Mekong Extractive Industry Programme

Oxfam in Asia - Mekong Extractive Industry Programme

Oxfam in Asia : Mekong Extractive Industry Programme

We focus on promoting rights-based development and good governance of the extractive sectors, by upholding international standards and practices.

Oil, gas, and mining industries are huge economic drivers in Asia. We cannot end poverty and inequality without putting a stop to unsustainable and harmful practices of extractive industries.

Many of the lands being developed and granted to oil, gas, and mining companies belong to indigenous peoples. In Asia, the level of recognition for indigenous peoples' rights is lacking. In India, Philippines, Nepal, and Cambodia, indigenous peoples face an increasing militarization of conflicts related to the extractive industries. There have been more violent responses to indigenous communities demonstrating for their land or territorial rights. As a result, environmental and land rights activists are becoming victims of violence or intimidation.

Oxfam believes that it is important for governments and companies in Asia to recognise the rights of indigenous groups and communities who depend on land for a living. These people must be fairly consulted and given the chance to protect their livelihoods and defend their rights.

The impact of irresponsible mining on women

In Asia and the rest of the world, women in the affected communities are taking the toll of the injustices caused by irresponsible extractive companies. Damage to environment, particularly water quality and availability are making it difficult for women and girls, who are deemed responsible for collecting water for their families. It is also falls on women to primarily care for their family members who fall sick from pollution caused by irresponsible mining. Women and girls are also vulnerable to domestic violence, sexually transmitted diseases and prostitution, when transient mining workers start residing in their towns. Failing to include women’s perspective on protecting water sources, on health, on education, and on how to give back to their communities is a lost opportunity to improve society.

People's right to sustainable livelihood

Oxfam's goal is to ensure that vulnerable communities affected by mineral mining and national hydrocarbon exploitation will have exercised their right to sustainable livelihood.

Oxfam's Mekong Extractive Industry Programme focuses on building strong networks at grassroots, national and regional levels for influencing extractive industries in the Mekong region. 

Currently, we are working directly with vulnerable communities and CSOs in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. We team up with our regional partners to build alliances and networks for change. The Programme is set to expand and reach more countries in Asia. 

Oxfam's work on Mekong Extractive Industries

Empowering Vulnerable Communities

Oxfam empowers vulnerable groups, especially women and indigenous people in the Mekong, who are at risk of adverse impacts of extractive industries and hydropower development. We give vulnerable communities access to better information. We support them in exercising their right to secure livelihoods, and demanding for companies to practice sustainable use of their lands, forests, fisheries, water and ecosystems.

Linking grassroots indigenous organizations and national civil society organizations to Oxfam’s global network

Oxfam supports indigenous groups by developing civil society organizations (CSOs) spaces that connect them with Oxfam's wider national, regional and global networks. We link CSOs with regional platforms such as Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS), Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), and with other global platforms.

Advocating for inclusive and responsible business in the Extractive Industries 

Oxfam integrates principles of good governance and social accountability in the working processes of the extractives sector. We do this in order for affected communities to be able to exercise their rights to participate, monitor, and hold companies and governments accountable. We also advocate, by calling on extractive industries to comply with international standards and practices, through the Extractive Industry Transperancy Initiative (EITI) and Free Prior Informed and Consent (FPIC), that are both drafted by governments and companies. We support multi-stakeholder dialogues, and acknowledge extractive companies who practice responsible business, both socially and environmentally.

Achieving impacts at scale

Oxfam builds synergies and linkages with our other projects on food security and financing for development, to achieve impact on a larger scale. We work together with Oxfam's People Protecting Their Ecosystems in the Lower Mekong Project, that empowers vulnerable communities, whose livelihoods and food security are being threatened and affected by large mining and hydro power projects in the Lower Mekong. Together, we develop sustainable livelihoods for these communities, by integrating biodiversity conservation and community-based natural resource management.