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Md Saidul Islam and Md Nazrul Islam

The Indian government recently resumed the construction of the Tipaimukh Dam on the Barak River just 1 km north of Bangladesh’s north-eastern border. The construction work was stalled in March 2007 in the wake of massive protests from within and outside India. Experts have argued that the Dam, when completed, would cause colossal disasters to Bangladesh and India, with the former being vastly affected: the Dam would virtually dry up the Surma and Kushiara, two important rivers for Bangladesh. Therefore, this controversial Dam project has generated immense public discontents leading to wider mass-movements in Bangladesh, India, and around the world. The movement has taken various forms, ranging from simple protests to a submission of a petition to the United Nations. Drawing on the “environmentalism of the poor” as a conceptual metaphor, the article examines this global movement to show how environmental resistance against the Tipaimukh Dam has transcended national borders and taken on a transnational form by examining such questions as: who is protesting, why, in what ways, and with what effects. In order to elucidate the impending social and ecological impacts, which would potentially disrupt communities in South Asia, the paper offers some pragmatic policy recommendations that also seek to augment social mobility in the region.

M. Anwar Hossen and John R. Wagner

In this paper we focus on the principle of community inclusion in water and ecological resource governance and document the negative impacts of its absence, in Chapra village, Bangladesh, on sustainable development and livelihood security. This community depends heavily on common property resources such as wild plant foods, fish and ‘natural’ crop fertilizers derived from river siltation and other sources. For the vast majority of people in Chapra, these common ecological resources create the ability to effectively match livelihood strategies to the conditions of both dry and rainy seasons. However, this socioecological livelihood pattern is increasingly undermined by the hydropolitics and top–down water management practices that prevail throughout the Ganges–Brahmaputra Basin in Bangladesh. These practices lead to ecosystem failures and ecological resource degradation which in turn cause survival challenges for the marginalized people who constitute the vast majority of the population. In this paper we explicitly seek to answer the question: how might community inclusion in governance processes help protect ecological integrity and common property resources and thereby support an alternative and more sustainable form of development for the region? In order to answer this question we first document the nature of livelihood practices in Chapra, based on 1 year of fieldwork, and then outline the mismatch that now occurs between livelihood practices, ecological characteristics and governance practices. We conclude with the argument that greater community inclusion in governance must be part of the solution to existing problems and we propose specific governance reform measures to facilitate community inclusion.

A. K. M. Firoz Khan, M. G. Mustafa and M. Niamul Naser

Community-based approaches have gained significant attention in inland open water fisheries management in Bangladesh. This article focuses on the challenges and opportunities of the inland open water fishery resources under community-based management approaches. The present study employed management information of waterbodies between 1991 and 2014 across a range of geographical locations and habitats. The study reveals that coordinated management of water bodies is essential given common management issues of waterbodies. Present study also reveals that complexity of different property rights and the diversity of users within individual clusters have had cumulatively adverse effects on fisheries. The study shows that different fisheries management policies promoted by the government of Bangladesh over time to have varied in strength and appropriateness. This study concludes that open water fisheries management through fishers’ community involvement is promising approach in Bangladesh but a variety of socio-economic factors that affect the governance in its implementation.

Mohammad Abul Kawser and Md. Abdus Samad

Soon after the partition of the subcontinent in 1947, India took initiative to construct a barrage on its side of the Ganges and commissioned it in 1975. In the past few decades, many of the 54 Bangladeshi Rivers that originate in India have either been diverted or dammed upstream, inside India. All of these hydro-developmental initiatives have left a profound impact on Bangladesh as it is at the receiving end of the Himalayan fluvial regime. In particular, Bangladesh’s agriculture, fisheries, and human health and wellbeing are reported to have been significantly affected by the disruption of natural water flow in its rivers. The debate over the water sharing issues between India and Bangladesh dates back as early as their birth but the historical developments of the disputes have never been adequately addressed in settling the issues. This paper analyzes the political developments in Bangladesh and India over Farakka issue from historical perspectives. It also reveals the adverse effects of Farakka Barrage on environment in Bangladesh. The aim is to provide policy makers with the insights into historical developments of disputes centred on Farakka Barrage to contribute towards better water governance.

Paul Vinod Khiatani

Recent decades highlight an extraordinary growth of casino gambling all over the world. In the race to build casino-cities, particularly to reap economic and social benefits, most aspirers look to replicate the development models of the most famous casino-cities known to date, Las Vegas and Macao. Countries that have modelled after the aforementioned casino-cities have had mix results of success; e.g., Singapore, which followed Macao, yielded considerable success, while other states of the US which modelled Las Vegas, such as Atlantic City, did not have as much luck. In this respect, the countries adhere to the words of the wise; “Standing on the shoulders of the giants”. Yet, perhaps explaining why no country can really replicate the successful development experiences of Las Vegas and Macao, most countries fail to see beyond the glitz and glamor to recognize the key challenges and opportunities that helped make Las Vegas and Macao; e.g., with respect to the presence of domestic organized crime groups. This paper delves deep into identifying the key actors and circumstances that made the aforementioned cities what they are today, elucidating the integral development strategies used during their formative years. Utilizing a Marxian approach to understanding the state and state-civil society relations, the paper elucidates why no country can really replicate the development models of Las Vegas and Macao without appreciating its socio-political characteristics and the intricate ties between the upperworld and underworld during their formative years. In light of the findings, recommendations are provided for future research and pragmatic endeavours.

Min-Hua Chiang

This article studies the US hegemony with particular focus on its dominant role in East Asia and compares conventional thoughts with different views provided by the two books reviewed. Reich and Lebow considered that American hegemony has started to erode when other nations regained their economic strength and political stability during the postwar decades. Acharya’s main argument is focusing on the decline of the American world order, rather than the decline of the US. Authors from the two books jumped out from the conventional zero-sum game between the rising China and the declining US power and consider other regional players in constructing the world order. However, this article argued that if China was not able to challenge the US power presence, there is no reason to assume the IS power decline. The establishment of the institutionalized network with involvement of several countries would only to strengthen the US dominance, rather than to weaken it.

Charmaine G. Misalucha

International Relations scholarship highlights the differences of the countries in the global south. The postcolonial histories of countries herein give rise to unique experiences that push them to consolidate their states at the soonest time possible even as they are inextricably integrated in an international system that is biased towards the great powers. This double pressure either makes or break a state, and it is this tension that is the focus of the special issue. This concluding article offers a bird’s-eye view of the nuances of the differences of the global south and the problems associated with it. I argue that while the differences may indeed be unique, not seeing beyond those is problematic. In line with this, I first acknowledge the differences the global south represents. I look at how the International Relations concepts of state, rational choice, and the international system are seen as inapplicable to the workings of the global south, and how this “misfit” is detected not only in the dynamics of Philippine foreign policy, but also in its relationships with various regional powers like the United States and China. I then turn to the problems associated with seeing only the differences of the global south. I highlight the concepts of mimicry and hybridity before examining the cases of the Philippines’ labor conditions, human security for migrant workers, and disability-related issues. In all these, caution, mindfulness, and the need for dialogue are therefore called for.

Ava Patricia C. Avila and Justin Goldman

The Philippines and the United States maintain close ties that are grounded in a Mutual Defense Treaty signed in 1951. Security cooperation has been a hallmark despite evolving dynamics in the bilateral relationship, including a US colonial legacy that continues to cast a long shadow for many Filipinos. While contentious politics and domestic limitations present a potential constraint on the upward trajectory of the alliance relationship, there are indications that this expanded engagement can continue beyond the Aquino administration. The paper examines the condition of Philippine forces under President Aquino, the International Peace and Security Plan to pursue a credible external defense capability, the process of security sector reform, and matters pursuing a strong Philippine-US alliance.

John Paul P. Cruz

For more than a century now, the Philippines has been at the forefront of democracy in the Southeast Asian region. Since the early 1990s, the country has sought to institutionalize democratic processes, which aim to meaningfully engage Filipinos in the public and political spheres. In line with its efforts of strengthening its electoral systems, it has also taken a leading role in the region in promoting and protecting the rights of voters with disabilities by becoming one of the first States Parties to ratify the United Nations convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). A key provision of the UNCRPD is affording voters with disabilities the equal opportunity to engage in every electoral process on an equal basis with other abled-bodied voters. However, in spite of recent developments, the Philippines has yet to effectively implement disability-inclusive electoral policies and processes that would not only engage able-bodied Filipino voters but also one of the country’s largest minority community—Filipino voters with disabilities. This paper examines the effectiveness of the Philippine government in ensuring that Filipino voters with disabilities are guaranteed with and are able to exercise their right to suffrage. Using a mixed method approach and the disability convention (DisCo) policy framework, this research evaluates the content of existing legislative measures relating to the country’s electoral system, the corresponding executive and budgetary support to implement electoral laws and policies for Filipino voters with disabilities, the administrative and coordinating capacity of implementing electoral agencies, the prevailing attitude of the society towards Filipino voters with disabilities, and the degree of participation of Filipino voters with disabilities in the development of Philippine electoral laws and policies.