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Unit for Social and Environmental Research (USER) – Thailand MP

The Unit for Social and Environmental Research (USER) is an interdisciplinary research organization based at the Faculty of Social Sciences at Chiang Mai University in northern Thailand. Researchers at USER work on governance and knowledge systems issues within Thailand and in neighboring countries in the Mekong region. USER help found and now coordinates the Mekong Program on Water Environment and Resilience (M-POWER, www.mpowernet.org) a partnership of about 30 organizations committed to democratizing water governance in the region, especially, through promoting deliberative processes and independent policy analyses.

USER has several years of engagement in, and research about decision-making processes related to water resources development and management in the greater Mekong region. Staff publish widely in international journals and regularly engage in, as well as help convene or facilitate, public events at local and more regional levels aimed at improving water governance.

Key areas of publications have been on the politics of flood related disaster management, scale, river basin management transitions, watershed management and multi-stakeholder dialogues.

Key Staff:
Dr. Louis Lebel
is director of USER and project leader for M-POWER’s work funded under the Challenge Program on Water and Food. Apart from action and scholarly research within the Southeast Asia region he has also contributed to the design and implementation of several international science programs on global environmental change. Dr. Tira Foran is a post-doctoral fellow with expertise on energy planning and hydropower. He also leads the energy and hydropower regional research theme in M-POWER. Mr. John Dore is a researcher at USER with a history of engagement as a participant, facilitator and convenor of multi-stakeholder dialogues on water resources development in the Mekong Region. He chairs the international steering committee that governs M-POWER, and leads the dialogue research component. John is completing a Ph.D. at the Australian National University, Canberra. Ram C. Bastakoti is the M-POWER coordinator, and an irrigation specialist, and in process of completing a Ph.D. at the Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok. Each of these water governance specialists may be asked to contribute to the project in specific areas for short periods as required to complete assigned tasks.