On the 7-8 December 2012, MWD joinned the Chiang Khan Short Films Festival organised by Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS). This aimed to present key pressing issues in the Chiang Khan community through the form of short films and to encourage wider public debates.
Chiang Khan District is situated in Loei Province of Northeastern Thailand. It is a small town located by the Mekong river. With the cooler weather in winter, delicious local cusines, beautiful long row of wooden houses, and cultures similar to Luang Prabang of Lao PDR; the town becomes one of the most popular tourist destinations for the Thais in recent years.
Tourism brings different faces of change to this town. While it is obviously boosting the local economic, it challenges the existence of local identity and sustainability. In addition, Chiang Khan is one of hundreds communities in the Mekong where will be impacted by the proposed hydropower development projects. This small town sits between two proposed Mekong mainstream dams: Xayaburi and Pak Chom.
With the initative of Thai PBS and in collaboration with local authorithies, resort and guesthouse operators, NGOs and academic instituions; the public forum and short film screening event were organised. It drew hundreds of people to exchange the ideas, learn about new information of the development of Mekong mainstream shared by MWD and find way to make their city sustainable, as well as to enjoy the short films which were screening at night by the Mekong river.
Although there was not a cconcreted conclusion of how to make the town sustainable, more importantly the information shared in this event inspired further discussions among different stakeholders in the community.
Mekong film screening in Chiang Khan is part of the Asia regional screening. The film is directed and produced by Douglas Varchol and funded by CGIAR Challenge Program for Water and Food, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and the Swedish International Development Agency.
IUCN and Thai PBS has a 3-year MOU to work together to raise public awareness on environmental conservation, communications and capacity building, joint programme production and public campaign.