The long-awaited Second Asia-Pacific Water Summit begins today in Chiang Mai. The government and the Chiang Mai International Convention Centre will strive to welcome 1,500 foreign guests from 49 countries, and particularly the nine heads of government.
This extremely interesting international forum will examine issues that will affect tens of millions of people in Thailand, and throughout the region. What a shame, then, that the pre-summit events were so badly marred by Deputy Prime Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi and his "garbage" remarks.
Mr Plodprasop is the head of the Water and Flood Management Committee (WFMC). As the country's top official involved in planning for future threats of flood and drought, he also is in charge of organising the Chiang Mai summit. But he was incensed last weekend when asked about public participation in water management planning. He said groups planning to question or oppose his grandiose WFMC programme are "garbage" and "rubbish". Protesters at the Chiang Mai summit will be jailed, he said.
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