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U4: Corruption and water governance in the Mekong River Basin

The Mekong River Basin is shared between six countries and displays remarkable and globally relevant cultural and biological diversity. Its natural resources are largely governed by systems in which national and transnational corruption prevail. The countries that share the basin all display varying degrees of authoritarianism, which serve to reinforce these corrupt governance systems, and to determine the choice and type of regional cooperation. These governance systems have clear implications for local communities in terms of food security and production, resettlement and ethnicity, gender, migration, and human rights.

This paper focuses on Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Vietnam (CLV), but also pays close attention to China and Thailand, particularly with regard to transnational corruption. It considers corrupt systems in these countries’ governance of the Mekong and its water resources, and how this corruption affects local communities.

The literature review and interviews for this study identified three major regional ‘hydro-corruption’ domains, in which ‘domains’ are understood to be spheres or activity of knowledge. These are not always mutually exclusive, and some domains will be of greater relevance to some countries and less to others.

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Additional Info

Field Value
Document type Analysis, discussion papers, and blogs
Language of document
  • English
  • Anti-corruption
  • Environment and natural resources policy and administration
  • Hydropower dams
  • Infrastructure
  • Renewable energy production
  • Water policy and administration
Geographic area (spatial range)
  • Cambodia
  • China
  • Lao People's Democratic Republic
  • Thailand
  • Viet Nam
Copyright Yes
Access and use constraints

This publication is published by U4, available here: All views in this text are the author(s)’, and may differ from the U4 partner agencies’ policies. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

Version / Edition U4 Issue 2022:12
License Creative Commons Non-Commercial (Any)

U4 is a team of anti-corruption advisers working to share research and evidence to help international development actors get sustainable results. The work involves dialogue, publications,online training, workshops,helpdesk, and innovation. U4 is a permanent centre at the Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI) in Norway. CMI is a non-profit, multi-disciplinary research institute with social scientists specialising in development studies.

Author (individual) Danzig Sopera
Author (corporate) U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre
Co-author (individual) Series editor Saul Mullard
Publication place Norway
Publisher Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI)
Publication date 2022
Pagination 66
General note

Partner agencies: German Corporation for International Cooperation – GIZ German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development – BMZ Global Affairs Canada Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark / Danish International Development Assistance – Danida Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency – Sida Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation – SDC The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation – Norad UK Aid – Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office

Keywords Water governance,environmental governance,Illicit financial flows,Integrity
Date uploaded October 24, 2022, 03:17 (UTC)
Date modified October 24, 2022, 04:13 (UTC)