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MWH, now part of Stantec, shares Chinese overseas investment expertise.

Chinese overseas investment continues to grow, with a number of Chinese state-owned companies – especially hydropower developers – being encouraged by central government to actively seek overseas investment opportunities. Concern about this practice is growing, however; it can lead to environmental and social risks, and some Chinese investors are facing significant losses due to project delays or suspension. The Myitsone dam project in Myanmar is one headline-grabbing example. Seven years after construction began on the Myitsone dam, and five years after it was suspended, the future of the project still hangs in the balance and costly investigations continue.

An approach guided by thorough planning and execution can help address issues before they arise. This is the sort of careful approach required in China to avoid reputation damage, ballooning costs and negative environmental and social impacts.

Experienced team members from MWH, now part of Stantec, were recently invited to discuss this issue at a major seminar on the topic. In support of this event, we shared the following presentations:

  • Introduction of international standards on environmental and social impact assessment
    • (Dr. Luke Long, environmental manager)
  • How to gain social license to operate by managing non-technical risks for overseas hydropower development
    • (Dr. Luke Long, environmental manager)
  • Environmental and social considerations during impact assessment, mitigation plan development and implementation for overseas hydropower projects
    • (Dr. Annie Feng, project manager)
  • Land administration and resettlement management for overseas hydropower projects
    • (Dr Kai Shang, social team manager)
  • Environmental, Health, Safety and Social (EHS&S) management and labor management for overseas hydropower development
    • (Voon-Chai Chin, business development manager)

The seminar hosted in late November was sponsored by the China Society for Hydropower Engineering (CSHE), the Ministry of Environmental Protection, Hohai University, the National Research Center for Resettlement (NRCR), and the National Engineering Research Center of Efficient Utilization and Engineering Safety of Water Resources.