and that's how old mccain would be at the end of the term if he won a six term. right now he is-- in fact, his birthday was yesterday and he just turned 80, so she is saying it is time for a change. he has been in washington way too long. but, as i mentioned a poll showed him up by 26 points, so it-- he looks to be cruising to reelection. however, there was a poll that
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showed him only up by four points with 23% undecided, so the cnn poll is probably more accurate, but there could be a surprise. >> as far as mr. mccain, as strong as cycles when he comes to primary election claimant with mccain has said is this is the toughest race of his life. he's in a political fight of hit life and so he is certainly taking this seriously and feels threatened. he had a primary challenge in 2010 from former republican congressman jd hayworth, a conservative talkshow host and someone who had served in congress. hayworth was seen as a serious threat to mccain, but in the end became one that primary quite handily, so will ward get closer than hayworth, who knows. but, in either case it looks like mccain is likely headed
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towards the general election after today. >> mr. bolton, let's turn to florida at the race that features former cn-- dnc had debbie wasserman schultz. was the condition of her race? >> she is running against tim canova, a law professor at southeastern university.orsed bernie sanders has endorsed him, but has not campaigned for him, but that support coupled with the fact that wasserman schultz is refiled by many sanders or supporters since the hacking of the dance servers showing that she and her staff actually favored hillary clinton in the primary. that has generated a lot of money and support for canova, but it's still a district thatis favors wasserman schultz. she's been in congress since 2004 and represented redrawn districts since 2013. recent polls shows her with a pretty healthy lead and this ist
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a district that hillary clinton won handily over sanders in the march primary, so it looks like wasserman schultz will probably hang on, but canova has a lot ob money and he is running a strong campaign. he's been on the air attacking her and she has been defended ba outside group called patriot majority, so it looks like she's going to cling on for, but in the house primaries it can be hard to predict who will win because there isn't that much pulling. >> let's stay out of florida with the race featuring senator marco rubio. how does he stand against his challenger? >> rubioan is up about 40 points according to the last poll. the multimillionaire builder who is challenging him. his challenger's been compared donald trump with a donald stop style campaign, but rubio is way ahead even though his competitor put a billion dollars of his own money in the race and has attacked rubio with television ads. that ads don't seem to have made
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a difference. baros says he does not know howw to quit, but has not been on the campaign trail that much, so it looks like he's acknowledging he probably won't win. rubio barely is acknowledging his primary opponent, looking ahead to the general election against us representative patrick murphy who is expected to win the democratic primary today and right now he has about five-point lead over murphy only -- although it still early.ll rubio is probably quite well with hispanics, 49 to 41% over murphy amongst hispanic voters in florida. >> one more before we let you go, the democratic side of florida, too sitting how spammers going out of for the democratic combination of the florida senate. can you tell us about that? >> us representative patrick murphy and us representative alan grayson, grayson was running against murphy as a liberal telogen murphy is only 33 years old without a lot of experience.
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he gave money to mitterrand in the 2000 campaign, so grayson is trying to exploit that and he's arguing to voters that he is the real democrat or that he is the liberal democrat and he is the elizabeth warren wing of the party, but he has been hurt by ethics scandals. that house ethics committee is looking into his operation ofhe hedge fund while he was a city member of congress. he has also been plagued by domestic abuse charges from his ex-wife and that caused a couple of groups, liberal groups to unendorsed him. he-- because of that he is a running well behind in the race. although, he has hired name idd and patrick murphy, but he's not expected to win an murphy is excited to cruise to victory today and onto the general election. >> alex bolted from the hill giving us a rundown of the various races in arizona and florida. mr. bolton, thank you. >> thank you for having me.
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>> we will hear from representative wasserman schultz, senator john mccain and their opponents and we will bring the results from their primaries tonight live on c-span. the mekong river commission works with the governments of glass, cambodia, thailand and vietnam and managed with the water sources of the mekong river. the ceo of the commission spoke at a forum to discuss the challenges facing the group and to exchange ideas about boundary river management with us officials. >> good afternoon and welcome to the the stimson center. we see a lot of new faces and some well-known faces. it's a great pleasure that only to have you, but to have such a distinguished panel with us today.
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we are especially pleased to have dr. phan, the new ceo of the mekong river commission and of course the us side of the mekong river commission, corps of engineers district, district of columbia and other parts of our establishment are well represented and aaron salzburg who i'm going to turn this over to briefly from the state department is senior water advisor at the state and has worked for years and years on mekong river issues and other major river systems. we are delighted to have erin back as well. so, my job is to welcome you and then try to get out of the way as soon as possible because we have a large panel and we have
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about an hour and a half to work with. i just want to make a couple of comments. one, about the stimson center, we are not government, nonprofit and nonperson. we depend mainly on foundation support for our work. all of our work for whoever funds it is put up on our website and there is nothing that we produce echoes 21-- goes to anyone. for that reason, a recent survey has been done-- you probably read about some of them that the stimson center came out-- we were awarded a score of a five out of five for transparency, so we are proud of that. the other thing about the stimson center is that we are moderate sized think tank. our previous president and ceo
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used to talk about a boutique think tank, i'm not sure that's the word i would use, but we do focus and pride ourselves more on how we do it than exactly what we do. in the terms of what we do, we have been around for 27 years now, but started as a center focused on hard-core security foreign-policy issues, but these days the last decade or so we have moved more into the area of transboundary issues as we will be discussing today. also, so-called nontraditional security issues, which are also relevant including water security, food security and all of those other things that are important to purity of countries and the people. so, a couple things i want to
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mention, first, this is the first time we've ever had a program with the mississippi river commission and the mekong river commission and both of which are mrc and in addition the first time we have had the ceo of the mekong river commission here and other distinguished visitors and participants, so that is very important. the rivers are some of the world's most important river took everyone knows, i think. for interest on-- for instance on annual discharge in a help wikipedia was right on this, but the mississippi river 16000700-- 60700 cubic meters annually and mekong river 14600, so very comparable in size in terms of
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discharge. the other thing is that they both are muddy rivers. the mississippi river has always been called the big muddy and we have call mekong river the big muddy as well because they have high volumes of sediment that they carry from their beginnings to the end. the other thing related to that is both are under great stress and partly due to climate change and sea level rise, but also and even more important in the short term from infrastructure upstream whether dams, locks and dams, garages and other things. mekong river is still not as developed as some of the countries would like it to be or plan for to be, so there's six
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stands in china that are operational, large mega sized dams, hydropower dams, primarily and to dance and allender under construction in laos. both of those dams-- the mekong river dams are high dams and these are dams by a large-- lower dams are organized more toward flood control or river traffic to support river traffic whereas mekong river we have not very much river traffic except in northern part of southern china. and in the delta area and cambodia, but the fisheries are extremely important, so food security is a huge issue with regard to mainstream dams and other infrastructures and one irony or interesting differences
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that the transport on the mississippi river is very much about food security to transport food from the bread basket of the us in the midwest and getting it to international primarily as well as national. whereas, mekong river food security is much more involved with tens of millions of people drifted dependent on the river for their livelihood and for that economies of the country. the river is the second-- mekong river is the second most biologically rich river after the amazon, which is much much bigger river. so, enough of that from the. again, welcome all of you and our panel and i will turn it
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over to aaron salzburg, first, who is actually known for long time and he will headed off. thank you. >> thank you. again, my name is aaron salzburg, special court nader pour water at the used department state and it is my pleasure to do this panel today. one, this is a critically important issue and i think all of you here came here because you know that. sorry, pushed it away. but, the fact that so me lives depend this river system and the importance of this river system to support economic development, local livelihood, peace and security of the region is critically important, so a great issue. also, this past week and rich alluded to this partnership that exists between the mekong river commission and the mississippi river commission, we had with
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support from the army corps of engineers, us department of state we were able to bring some of the mekong river river commission folks out tracks we see some the projects and programs going on in the mississippi so they could express firsthand what some of our challenges are and how we work to involve local communities and our decision-making and we are really grateful to the corps of engineers who help put that work often also to capitalize on their being here to bring them here today and i will inch reduce everyone in a minute. the second reason and rich alluded to this as well, this is a great panel. for chili, i just had lunch with these 280 will be incredibly pleased with the type of conversation you can have with these two gentlemen. its remarkable and second, we have my mentor over here on the right, one of my former bosses on the left and i don't think jerry remembers when we first engaged with each other 15 years ago, so it's a real pleasure for me.
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what i will do is introduce the panelists quickly trip i will turn it over to our two colleagues from the region first to get some opening remarks if they would like to and then turn it over to our other panelists and open it up to conversation, but it really is an opportunity for you and we really hope to have a nice open and fun dialogue here. without-- you have the bios, i think. so, won't go through it all. just quick to my left is dr. phan, chief executive officer of the mekong river commission and he is the first ceo of the mrc from the region and this is something that we had been advocating for four decades, maybe. so, it's wonderful to see him and we are pleased to have it here today. to my right also, inthavy akkharath.
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also, representative on the mrc. so, think both of them will have a lot to contribute. to my far right is eugene stakhiv, systems engineer and for over 40 years with army corps of engineers. now, i guess river basin planner, engineer, international joint commission, work with the us and canada and now john hopkins. to my near left is willam brakel, commissioner of the district of columbia on the interstate commission basin and houston bar mental scientist, teacher, career diplomats and i'm very excited to cs he was leaving the state department we talked about for years on and lo and behold he has got his next career in water, which is wonderful to see. jerry at the far end, the bureau
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director. he holds the rank of minister counselor and senior foreign service and as a director of technical services, asia bureau responsible for delivering technical assistance. an entire range of issues, everything from environment, governance, trade, education and health in over 21 countries and so a great set of experience at the table and i hope you can all take advantage of that. if you don't, i will, so maybe i will turn it to you first if you'd like to make any opening comments. >> i am really had to say, surprised and kind of ambushed by this. i wasn't prepared for this. i think i have a colleague here if i'm not mistaken. have your support.
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claim the first ceo in my job-- i've been in my job only seven months, so i hope they can entertain all of the questions you have for me, but i'm a little bit nervous. however, i will try to do my best, so with that i just want to turn it over to other people. >> before i turn over maybe i will start with a quick question >> please do. >> why did you take this job? [laughter] >> this is the question that many people ask me and i have difficulty to answer. actually, i was working in private industry in 2010 and i saw the job announcement and i thought well, i was not very happy with my company owner, so i said, well, i'm looking for
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something else. it started from that, but then when i got an offer i said well, i was working in new york before and also just yesterday i passed by my office 23 years ago in connecticut. i did it feel very much that i want to take the job. however, actually i think it's good for the region and i am a citizen, so i think that's the main driver why i take this job. >> if you have not seen his bio you should read through it and as someone who has also had a very disparate set of career experiences, working on water issues i have always said is harder than putting a man on the moon and i firmly believe that and as a rocket scientist i can get away with that, but you
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should see his background. if anyone has the background to tackle these challenges the mrc is facing, i think dr. phan is that person. did you want to start with any comments? >> i was working with the state department before and their ministry of agriculture and for street-- for street. i worked on the commission for six years and i turned back to the ministry. now, as acting of the secretary-general so that in the
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time i for this position. the commission is not new to me because i was there for six years and i'm quite comfortable regarding the commission. thank you very much for inviting me here. >> thank you. you have been with the mrc now, for six years. from your perspective, the perspective a plow in particular , what do you see as the strongest benefit the d mrc brings? >> >> first of all i would like to share with you that on the half of four countries working
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together because in each country we have committees so we won't working closely. so, it's very good that we have some kind of thing which you call that planning commission, something the nation can share and working together aced on what we have planned in each year, so for example we have already completed planning for each country. so, that's a good thing.
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each country can learn from them not only support the family, also support their commission. scenic and i just-- >> please, rich and exciting i neglected to say, which was very important and that is the mekong river commission is-- i'm sorry four countries, laos, cambodia, vietnam and thailand and was created in 1995 after many years of a previous organization, which is it mainly run by international offices. in fact, at one point under us offices way back in the cold war days and this agreement from 1995 was to-- the countries
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coming together and agreed to cooperate on development and protection of the river and sharing of the water and over the years it's struggled to do this because we have one huge issue and that is each country is sovereign. there's no veto on what can be built on the river by any other country and each country has different plans and needs, requirements of the river. in addition, you have china up in the north and said that where the river arises going its own way. china has built now i mentioned earlier six really large-- some of the world's largest dams that have affected the flow of the river and sediment flow.
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formally burma also on the river and has several hundred kilometers of stretch over river, but the most important rivers flow elsewhere to the-- a true return flow to the they-- abbé. the main point want to mention about this is that you have vietnam and so vietnam is affected by everything that happens upstream. viacom also has some major dams on tributaries that also affect the delta as well as cambodia. cambodia has the highest disk consumption in the world, way
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over from almost any other country. heavily dependent on river for fish, but also has aspirations as all the countries do and so cambodia is not only building one major dam right now on the tributary river system, but also to mainstream dams itself, but for cambodia the problem is they can't have fish and electricity at the same time. there are trade-offs they are. thailand is the biggest economy region and biggest consumer of electricity and mainly largely from other neighboring countries finally, vietnam-- i'm sorry, laos has the largest hydropower potential in the river.
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on the mekong river south of china laos has the highest potential hydroelectric power and so and laos also a smaller population one of the poorest countries in the region, in the world and aspires to develop hydropower potential mainly for exporting electricity for revenue. so, each country that has a different objective in different interests and it falls to the ceo of the mekong river commission in particular and dr. phan to try to lead an organization that off-- has to somehow recognized-- reconcile all these different instances. we will hear from our american counterparts right now, but the main thing about the us-- i
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think i'm going in and out on this microphone. nonetheless, the states are involved, numerous states. although, they are not sovereign in a sense of their ability to use the river, they are very very concerned downstream and upstream with what goes on in other countries and so the mississippi river commission has a similar task of trying to reconcile the competing interests of states and communities whether it's flood control, transportation or other water quality issues. so, it's a very complicated picture and i wanted to make sure that the difference is understood with four sovereign countries, mrc and no veto power and in our country we have the political process, of course,
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that we use to deal with these issues, so with that i turn it back over to the panel, but i do think that we will want to hear more from dr. phan and inevitably on how they will try to manage these matters. thank you. sorry for breaking and. >> you leave me with a tough choice of whether allow him to respond now or wait to. i will give you a few minutes to think about the question. but, the point being, of course, this is on amazingly complicated region ecologically. while the develop interests are similar they also quite different among the different countries and what they need to accomplish. it's a comic it'd political region and it's a complicated institutional region with the different institutional arrangements, so it's a complicated set of processes and
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that's why we have brought some of our us colleagues are to comment on some of the same issues we have in the us and do comparing and contrasting and see where there might be lessons learned at jean, maybe i will start with you. both jean and william have a long relationship with canada with that, but now william has moved on to local issues, but jean, maybe you can comment on what you've heard that we might be able to reflect on the issues >> when you invited me to this panel the immediate phrase that came to mind was fools rush in where angels fear to tread because as an engineer i'm trying-- trained to follow problems and fix things and having been in the mrc is supported some of the work of the mrc and the past, obviously it's a complicated problem. i don't have any solutions for you and i feel sort of helpless
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to come up with some magical solution about what you should be doing other than to say that perhaps you need to change your objectives. you need to change your perspective on what really needs to be done in the basin and if you don't mind i have a little presentation to give. >> i don't seen objections. >> again, this is part of my sort of the-- debilitating defect is an engineer. i need crutches, need slides. i'm not a diplomat. i can't speak without them. >> that is not true. >> so, one of the things you have to recognize of all of these developing nations is that when you have flood damage or dare out damage of the magnitude and you can see appear you have cambodia, thailand-- i don't
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think this thing works. anyway, a lot of the nations in the river basin are on the high end of flood damage. you can't grow or prosper your queue can't have sustainable development unless the first item that you fix is all of these-- dealing with the extremes of weather in nature. another graphic showing the same thing, which i put together, which is look at the human development, which is the world bank on the left and a look at water disaster damage as the extent of the gdp. most of the mekong river nations are on the right-hand side and you can't again-- the first thing you have to do is to try to get your water disaster damages to less than 1% of your gdp per event, so as big as hurricane katrina was in the united states, if you look at in
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terms of proportion of gdp it's like .02%. that's why we could absorb these damages in the us. it's a big event, $200 billion with a damages, but in an 18 chilean dollar economy it's nothing. in most of these other countries, it's five to 10% of the gdp. so you're constantly recovering from flood damage and drought then how can you ever grow, so that's the first thing you have to deal with in any kind of water management strategy. secondly, you have to also recognize that-- and i have a feeling having worked with the world bank and usaid i have a feeling we try to transpose the values of developed nations onto developing nations, when in fact developing nations have a different set of objectives and priorities they ought to pursue in the first is poverty reduction, which is connected then to flood damage reduction in all of these other aspects, so you can't leapfrog over basic
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development and infrastructure for basic economic development and growing-- going to these wonderful phrases as part of sustainable development without dealing the-- with the fundamental issues of party reduction. hadi do party reduction, was the solution to poverty reduction? is it solar panels, windmills, its economic development. how do you do economic developing? that's sort of the crux of the matter. so, the pillars of poverty reduction, the first issue have to simulate economic growth, improve social well-being, strengthen institutional capacity and so on and so forth. i will run through these pretty quickly pick the fundamental debate that we have in our world , meaning the un system, world bank is the debate between these two economists who have both written books, same year on the fate of india.
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how do you make india grow? one of them, basically follows the bernie sanders model. we need more wealth d-- redistribution and everyone has to be equal. where'd you get the wealth from? how do you create this whelp? so, he basically says you have to grow the economy and then you can use the revenue they have generated to provide for all of these other service-- social services. ..
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where's the u.n. basically says only sustainable development goals are equal, all important and we should pursue them. how do you persist and if you don't have the wealth to pursue those objectives? it just doesn't make any sense. >> so basically my point is that i think you can read it is the u.s., u.n., all of the strategies are essentially pushing the notion of big green economy as the basis for sustainable development when, in fact, it's just going to maintain people on this substance is level because you can't skip over basic infrastructure investments to get to the screen economy that will grow the overall economy. you will be constantly, and many of the policies we have in the united states that we are
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promoting in the mekong river basin are essentially subsistence level strategies. yes, we want you to continue fishing in the river. we don't want you to grow economically. we don't want you to buy fish in the supermarket. you continue fishing. that's a subsistence economy. that does not get people out of poverty. so you can't leapfrog over traditional investment and infrastructure by shifting over to all of these green economy type solutions. it's not going to work in the mekong river basin. that's what i say it needs to shift in thinking of objectives. what does the commission really promote? how does it go about promoting these the objectives, et cetera? we've got a lot of dams in north america. so you can see down there the mekong river basin wants to build extra capacity that doesn't even reach the capacity of europe.
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so while you may think there's a lot of dams in the mekong river basin, it's not even close to what we have in north america. which has generated a lot of economic growth and opportunities in the american west, in the mississippi river basin, in the ohio river basin to in the missouri river basin and in the columbia river basin. i would argue the columbia river basin is closer and objectives to what the mekong river commission should be following rather than the mississippi because it has more of the hydroelectric power dams. >> so again you see a picture of a cattle harder in kenya holding a cell phone, and that's supposed to be a sort of somehow we can then generate out of this cell phone, we can make people's lives happy, happier and better. the cell phone needs cell phone towers.
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it needs electricity. where do you get this stuff? that's the problem. where do you get all the basic fundamental core infrastructure to provide the new technologies to be able to use the new technologies? we are even having trouble with the greek economy in our developed countries, especially in california, the latest drought reveals a lot of problems in california. i'm not going to spend a lot of time. what i think i'm going to do, not to take more time, is am going to end with the slide because i have 10 more and we have a couple other -- but i wonder those lights. they have nothing to say. you have to have nice slides. [laughter] i manage a day but think about these problems differently. the diplomats think about, maybe i will do one more slide. but diplomats think about these problems differently because we all have different objectives. but the fundamental objective is what the minister wants.
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what is it that he wants for his nation and his country? we can provide information that you need and the diplomats to negotiate how much flood, what the flood peak will become how much the reservoirs will rearrange the flood peaks and the drought blows and all of this other information. how much water there is for allocating to the first countries. we can give you all of that information. we don't do the negotiations. we do the analysis. what is that we working towards? what are the objectives? the objectives are what the minister wants. he wants economic development. you want some form, he wants to get financing for this economic development from somebody, either internally am taxes or from the world bank or from usaid and he wants to ensure water security. the politicians. so the job of the engineer and the job of the diplomats is to make sure these things happen.
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but the diplomats work on a completely different set of objectives. i think a big part of the problem in the mrc is that the diplomats really muddy a lot of the water, which already muddied to begin with. thank you very much. >> normally i would ask jean a question. [laughter] but i don't think you guys came to see the two of us get into it. we do do that and then where happy to do that but we will do that to you. look, this is a very important perspective and one a lot of the country are trying to deal with. how do you make those hard decisions between basic infrastructure projects that michael local livelihoods at risk to achieve, to be the basic needs and get the economic engine started? we were talking about some of those very same issues an hour ago. this is a very important perspective to bring to the table. i was thinking of will and then
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jerry. jerry, you may offer something that directly -- >> i can respond to some of the points. with economic growth happening in southeast asia, it is happening big time. a major push is people are moving to the urban areas. that's what the jobs are. poverty reduction is happening. things are improving. there are lots of challenges but really to say that development is not happening. it is happening in a big way in southeast asia in particular. the other point is the mobile phone thing, private sector is the engine of driving a lot of this. they are out there promoting the private sector. mobile phone technologies that are building cell towers and expanding the use of mobile phones for many, many ways. it's just happening now. >> willem. >> thanks very much. appreciate this opportunity to talk to you a little bit about the interstate commission on the potomac river basin, which i
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suspect is an organization that's not the military many of you. just to keep up a bit of history and the point of contrast and comparison will emerge hopefully in the the questions and answers and discussion afterwards. the icp are be was established in 1940 so we're not in our 76th year of operations. it was established by a compact among four states, maryland, virginia, west virginia, pennsylvania, the district of columbia and the federal government. that compact was ratified by the congress, an act of congress in 1940. it was motivated by the disgraceful status of the potomac river in the 1930s and '40s which was notoriously polluted at the time due to both sewage pollution as well as intellectual pollution. so the aim of the icprb was to protect, enhance and conserve the waters and associated land
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resources of the potomac river basin and its tributaries. and through primarily interstate and regional cooperation. it's funded by from the six signatories of the compact, although sometimes the funding doesn't always come through. we also get grants from large agencies such as epa, to carry out certain activities. we have a budget of about $3 million a year, although less than that. there are three commissioners are jurisdiction i'm one of the three on this commission. we have a professional staff of about 20. our powers are very limited. we have no regulatory authority. we can't tell anybody to do anything, but nevertheless despite that as a voluntary sort of consensual organization we still have managed to help the jurisdictions in the potomac river basin would address some of the key issues.
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we, for instance, are primarily interested in collecting, analyzing and distributing scientific information about the basin. we also promote uniform laws and regulations among the various basin partners. we disseminate information and recommendation to the public, and we also have the right if passed or even if not asked we can, in fact, opine, issue opinions and comments on make private and public projects that might affect the water quality and quantity in the basin. there are four major emphasis in our work. one is water supply. 100% of the tap water we drink in washington, d.c. comes from the potomac river, so that's an extra in the important part of our activities. we also our interest in water quality as well as aquatic life it also communications outreach and education of the public and
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other stakeholders. the serious industrial and sewage pollution issues of the 1930s and '40s and 50s are thankfully behind us, thanks to the clean water act, 20 water protection act and so on, other legislation at the federal level as well as the work of the very states in the region. but we still have problems primarily sewage i distillate problem for us because of our combined sewer system where our storm sewers and our sanitary sewers are interconnected. whenever we have a major rainstorm in washington, you actually get overflows of untreated water into the potomac river. that is something that's being addressed through infrastructure investment and so the major issues for us now in the river of increased population and an increased demand for water both for drinking water as well as water for cooling and power
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plants and for industry. for agriculture, we've issues with nutrients and sediments which are finding their way into the river. land-use changes and increase of impervious surfaces making for a more erratic distribution of water over time. we have emerging contaminants. we of alien invasive species, and we have agricultural practices that sometimes can be harmful. we also are not far from the marcellus shale area with a potential from fracking at least is there, although there's not much happening in this basin. there is a history of coal mining in the western part of the area. i think i'm going to really cut short what is going to say and just mention that i can talk more if there are questions about what we do to ensure a secure water supply for the district of columbia and the washington metropolitan area.
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i can talk about what we do with emergency spill response. i can talk more about what we'd do, our part that we do in protecting the chesapeake bay and trying to ensure that the levels of pollutants finding their way into the chesapeake bay are minimized. and we also some good successes with the restoration of a migratory fish, the river herring that might interest you think i believe that open up to questions later on. thank you. >> thank you, willem. jerry? >> economic growth is happening in southeast asia in a big way, driven by the private sector. the real challenge is how can we help influence and guide this investment? well-planned, well constructed, you need to appropriate planning and design. without that you're likely to negative impact, significant negative impacts. one of the areas i would focus on is social and environmental
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safeguards. this is an area u.s.a. is investing in and something the u.s. has a lot of experience in. -- usaid. are approachable look at advocating inadequate resource planning approach where food production, river transportation, fisheries, water supply including haiku, solar and wind are all maximize. i want to highlight the areas usaid is engaged in in the lower mekong. first, we are involved in supporting informed decision-making. we want to the decision-makers look at sound science and then how do you anticipate social apartmendepartment of costs ands of development projects? one example is we've been building the capacity of local organizations to do modeling of projects for dance where you look at the sediment flow and the fish migration and this movement. building the capacity to look at these kinds of science-based issues in data from decision-making is some evidence
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you've been able to develop. second, we support the increase could nation among national governments. we support a number of bodies that concerned with infrastructure average apartment impact assessments. in particular usaid is involved in a regional technical working group environment and assessment. this has participation from all five countries of the lower mekong and starting doesn't impact on overall guidance in the region but in particular several countries are looking at how to improve the national level environmental impact assessment, particularly cambodia and burma. >> the third area is improving awareness, access and use of reliable information and in particular geospatial data on the anticipated social and environmental costs and benefits of infrastructure investments. again by all stakeholders. in this regard we are supporting a long-term regional capacity on geospatial analysis and we also
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support had to increase civil society engagement. the fourth area is where delivering on demand technical support to lower mekong government still to mitigate potential negative and social impacts of the programs. the last part i want to highlight is energy. we will have a discussion on this later, but we believe strongly promoting the use of clean renewable energy and the power grid system and expanding energy efficiency. this will help reduce the demand for new electricity. we support integrating renewable energy into the power planning process using competitive procurements and smart incentives and then mobilizing finance. we are demonstrating that solar power and other renewable energies are attracting the private sectors and cost can be competitive and renewable power plants to be built on a much faster timeframe than conventional power plants with minimal negative social and climate impacts. i would like to thank stimpson
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for hosting this event and i look forward to a structured -- >> i want to turn back to our two colleagues from the region first just to see if you can have comments or questions our reflections on what you heard from our other panelists for anything you want to follow up on end with her over to see there any questions. if not, then i will ask questions. >> i don't. >> do you have any? any questions from out here? start over on the left. tell us who you are before you ask. [inaudible] >> i could work on the project. thanks very much. which is funded by usaid and the credit manager on the project.
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i would like to ask about the relationship between usaid and the mekong river commission. just generally what the relationship looks like and what interactions there are, if any. >> we collaborate with them. we don't have a working relationship in the sense of an agreement per se a we collaborate and support in many ways. we have to support them on the modeling study for the sediment flow and the fish movement, that was with the mekong river commission. >> correct me if i'm wrong, and look at a couple of folks on this, but the united states is actively involved as part of the donors group to the mekong river commission and working with the other donors to both provide some sort of strategic advice and on occasion targeted financial supporter i think the our activities within mrc with the united states has provided support to use the id but also through the department of state.
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is that fair, julian? okay. please. >> did you want to comment on the relationship? >> i think you may know better than me. actually i would like to just collect some information about, he has been working with the mrc, with the mekong river commission six years of the past, so he has that been working with the mekong river commission lady but now he is acting secretary-general of the mekong river, national mekong river commission of laos. so he's not developing. i pay to visit in the usaid office in bangkok, and we would like to very much further
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develop relationship with the usaid. i think it depends, in the past we've had a lot of support from usaid, a lot of work together, but i cannot give you the details. >> make sure you get a card. what of the things we certainly try to do with us at the network that we are setting up is to help build the capacity of individual countries to make better use of data but also the mrc in finding a way of tying all that together to help support integrated planning decisions. this is an important initiative for us. i thought i saw another -- right there. thank you. >> thank you very much for the discussion. my name is david. we are implementing two of the programs that doug mentioned, the mekong partnership with a private and the partnership. the question i had was to the
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gentleman from laos and then get them. regarding the mekong operation cooperation mechanism, essentially china is joining in with, to create another body to perhaps might -- [inaudible] we are d.c. the mrc versus -- how can we have them work together in order to make sure leverage china's involvement in the region? >> okay. i am from vietnam but i am not, i do not represent vietnam in mrc. i am a ceo and i am a neutral professional ceo and not funded by vietnam in order to represent
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vietnam at the commission to suggest make sure that there. talking about this lack of mekong cooperation, when they have a summit meeting in china in march 2016, i might press announcement, press release, after that we supporting the mekong river commission, we supporting. now, to say, but you need to know that the mekong river corporation s. wide area of cooperation. water resource, what could water management is only one of the five areas that they cover. so that's one thing. so to answer that, and we would
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like very much, because we representing, we are regional organization of only four countries which includes vietnam, thailand, laos and cambodia. china and burma and minbar, partners. in that sense we would say we would like to participate in the work of lower mekong corporations. actually we volunteered to take care of all the water issues, and also we would like to take, this may be too close, to take care of all the water resources or water issues of mekong corporation if possible. however, still located in laos or in cambodia, not to move to china. and we expressed that to china.
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we would like to do that. now, does it supersede efforts on our mekong river commission? there is concern of many development partners, but i don't see that it would supersede because it has a larger areas of interest, of the activities. the second thing is this. mekong river commission is the only organization which is treaty-based. mekong river corporation is how to say, not treaty-based. so i would say that. we have been, by the way, we have been in the business for the last 21 years. if you compare the 1995 mekong agreement with so-called 1996 united nations convention, then i would say we have longer history of longer perhaps time
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for the operation for the operation of the agreement or the implementation of agreement in the region. the u.n. injured in only a year ago, at the g20 14. even if we take that into mekong region, we have only vietnam ratified the convention, but other countries did not ratify the even china voted in, how sick am against it in 1997. so it says that the mekong river commission is a very relevant, and by the what if you look back at, how to say, 1995 when the agreement was signed, it was the most potency agreement at the time. integrated into 1995 people over if you look at the history of the mekong river commission for
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the last 21 years, it is -- take this convention. it's a beautiful. it's wonderful. however, vietnam is the only country ratified but other upstream countries don't ratified it. it is not effective at all. been that way i think it answer the question that it is relevant, and the mekong corporation will not supersede the mekong river commission. >> i was asked to vote and maybe we can come back. i want to make sure we have done. where did the microphone go? let's work that way and then we will get it this way. [inaudible] i think this is a small
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reflection and unrelated. if you don't mind can you show your last slide? >> somebody. >> i don't think you are saying that there is a conflict here. in fact, i think what you're seeing is that the diplomats have to work together to achieve their objectives that are prescribed. what i've like this is, they are both engineers and about the diplomats. the overlapping perspective. the first one is very technical objective, unsustainable development. [inaudible] there's a lot of debate on the real definition of that. so that's the first objective of mrc, to be able to come up with a sustainable development and
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management of the river basin. it's partly tactical, but the second objective that it's really not being discussed is that mrc as a hydra diplomat basically serves for discussion, communications for the countries continue. just to keep the peace. i think it's important to know that mrc is kind successful. i think both rivers, the mississippi river and russia are both muddy rivers. i think yes, i recognize that but i think in the mekong river commission, the mekong river, saddam is more alive, to do as
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one of the lifelines in the region while, correct me if i'm wrong, in mississippi river i think seven is more like look at more negatively. thank you. >> getting better at that and the delta issues. did you want to pass the microphone this way? does anybody have a particular response? no? >> can i say something? the other slides that i didn't show were related to this one, and the point i wanted to make with that is that water management is more like three-dimensional chess. so we have a flat plane where the engineers and the ministers of water resource, irrigation, are working on the problem. there's another set of planes above that. the solution to the mekong river problems lie not in the water resources sector, but daylight in the diplomatic triangle because they could get at other
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issues that benefit sharing, trade agreements, watercolor agreement, transboundary. all of these things can use to leverage the things that you want to achieve in water resources management. so that's beyond our realm. that's beyond the engineers robert it's in the diplomats round. i'm not sure that they are functioning at that multidimensional level. as they showed. >> i think is exactly right and it is a challenge because we are all stovepipes and is a very intersexual type challenges. how to reach the right level of management that can make decisions across those different sectors in different aspects of trade and everything else, very, very challenging the is the challenge i think. we talked about this earlier about how do you bring tactical information to the relevant policymakers, or how do you empower the policymakers who are
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part of your conversations to be able to make independent decisions that they will have to make? that's going to be a real challenge. >> jane somers, senior manager advisor in usaid. i had a comment and a question. my comment is on eugene's presentation. thanks for the graphics. as an engineer i like the visual. i guess the one comment i would make is i don't agree with you that it is an either or of economic development or so-called green economy. i think that if we don't develop it in an environmentally sustainable way, or economic growth, but it is much more difficult and expensive to later tried to introduce green or environmentally friendly and even energy efficiency measures into these projects after they
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are already constructed and built. i would just say i think it can be done together and, in fact, you can have more economic growth in a sustainable way. my question for you, for mrc, what do you think are your greatest needs that agencies like yours or others could assist you to strengthen your authority or your capacity or organization to be as effective as possible in the region, ways we can assist you in achieving your goals? >> i would say i didn't know they much also about usaid. so i don't know what i can ask you because i don't know a lot, so that's one thing. but however or what i know i think technical you can help us a lot.
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also u.s. army, folks of engineered can help in technical areas. even though that's the approach to times. right now we would like very much to complete so-called council study which would assess all the impacts of the hydra powers of the mainstream, also impact in order to have it as decision-making in four countries. so all that, the technical expertise from you, i think that is very important. and also all the experience that you have in other regions would be also helpful. i think that we also have, we also looked at geo space that you have workshops in cambodia
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office. while we think that's great, however, it costs a lot of money by the way. so i think also we might have also problem to implement those, how to say, high technologies in the region. but does the only thing. i think also that was soft skills or areas like i learned from usaid that you have a center of conflict resolution. you talk about stakeholder engagement. those things are very helpful for us. one other thing that i learned from the last week, during this trip, that we witness, we listened to public hearings in the mississippi river commission, which amazingly they
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have done that for the last 150 years, or since 1878. that number is 396 sessions of this water inspections. and one session, the last session said they did, they had seven public hearings from the top of the river to the downstream. we hear that those, the amazing thing is that we do not do that in mekong river commission. we never do that. so this is an eye-opening experience. i mean, so just to give you that you have done a lot in your history come in your experience, we would like to tap into those experience and expertise. >> software skills, for
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interesting. did you want to add anything? >> if i could perhaps add a little bit about the potomac river. we also undergone a substantial evolution since 1940. i think some of that experience we've had maybe it's instructive to others as well. back in the day as many of you know, many water resource issues were basically considered engineering problems, go build a dam, dig a ditch or whatever, build a levee. we have over the years come away from that obviously and we are very much now in a world of integrated water resource management why we tried to bring together all the various aspects of the environment and deal with them in an integrated fashion. that means including natural infrastructure, the role of forests and wetlands in regulating water flow or cleaning water and so on. we at the icprb, the interstate
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commission on the potomac river basin, has recently recast our strategic plan to sort of reflect staff more explicit and i encourage you if you have a chance to go to our website, potomac river.org and look at that. likewise, what are now in the process of starting stakeholder consultations in order to develop a basin wide water resources plan for the entire basin involving all stakeholders as i said. that would be a two-year process. so it's by bringing people together not just focusing on the engineering but those things are important, but really trying to integrate all that to find the best solutions. i just want to add that. >> thank you. can't i just also bring an issue, again. a bit of a follow-up to the question she raised. but also i wanted to say to
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eugene, you get the prize for probably the most provocative statement ever made about hydropower on any of the panels that we at the stimson center have organized on the subject. and that's not, it's not meant as -- right. i think one point you made is i think relevant to what jerry was talking about because when i hear all of the things that you say he's doing, i didn't hear any priorities either. i didn't hear any kind of strategic approach. i don't want to make a big point about that, but now that use both of these comments to raise another issue that aaron would be very familiar with, but also to call on both of our regional
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representatives here. and that is, there's been, these days the debate is not so polarized maybe as was in the past. part because the rally that some of these dams are being built by the fact that are rising questions about even the feasibility, financial feasibility, and the political feasibility. the projects and political risks. and also things like the mekong in recent years hasn't got enough amount of water in it. that was assumed was going to be there for the future in terms of flows particularly during the dry season. and even china's dams have not regulated the river in a way that avoided drought. serious problems that hamper the operation of hydro dam's. but there has been a lot of discussion now in recent years about the so-called nexus that
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is the trade-offs between water, energy, food security, other values of water. and i wonder if, particularly this review in the center of the panel would like to comment on why this dams with the nexus and even used as well, where does the nexus stand in terms of either the mrc or the friends of lower mekong, the lower mekong e current initiative. there's a lot of talk about the trade-offs that there is no mechanism so far to actually put them into play. so anyone. >> maybe just to give my colleagues a few seconds to think. because i usually talk and not think. we do have priorities and i
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think when you look at where usaid and the state department have been focusing a lot of attention around building capacity to improve the sustainability infrastructure investments, improved integrated planning and information for integrated planning and development, decision-making. but remember a lot of our investments are done on a bilateral basis and not necessarily regional. we still have to do justice to all the bilateral programming that is addressing some of the basic needs which go from access to drinking water and sanitation to improving agriculture. also other develop outcomes we are focused on in individual countries. the nexus, so part of my role within the mekong is it shared the environment and water working group of the lord mekong initiative. i've been talking quite a bit about the nexus and the next issue. i know every time, what does the nexus mean?
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i know it's a tough issue to address. i think the way we have tried to view it is it's really about identifying new opportunities for economic growth because of the synergies between water, food and energy. what are, what's the money we are leaving on the table by not looking holistically at these three issues collectively we were talking about development? and the other side of that coin is the risks and understanding the risks, the new risks that are emerging because of the interconnections between water, food and energy at a we doing enough to address these kinds of issues. we at the state department working very closely with our usaid colleagues have put out a request to look at nexus programs within the mekong region. our hope is to begin some programming that addresses some of the challenges in the coming months. i know it's an area that we're trying to advance quite a bit
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with our colleagues in the region, but jerry, did i do that justice speak with the only thing i would add on, we have specific strategies for a given country and that looks at the gate of a challenge within the country but also what the comments capability is, private sector and other donors but it will be a broad perspective on what is the role the us government in that particular country. talking about the nexus, we are focusing much more on food security and you are looking at the issue of food and nutrition. your point about the development, one of the biggest challenges we see is malnutrition. many countries in southeast asia have high-stepping rates. something in the developer world we often time get stovepipe but it's important think about what's required for development in these countries and oftentimes it's a good addition for the first two years of a child's life and in good education and then you've got to have a private sector engaged for grading jobs, then water. a lot of things have to be done.
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i would just say there is kind of a prioritization but it's within a broader context. >> let me twist your question a little bit. because we know a lot of the water challenges that the mrc will be looking at is going to be driven by the energy sector. the energy conversations are happening in other fora. how is it, what steps are you thinking about, or are you not there yet, about how we bring some of those other communities into some of his discussions of the mrc or bring some of the mrc concerned into the other areas? there's a greater interconnectivity between decision-making processes around energy, around food and what the mrc is looking to do on water. >> well, this is a very difficult for me to answer. however, we have ideas, five
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year strategic plan, which covers all these hydropower. it covers also the fishery, which is the food security. we talk about food security in cambodia, and the water actually, how sort of water quality and how we facilitate with my colleague just talked about the sediment, which is i think said about sediment in mississippi is it treated differently or the same as mekong river quick sediment is very vital which helps the vietnamese rice bowl in the mekong delta your soul in fact the even suggestion rom -- from
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the nature and heritage institute that we even suggest to china to do the segment flushing of their dams in order to come out to say, release the 50% of the sediment which is trapped in the cascades of dams in china. so i would say yes, it's covered in our strategy plan. so anyway, i mean, we are working on all these issues together. i think it's not really, ho howo say, expressed clearly in our strategy plan, this nexus. however, all these i would say pre-components of it are embedded in our strategy plan. >> that's a lot to add in that
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but first i would like to share information about the mekong river watershed. [inaudible] sylvester laus. go into the delta of vietnam, mekong river. it's the name of the mekong river up report only. so that's why in the mekong river commission they have four countries as members and we have to dialogues panel, china and myanmar. so that is the thing i would like to shoot. regarding, what did you call it lacks on the information related to the watershed basin plan, so that if compared to mississippi,
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mississippi is not in laos for us to know, to develop the basin. you are looking at our sedimentation, water quality, water use and so we are looking with a flat sediments come everything. also we're looking on information for less experienc experienced. that's why we have an m.o.u. with m. irc, and m. irc so we commit to share and learn from m. irc how is the management of development in watershed. so that i would like to add in only. thanks. >> microphone. >> hello.
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i'm a graduate student focusing on energy environment. so i have a quick and simple question. so you mentioned that in laos there's plans that complemented basin agreement from mekong river commission. so is there any plans in the rest of the three countries that have been successfully implemented? like in a concrete way. is there any plan or any construction that had been complemented based on the argument? >> are you meaning either construction plans that one country has brought to the mrc that have been actually carried out that the mrc is -- >> just based on mrc argument. >> protocols within the mrc. so have they been specific dams
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or other activities that have been proposed by some of the countries that have worked through the procedures successfully? >> let me answer that. if i understand your question correctly, that you want to see any output from the mrc, right? i would say that we have this, i talk about the strategy plan 2016-2020. it is the second five year strategic plan. we had the first five year strategy plan which is 2011-2015. however, how to say, assessment, the strategy plan was largely completed. so i would say that in, how to say in summary, got a hold strategic plan for the five years. and if i'm not mistaken, the
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budget for the last five years about $120 million. now, i mean, in the broader terms you have a strategy plan which was largely completed, the accomplished and that's a big accomplishment. it was not under my watch. but for the last 21 years of the mekong river commission, we have five procedures which are -- those five procedures action in place and argues which is the first one is for water quality. then the next one would be the water flow of the river. and the next one is water utilization. then the fourth one is data exchange. actually data exchange is also very important one year and
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moreover, we have also, how to say, data from china. it has been increased from 2002 up to now. if now they get more information, more data to ask the mrc to mekong river commission. actually one, my previous ceo even stay with me that china was sent data to make river commission more than with any other countries. so more than any other institution. so that is, i would say, but the last one i would say, aaron already mentioned the procedures for notifications, prior agreements. which has been flagged twice, and even, have to say, law professors say that these two applications are unique.
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no country, no anywhere in the world in which can accomplish but even though those are procedures which have been, how to say, they identify design changes, or they require design changes and that's why it's to reduce negative impacts of the dam to the environment. so i think those are big, have to say, accomplishment. i think he work with mrc. i think you might agree with me. so to answer your simple question, but i think a lot the thing to say. >> all yours, gene. >> i have a question. so you think i ran out of provocative things to say, right? >> know why. >> this is to the diplomats.
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have there been discussions in the background that we are not aware of? what would it take to get, what is it, the xayaburi dam, to be left uncompleted, what incentives can you give, provide, to build the dams upstream that would equal the capacity or less, the hydroelectric power capacity the flood control capacity, of the xayaburi dam? what would it take him what is it, cambodia that is building it? lyles. what would it take for laos to say okay, we will not build a dam we want something more and bigger? what's on the table? >> are you asking me speak with an asking a diplomat, aaron. >> supposed to be the moderator. [laughter] >> this is why i would run negotiations, you know. so what do you want?
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what is going to take? actually donald trump would be good at this. what would it take for you to forgo the dam, and then we'll build you of the dams that would be equivalent. it seems to me that is the logical thing to do, rather than, rather than, in other words, -- >> please go ahead. >> here's the thing. the mrc, the mrc and the state department at all of the other a diplomatic community, basically if you understand optimization, you plan by constraints where i would rather that you plan by what are your objectives, okay? we align your objectives, reconfigure the whole table, the chessboard and then start all over again. instead of being stuck in the same rut that she been stuck in the last 20 years. >> no question.
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look, you are exactly right, and we do go back to ask these questions and we look at, editor want to pick on laos. would look at any country in this kind of situation. there's no question. they need energy security. look, they're trying to meet basithebasic needs of their peo. they need energy. they need water. they need to to be able to meet the basic needs of the people. in some cases they do that through both mechanisms, one about providing those services but also generating foreign revenue which can generate income that allows them to invest in those basic services. i think that's the situation you find a country like laos and. they need to both provide those services for the people and they need to generate revenue. hydropower is a way of generating revenue. this is a real setback obligated challenges when you talk about what our capacity is to influence this. please, step in and correct me if i don't have this right. >> okay. i think first of all it's a laos. it's not cambodia.
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this had the honor to visit the site. so i would, i find it's a very beautiful advanced dam, but i would say that laos has objective to develop economic. i mean, to have a good economic development actually to increase their gdp, their income revenue. so if you have in your house, if you have these nine dams that could be built, and you could have a lot of, how you say, income right away, why don't you do that in order to reduce the poverty of their country? if you look at, now you say what would be the incentive for laos not to build a dam in order to -- very simple. give them money.
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are you able to give them money in order for them to, to how to say, to be free from the least developed countries? simple. and also to talk actually, actually when we met in vietnam there was a warsaw in this water use of mekong river water in a sustainable way. anti-say went to vietnam pete come out to say, willing to pay laos a certain amount money for laos not to build a dam? simple, right? the other thing i would say, well, you can come in and build nuclear power plant. they would have this nuclear power plant and maybe they will have another kind of protest, great protest, do not build a
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nuclear power plant. follow japan, followed germany. forget the nuclear power plant. the same game again. but i look at this nuclear, if you look at the hydropower. you know what? laos, it wouldn't go into operation in 2019. do you know what? laos would use only 5% of that 1200 megawatts hydropower plant. 95% would be sold to thailand. ..
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the use or so of the energy, which should be green. that's very progressive, very advanced in the region and by saying that i think that only green energy from laos and laos or should they be green. so, i think that answers your question. >> i say thank you to you. >> another question before jean
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thinks of something else. >> i think i completely change my question after that conversation. i'm with the us department of energy, as it-- office of international affairs and my question is for everyone on the panel. in your respective positions in with your organizations, in what way are you incorporated in climate change and the anticipated change in long-term rainfall either increase or decrease changes into your -- into the planning and development of your system and into the long-term portfolios? >> we are doing it several ways. there is a requirement: international us government must look at climate change impact, so we do it as a country level strategy and as a second point
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we design a given project. there will be an analysis just like for gender issue, for a given project. it could be a health project, agriculture, they will look at climate change and how to we dress it in the mitigated. >> how? >> for example you say in health we look at more impacts from the health where there will be more demand for help systems because of the impact of climate change. in agriculture you are saying well, what are we going to be doing about the drought, long periods, well you will have drought resistant seeds, irrigation. so, each particular project has to look at it and say, what are you trying to accomplish, what impacts you expect. it could be floods, droughts, each example has to look at-- given a country specific example, but it's required

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