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Burma’s Environment: People, Problems, Policies

Burma’s Environment: People, Problems, Policies

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This new report is the first ever to take aim at Burma’s environment as a whole. It demonstrates the serious risks facing Burma’s extensive biodiversity and abundant natural resources, and it challenges the direction the country is taking toward increased large-scale resource extraction projects in the oil, gas, hydropower and mining sectors. Further, the report highlights how Burma lacks any meaningful frameworks on environmental protection and sustainable development that would enable citizens to take part in decision-making about their country’s development, despite a recent transition to a military-dominated parliamentary political system.

The report is published by the Burma Environment Working Group, www.bewg.org, a coalition of environmental organizations and activists concerned about the ongoing rapid destruction of Burma’s natural environment. The process of producing the report was facilitated by the Foundation’s project Another Development for Burma.
This new report is the first ever to take aim at Burma’s environment as a whole. It demonstrates the serious risks facing Burma’s extensive biodiversity and abundant natural resources, and it challenges the direction the country is taking toward increased large-scale resource extraction projects in the oil, gas, hydropower and mining sectors. Further, the report highlights how Burma lacks any meaningful frameworks on environmental protection and sustainable development that would enable citizens to take part in decision-making about their country’s development, despite a recent transition to a military-dominated parliamentary political system.

The report is published by the Burma Environment Working Group, www.bewg.org, a coalition of environmental organizations and activists concerned about the ongoing rapid destruction of Burma’s natural environment. The process of producing the report was facilitated by the Foundation’s project Another Development for Burma.

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BURMA’S

ENVIRONMENT:
PEOPLE,
PROBLEMS,
POLICIES
The Burma Environmental Working Group (BEWG)
BURMA’S ENVIRONMENT:
PEOPLE, PROBLEMS, POLICIES
ISBN: 978-974-350-515-7
© Copyright June 2011
Published by:
The Burma Environmental Working Group (BEWG)
Website: www.bewg.org
Printed by:
Wanida Press, Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Tel. 66 53 110503-4
Made in Thailand
© Copyright is reserved by The Burma Environmental Working Group (BEWG)
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY ..................................................................................  08
RECOMMENDATIONS ...................................................................................  10
1.   INTRODUCTION .......................................................................................  13
2.   COUNTRY FACTS ......................................................................................  14
  2.1   DEMOGRAPHY ......................................................................................   14
  2.2   NATURAL RESOURCES ..........................................................................   15
3.   ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS AND POLICIES IN BURMA...................................  17
3.1 nauonal Commlsslon for LnvlronmenLal Añalrs ..................................   18
3.2 LnvlronmenLal Þollcles and Laws .........................................................   19
3.3 lmpacL AssessmenLs ln 8urma .............................................................   19
3.4 LnvlronmenLal Þrovlslons ln Lhe 2008 ConsuLuuon ............................. 20
3.3 nauonal SusLalnable uevelopmenL SLraLegy ........................................   21
3.6 lnLernauonal CommlLmenLs .................................................................   22
3.7 LnvlronmenLallsm ln 8urma .................................................................   26
4.   LAW AND POLICY ON FORESTRY AND AGRICULTURAL LAND ....................  33
4.1 loresLry Laws and Þollcles ....................................................................   33
4.2 Land Laws and Þollcles .........................................................................   36
4.3 Lconomlc developmenL and naLural resources ln 8urma ....................   42
5. THREATS TO ENVIRONMENT AND LIVELIHOODS ........................................  51
3.1 Large uams ...........................................................................................   53
3.2 Cll and Cas LxLracuon ..........................................................................   58
3.3 Mlnlng ..................................................................................................   61
3.4 ueforesLauon .......................................................................................   65
3.3 Large Scale AgrlculLural Concesslons ................................................... 70
3.6 lllegal Wlldllfe 1rade ............................................................................. 80
3.7 CllmaLe Change ....................................................................................   81
6.   CONCLUSION ...........................................................................................  83
Contents
01
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
 
1he 8urma LnvlronmenLal Worklng Croup (8LWC) would llke Lo acknowledge Lhe
conLrlbuuons of Lhe followlng organlzauons and lndlvlduals for Lhelr supporL for Lhe
producuon of Lhe reporL.
AnoLher uevelopmenL for 8urma
lnformauon ConLrlbuuon:
Arakan 8lver neLwork
8urma 8lvers neLwork
LLhnlc CommunlLy uevelopmenL lorum
karen LnvlronmenL Commluee
karennl Lvergreen
?ukl AklmoLo
MarLy 8ergoñen
Clyde lawkes
!eremy Mak
Zao noam
Shwe Myo 1hanL
SLeve 1hompson
nlck veldells
kaLrlna WlnLers
uonors:
uag Pammarsk[öld loundauon
karen LnvlronmenLal and Soclal Acuon neLwork
Many oLher lndlvlduals who cannoL be named gave welcome lnpuL Lo Lhe draûs.
8LWC also appreclaLes Lhe eñorLs of Lhe loresL 8esource LnvlronmenL uevelopmenL and
Conservauon Assoclauon, LcosysLem Conservauon and CommunlLy uevelopmenL lnluauve,
and oLher local, nauonal and lnLernauonal organlzauons LhaL are worklng Lo conserve
8urma's ecosysLems.
About the Burma Environmental Working Group
1he 8urma LnvlronmenLal Worklng Croup (8LWC) brlngs LogeLher 8urma focused eLhnlc
envlronmenLal and soclal organlzauons. Member organlzauons monlLor 8urma developmenL
pollcy and advocaLes for alLernauve developmenL pollcles meeung Lhelr speclñc Lradluonal
and comprehenslve undersLandlng of local susLalnablllLy. 8LWC provldes a forum for member
organlzauons Lo comblne Lhe successes, knowledge, experuse and volces of eLhnlc peoples
ln pursulL of noL [usL local llvellhoods, buL susLalnable and peaceful nauonal, reglonal and
lnLernauonal developmenL pollcy. Members collaboraLe on research, reporung, advocacy
campalgns, capaclLy-bulldlng lnluauves and pollcy formulauon. 8LWC also neLworks wlLh
non-member organlzauons Lo encourage harmony and dlverslLy ln lLs own acuvlues as well
The Burma Environmental Working Group (BEWG)
02
as sLrengLhen democracy and clvll socleLy ln 8urma.
Members of Lhe 8LWC ñrsL came LogeLher ln 2003 Lhrough a semlnar organlzed by Lhe
AnoLher uevelopmenL for 8urma lnluauve (Auf8). 1he Auf8 pro[ecL provldes a plauorm
for pollucal, communlLy and lssue based groups wlLhln Lhe 8urma democracy movemenL
Lo conslder long-Lerm challenges and developmenL alLernauves for Lhe fuLure of 8urma.
unul now, mosL 8LWC acuvlues have been organlzed wlLh supporL from Lhe Auf8 plauorm.
1he followlng organlzauons are members of Lhe 8urma LnvlronmenLal Worklng Croup.
Arakan Oil Watch (AOW), founded ln 2006, ls an lndependenL non-governmenLal organlzauon
LhaL alms Lo proLecL human rlghLs and Lhe envlronmenL from exLracuve lndusLrles ln Arakan
SLaLe and ln 8urma. ACW educaLes añecLed peoples on Lhese lssues, develops and promoLes
oll and gas revenue Lransparency sLandards, and conducLs lnLernauonal advocacy. ACW ls
an acuve core member of Lhe Shwe Cas MovemenL and a member of SouLh LasL Asla Cll
WaLch. Lach monLh ACW publlshes 1he Shwe Cas 8ulleun ln Lngllsh and 8urmese, a
newsleuer coverlng Lhe laLesL developmenLs ln 8urma's oll and naLural gas lndusLry. WebslLe:
www.arakanollwaLch.org
Bridging Rural Integrated Development and Grassroots Empowerment (BRIDGE) works
LogeLher wlLh rural communlues lmpacLed by pollucal and soclo-economlc change ln kachln
sLaLe Lo sLrengLhen Lhelr capaclues Lo manage Lhelr own naLural resources. 88luCL supporLs
Lhelr communlLy-based developmenL acuvlues and bullds collaborauons and parLnershlps
LhaL advocaLe for susLalnable developmenL and fosLer a culLure of peace.
Larthk|ghts Internanona| (LkI) ls a group of acuvlsLs, organlzers, and lawyers wlLh experuse
ln human rlghLs, Lhe envlronmenL, and corporaLe and governmenL accounLablllLy. Slnce
1993, L8l has worked ln 8urma Lo monlLor Lhe lmpacLs of Lhe mlllLary reglme's pollcles and
acuvlues on local populauons and ecosysLems. 1hrough Lhelr Lralnlng program, L8l Lralns
young envlronmenLal acuvlsLs from dlverse eLhnlc backgrounds ln 8urma Lo empower young
leaders wlLh skllls and knowledge Lo work on earLh rlghLs lssues ln Lhelr communlues. ln
addluon, L8l works alongslde añecLed communlLy groups Lo prevenL human rlghLs and
envlronmenLal abuses assoclaLed wlLh large-scale naLural resource pro[ecLs ln 8urma.
WebslLe: www.earLhrlghLs.org
Kachin  Development  Networking  Group  (KDNG),  founded ln 2004,  ls a neLwork of clvll
socleLy groups and developmenL organlzauons ln kachln SLaLe. kunC's purpose ls Lo
eñecuvely work for susLalnable developmenL based on lndlgenous knowledge and culLurally-
approprlaLe envlronmenLal managemenL and conservauon meLhods. kunC works Lo
malnLaln Lhe lnLegrlLy of land and foresL, and empower lndlgenous people by provldlng
awareness on envlronmenL lssues, especlally relaung Lo human rlghLs, envlronmenLal rlghLs
and lndlgenous rlghLs. lL achleves Lhese goals Lhrough Lralnlngs, workshops, research,
documenLauon, and advocacy. WebslLe: www.aksyu.com
1he karen Lnv|ronmenta| and Soc|a| Acnon Network (kLSAN) was esLabllshed ln 2001 as
Lhe ñrsL local communlLy-based organlzauon Lo ralse envlronmenLal awareness among
karen people. kLSAn works Lo empower and educaLe communlues and local lnsuLuuons
Lo revlLallze exlsung lndlgenous knowledge and pracuces for lncreased llvellhood securlLy
BURMA’S ENVIRONMENT: PEOPLE, PROBLEMS, POLICIES
03
ln karen and kachln SLaLes and ln areas along Lhe 1hal-8urmese border. kLSAn sLrlves Lo
bulld up local capaclLles ln foresL and naLural resource managemenL, ralse publlc
envlronmenLal awareness, and supporL communlLy-based developmenL lnluauves. ln
addluon Lo playlng a leadlng role ln envlronmenLal law and pollcy formulauon, kLSAn
advocaLes for envlronmenLal pollcles and developmenL prlorlues LhaL ensure susLalnable
ecologlcal, soclal, culLural, and economlc beneñLs and promoLe gender equlLy. WebslLe:
www.kesan.asla
1he Lahu Nanona| Deve|opment Crgan|zanon (LNDC) was seL up by leadlng Lahu democracy
acuvlsLs ln March 1997 Lo advocaLe for Lhe welfare and well-belng of Lhe Lahu people,
lncludlng Lhe promouon of alLernauves Lo desLrucuve developmenL pro[ecLs and oplum
culuvauon. LnuC seeks Lo proLecL Lhe llvellhoods and lands of Lahu and Akha peoples and
Lo lncrease undersLandlng among Lhe local eLhnlc nauonallues abouL human rlghLs,
democracy, federallsm, communlLy developmenL, and healLh lssues. LnuC also alms Lo
develop unlLy and cooperauon among Lhe Lahu and oLher hlghlanders from Shan SLaLe and
Lo provlde opporLunlues for developmenL of clvlc leadershlp skllls among local groups.
Network for Environmental and Economic Development (NEED) was founded ln March
2006. nLLu ls a nonproñL nCC worklng Lo sLrengLhen 8urmese clvll socleLy so LhaL all Lhe
people of 8urma may beneñL from Lhe pracuce of lndlgenous and hollsuc developmenL
sLraLegles, based on economlcally, envlronmenLally, and soclally susLalnable ldeas. nLLu
concenLraLes on Lhe promouon of envlronmenLal conservauon, susLalnable agrlculLure,
and economlc developmenL ln 8urma. WebslLe: www.need-burma.org 
1he Þa-Ch ¥outh Crgan|zanon (Þ¥C) was seL up ln 1998 sLrlvlng for peace and [usuce
Lhrough empowerlng youLh. Þ?C publlshed Lhe reporL Robbing  the  Future  ln !une 2009
aûer Lwo years of research aL Lhe slLe of 8urma's largesL lron mlne and Lhe ÞangpeL no. 3
SLeel Mlll ln Shan SLaLe. Þ?C conunues Lo monlLor Lhe slLuauon and educaLe communlues
of Lhe envlronmenLal and soclal lmpacLs of Lhls and oLher mlnlng pro[ecLs. WebslLe: www.
pyo-org.blogspoL.com 
Shan Sapawa Lnv|ronmenta| Crgan|zanon (Sapawa) works along Lhe 1hal-8urmese border
and lnslde 8urma Lo promoLe envlronmenLal proLecuon and human rlghLs ln Shan SLaLe,
8urma. Sapawa was esLabllshed ln 2003 by Shan alumnl of LarLh8lghLs School and Lhe Shan
SLaLe School for nauonallues ?ouLh who had become lncreaslngly concerned aL Lhe
envlronmenLal slLuauon ln Shan SLaLe. Sapawa's vlslon ls a [usL and peaceful Shan SLaLe
free of envlronmenLal desLrucuon and explolLauon. 1he mlsslon of Sapawa ls Lo empower
Shan communlues Lo proLecL Lhelr rlghLs and llvellhoods, and preserve Lhelr naLural
resources, and Lo expose Lhe desLrucuon of Lhe envlronmenL and human rlghLs vlolauons
occurrlng ln Shan SLaLe Lo local peoples as well as Lhe lnLernauonal communlLy, ln order Lo
ñnd ways Lo prevenL such vlolauons. WebslLe: shansapawa.org
The Shwe Gas Movement (SGM) ls a non-governmenLal organlzauon campalgnlng agalnsL
Lhe Shwe Cas Þro[ecL and Chlna's 1rans- 8urma Þlpellnes, for Puman 8lghLs, LnvlronmenL
!usuce and revenue Lransparency ln oll and gas secLor. SCM speclallzes ln facL-ñndlng,
Lralnlng grassrooLs and communlLy leaders and advocacy campalgn. lLs members lnclude
Lhe All Arakan SLudenLs and ?ouLhs' Congress, Arakan Cll WaLch and Shwe Cas MovemenL
(lndla) and dedlcaLed acuvlsLs ln 8urma.
The Burma Environmental Working Group (BEWG)
04
Notes to the reader
ln 1989, Lhe governmenL ln 8urma changed Lhe omclal name of Lhe counLry from Lhe unlon
of 8urma Lo Lhe unlon of Myanmar
l
, along wlLh names of clues, dlsLrlcLs, and sLaLes, lncludlng
Lhe names of places menuoned ln Lhls reporL. ln respecL and recognluon of eLhnlc and
lndlgenous people's names for ancesLral lands, however, Lhls reporL uses Lhe hlsLorlcal
names wlLh Lhe excepuon of dlrecL quoLes.
looLnoLes are clarlñcauon polnLs Lo glve Lhe reader more background lnformauon necessary
Lo undersLand a secuon's conLexL. LndnoLes llsL references used.
ln 8urma, several dlñerenL measuremenL sysLems are used, lncludlng Lhe meLrlc sysLem,
Lhe lnLernauonal sysLem, and oLher nauonal and locallzed measuremenLs. 1hls reporL
uLlllzes varlous measuremenL sysLems, alLhough Lhere ls a preference for meLrlc
measuremenLs. Converslons for Lhe mosL common measuremenLs ln Lhe reporL are llsLed
below. numbers have been rounded Lo Lhe Lhree slgnlñcanL dlglLs.
1 acre = 0.403 hecLares
1 hecLare = 2.47 acres
1 kllomeLer = 0.621 mlles
1 mlle = 1.61 kllomeLers
1 square kllomeLer = 100 hecLares = 0.386 square mlles = 247 acres
1 kllogram = 2.21 pounds
1 pound = 0.434 kllograms
1 Lon = 2,000 pounds = 907 kllograms
1 ucol = 0.0163 kllograms = 0.0360 pounds
1 viss = 100 ucals = 1.63 kllogram
8urma's nauonal currency ls Lhe kyaL (MMk). lor reference, equlvalenLs ln Amerlcan dollars
($ uSu) are oûen shown. AlLhough Lhe omclal exchange raLe ls seL aL 6.31 MMk per $1
uSu, Lhe reporL uses Lhe unomclal markeL raLe where economlc Lransacuons are carrled
ouL and ls Lherefore more meanlngful.
$1 uSu = 30 1P8 = approxlmaLely 880 MMk
l
ln 2010 ln Lhe lead up Lo Lhe elecuons, Lhe name was omclally changed Lo Lhe 8epubllc of Lhe unlon of
Myanmar.
BURMA’S ENVIRONMENT: PEOPLE, PROBLEMS, POLICIES
05
Acronyms
AAC Annual Allowable CuL
Au8 Aslan uevelopmenL 8ank
Auf8 AnoLher uevelopmenL for 8urma
ACW Arakan Cll WaLch
ASEAN Assoclauon of SouLheasL Aslan nauons
8AnCA 8lodlverslLy and naLure Conservauon Assoclauon
8LWC 8urma LnvlronmenLal Worklng Croup
88luCL 8rldglng 8ural lnLegraLed uevelopmenL and CrassrooLs LmpowermenL
8SS 8urma Selecuon SysLem
C8C CommunlLy 8ased Crganlzauon
Cu8 Convenuon on 8lologlcal ulverslLy
CÞ8 CommunlsL ÞarLy of 8urma
DAP ueparLmenL of AgrlculLure and Þlannlng
DG ulrecLor Ceneral
DHF uag Pammarsk[öld loundauon
uk8A uemocrauc karen 8uddhlsL Army
DZGD ury Zone Creenlng ueparLmenL
LCCuLv Lconomlcally Þrogresslve LcosysLem uevelopmenL
EIA LnvlronmenLal lmpacL AssessmenL
ERI LarLh8lghLs lnLernauonal
FD loresL ueparLmenL
FREDA loresL 8esource LnvlronmenL uevelopmenL and Conservauon Assoclauon
GA Ceneral Assembly
GEF unlLed nauons Clobal LnvlronmenL laclllLy
GMS CreaLer Mekong Subreglon (deñned by Lhe Au8 as 8urma, 1halland, Lao,
Cambodla, vleLnam, and ?unnan Þrovlnce, Chlna)
ILO lnLernauonal Labor Crganlzauon
INGO lnLernauonal nongovernmenLal Crganlzauon
IUCN World Conservauon unlon (lnLernauonal unlon for Lhe Conservauon of
naLure)
KDNG kachln uevelopmenL neLworklng Croup
KEG karennl Lvergreen
KESAN karen LnvlronmenLal and Soclal Acuon neLwork
The Burma Environmental Working Group (BEWG)
06
KHRG karen Puman 8lghLs Croup
KIA kachln lndependence Army
KIO kachln lndependence Crganlzauon
KNLA karen nauonal Llberauon Army
KNU karen nauonal unlon
KORD karen Crganlzauon of 8ellef and uevelopmenL
k1WC karen 1eacher Worklng Croup
LMC Land ManagemenL Commluee
LNDO Lahu nauonal uevelopmenL Crganlzauon
PYO Þa-Ch ?ouLh Crganlzauon
MoAl MlnlsLry of AgrlculLure and lrrlgauon
MOGE Myanmar Cll and Cas LnLerprlse
MPCE Myanmar Þerennlal Crops LnLerprlse
MTE Myanmar 1lmber LnLerprlse
n8SAÞ nauonal 8lodlverslLy SLraLegy and Acuon Þlan
NCEA nauonal Commlsslon on LnvlronmenLal Añalrs
NDAA nauonal uemocrauc Alllance Army
NDAK new uemocrauc Army - kachln
NEED neLwork for LnvlronmenLal and Lconomlc uevelopmenL
NGO nongovermenLal Crganlzauon
REDD 8educlng Lmlsslons from ueforesLauon and loresL uegradauon
ROAP unLÞ's 8eglonal Cmce for Asla and Lhe Þaclñc
SLRD SeulemenL and Land 8ecords ueparLmenL
SPDC SLaLe Þeace and uevelopmenL Councll
SLORC SLaLe Law and Crder 8esLorauon Councll
SSA-S Shan SLaLe Army - SouLh
TPDC 1ownshlp Þeace and uevelopmenL Councll
UNDP  unlLed nauons uevelopmenL Þrogram
UNEP unlLed nauons LnvlronmenL Þrogram
un-8Luu unlLed nauons Collaborauve Þrogram on 8educlng Lmlsslons from
ueforesLauon and loresL uegradauon ln ueveloplng CounLrles
uWSA unlLed Wa SLaLe Army
WCS World Conservauon SocleLy
BURMA’S ENVIRONMENT: PEOPLE, PROBLEMS, POLICIES
07
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 
8urma has exLenslve blodlverslLy and abundanL naLural resources, whlch have ln recenL
years been LhreaLened by mlllLarlzauon, large-scale resource exLracuon, and lnfrasLrucLure
developmenL. 8urma has some laws and pollcles relaLed Lo proLecung people and Lhe
envlronmenL, buL Lhe counLry lacks Lhe necessary admlnlsLrauve and legal sLrucLures,
sLandards, safeguards and pollucal wlll Lo enforce such provlslons. 1he counLry ls also a
parLy Lo several lnLernauonal Lreaues relaung Lo Lhe envlronmenL, lncludlng Lhose on
proLecuon of blodlverslLy and lndlgenous peoples, wlldllfe, and counLerlng cllmaLe change.
lL ls unclear, however, how Lhe conLenLs of Lhose Lreaues LhaL have been rauñed have been
lncorporaLed lnLo domesuc law.
Many organlzauons are acuve ln 8urma on pro[ecLs and programs relaLed Lo envlronmenLal
proLecuon and susLalnable developmenL. 1hls lncludes a broad range of communlLy-based
organlzauons, grassrooLs organlzauons, nauonal and lnLernauonal nCCs, un agencles, and
church groups boLh based ln governmenL-conLrolled areas of 8urma ('lnslde') and Lhose
based ln Lhe 1hal and Chlnese border reglons ('border groups'). Many organlzauons Lake
Lhe 'Lradluonal' conservauon approach or Lhe rlghLs-based approach or boLh. Crganlzauons
LhaL are uslng a rlghLs-based approach work from a perspecuve of susLalnable developmenL
and llvellhoods and subsequenLly focus on lssues such as food securlLy, land Lenure and
rlghLs, and communlLy developmenL and organlzlng. Conservauon organlzauons Lend Lo
focus speclñcally on envlronmenLal proLecuon, alLhough wlLh varylng sLraLegles Lo achleve
Lhelr common goal. CrganlzaLlons worklng on envlronmenLal lssues also focus on
envlronmenLal awareness, educauon and Lralnlng, pollcy developmenL, advocacy and
neLworklng.
Communlues conunue Lo be excluded from proLecLed foresL areas, LhreaLenlng Lhelr foresL-
based llvellhoods. 1he 1990s and 2000s wlLnessed severe logglng, ñrsL along Lhe 1hal-8urma
border and Lhen along Lhe Chlna border ln norLhern 8urma. AlLhough Lhe logglng rush has
somewhaL subslded along Lhese borders, Lhe governmenL and mlllLary conunue Lo allocaLe
logglng concesslons Lo Chlnese and 8urmese buslness people, lrrespecuve of nauonal and
local laws regulaung susLalnable foresLry pracuces. 1lmber, however, conLrlbuLes much less
Lo CuÞ as oLher resource secLors boom. CommunlLy foresLry ls posluoned Lo challenge Lhe
manner ln whlch umber resources are managed, provldlng some promlslng devoluuon
ll
 
Lrends.
Land Lenure remalns very weak ln 8urma. 1he sLaLe owns all Lhe land and resources ln
8urma, wlLh mosL vlllagers havlng no formal land uLle for Lhelr cusLomary agrlculLural land.
new pollcles have been puL ln place allocaung land concesslons Lo prlvaLe enuues whlch
do noL respecL cusLomary land rlghLs or lnformal land holdlngs. 1here are no safeguards Lo
proLecL farmers from Lhe onslaughL of caplLallsm or mechanlsms Lo help Lhem beneñL.
ConLrol over naLural resources ls a ma[or cause of conßlcL ln eLhnlc areas, where Lhe ma[orlLy
of 8urma's naLural resources remaln. lorelgn dlrecL lnvesLmenL ln 8urma ls concenLraLed
ln energy and exLracuve secLors and oûen resulLs ln mlllLarlzauon and dlsplacemenL. 8ecenLly
ll
a delegauon of auLhorlLy by a cenLral governmenL Lo local governlng unlLs
The Burma Environmental Working Group (BEWG)
08
Lhere has been helghLened lnLeresL from counLrles ln Lhe reglon for more lnvesLmenL
opporLunlues. Clven Lhe lack of sound economlc pollcy and unwllllngness of Lhe sLaLe Lo
reconclle wlLh eLhnlc armed groups, an lncrease ln forelgn lnvesLmenL could have a ma[or
lmpacL on Lhe envlronmenL and communlues llvlng ln Lhese areas.
Whlle Lhey do noL provlde loans, lnLernauonal ñnanclal lnsuLuuons such as Lhe World 8ank
and lnLernauonal MoneLary lund remaln engaged ln 8urma. 1he Aslan uevelopmenL 8ank
ln parucular provldes asslsLance Lhrough varlous channels and faclllLaLes prlvaLe lnvesLmenL.
8urma ls currenLly faclng many LhreaLs Lo Lhe naLural envlronmenL and susLalnable
llvellhoods, such as consLrucuon of large dams, oll and gas exLracuon, mlnlng, deforesLauon,
large-scale agrlculLural concesslons, lllegal wlldllfe Lrade and cllmaLe change. 1he ma[orlLy
of 8urma's lncome comes from selllng oñ naLural resources, lncludlng bllllons of dollars
from gas and hydropower developmenL.  lnvesLmenL comes from counLrles wlLhln Lhe
reglon- mosL slgnlñcanLly Chlna, lndla and 1halland. Malaysla, Slngapore, !apan, vleLnam
and korea are also key lnvesLors looklng Lo lncrease lnvesLmenLs aûer Lhe elecuons. 1hese
resource exLracuve lnvesLmenLs damage Lhe envlronmenL and LhreaLen local resource-based
llvellhoods, parucularly ln eLhnlc areas.
ln order Lo Lake sLeps Lowards ecologlcally and soclally responslble developmenL ln 8urma,
8urma musL have a sound pollcy framework for envlronmenLal proLecuon and susLalnable
developmenL LhaL enables cluzens Lo Lake parL ln declslon maklng abouL Lhelr own
developmenL, and ensures responslble prlvaLe secLor lnvesLmenL. unul Lhen, new forelgn
lnvesLors lnvesung ln energy, exLracuve and planLauon secLors should refraln from lnvesung.
Lxlsung lnvesLors should lmmedlaLely cease all pro[ecL-relaLed work - parucularly ln sensluve
areas LhroughouL 8urma - unul adequaLe safeguards are ln place Lo ensure lnvesLmenL does
noL lead Lo unnecessary desLrucuon of Lhe naLural envlronmenL and local llvellhoods. AL
Lhe same ume, lnLernauonal nCCs and un agencles should ensure people are recognlzed
as key acLors ln Lhelr own developmenL, raLher Lhan passlve reclplenLs of commodlues and
servlces, and clvll socleLy organlzauons should empower communlues LhroughouL 8urma
Lo undersLand Lhelr rlghLs.
BURMA’S ENVIRONMENT: PEOPLE, PROBLEMS, POLICIES
09
RECOMMENDATIONS
To Burma’s Government
LnvlronmenLal pollcy and law musL be based on lnLernauonal laws and sLandards, lncludlng
sLandards for LnvlronmenLal lmpacL AssessmenLs (LlA) and Soclal lmpacL AssessmenLs (SlA).
1he developmenL process musL also lncorporaLe Lhe prlnclple of and lree, Þrlor and lnformed
ConsenL (lÞlC).
Pold open consulLauons wlLh a broad specLrum of sLakeholders ln developlng envlronmenL
laws and pollcles before Lhey are approved, lncludlng esLabllshlng a draûlng commluee
wlLh represenLauves from dlñerenL secLors and eLhnlc groups.
LlA's and SlA's should be draûed ln consulLauon wlLh clvll socleLy (lncludlng eLhnlc groups)
LhaL are ln accordance wlLh lnLernauonal besL pracuce. 1hese assessmenLs musL be
conducLed by lndependenL Lhlrd parues, Lhrough a process LhaL ensures access Lo relevanL
lnformauon, adequaLe paruclpauon of añecLed communlues and publlc hearlngs Lo mlugaLe
Lhe lmpacL of developmenL pro[ecLs on local communlues and Lhe envlronmenL.
uevelop an equlLable beneñL-sharlng sysLem ln all lnfrasLrucLure, exLracuve, energy and
developmenL pro[ecLs.
uevelop laws, pollcles and lnsuLuuons LhaL proLecL communlues and lndlvldual farmers'
llvellhoods and lands from Lhe lmpacLs of openlng new markeLs, especlally from domesuc
and lnLernauonal agrlbuslnesses.
LnacL land laws and pollcles LhaL recognlze and respecL cusLomary land rlghLs, enuLlemenL
and Lenure rlghLs. lor example, 'roLauonal farmlng' should be recognlzed as one Lype of
Lradluonal agrlculLure sysLem ln upland areas.
Abollsh Lhe 1933 Land nauonallzauon AcL and uphold Lhe sull exlsung 1963 Law Safeguardlng
ÞeasanLs 8lghLs Lo ensure farmers' lands and llvellhoods are proLecLed from conñscauon
by law.
8aLlfy core human and envlronmenLal rlghLs LreaLles. uevelop mandaLory laws and
regulauons ln accordance wlLh Lhese lnLernauonal laws and sLandards Lo regulaLe and
monlLor planLauon, energy and exLracuve lndusLrles, lncludlng nauonal prlvaLe companles,
sLaLe owned enLerprlses, and forelgn prlvaLe and sLaLe owned companles operaung ln
8urma.
8especL lndlvldual and communlLy rlghLs ln Lhe process of compulsory acqulsluon of land
ln accordance wlLh lnLernauonal besL pracuce. 1hls lncludes Lhe provlslon of adequaLe
lnformauon, consulLauon, and falr and [usL compensauon or adequaLe alLernauve houslng
and llvellhood prlor Lo evlcuon from Lhe land. uurlng Lhe evlcuon, Lhere musL be no use of
vlolence or dlsproporuonaLe force.
The Burma Environmental Working Group (BEWG)
10
LsLabllsh lndependenL bodles such as a nauonal LnvlronmenLal Commlsslon, nauonal
Puman 8lghLs Commlsslon and Anu-corrupuon unlL wlLh adequaLe budgeL and declslon-
maklng power Lo ensure soclal and envlronmenLal [usuce.
LnacL pollcles LhaL are rlghLs-based, people-cenLered, and pro-poor. 1hls ensures Lhe rlghLs
of local people Lo Lhe susLalnable use and managemenL of Lhelr resources, such as communlLy
foresLry and paymenLs for ecologlcal servlces.
Apply Lhe prlnclples of susLalnable and equlLable developmenL Lo economlc developmenL
Lo make sure pollcles and pracuces are ecologlcally sound, soclally equlLable, economlcally
vlable and culLurally approprlaLe.
To the Private sector and state owned enterprises
Lxlsung forelgn lnvesLors, as well as prlvaLe companles, sLaLe owned enLerprlses and [olnL
venLures wlLhln Lhe counLry musL:
Apply lnLernauonal susLalnable developmenL prlnclples and pracuces (such as lÞlC, ñnanclal
dlsclosure, beneñL sharlng, conducung LlA and SlAs).
ConducL lncluslve and meanlngful LlA and SlAs ln accordance wlLh lnLernauonal besL pracuce
Lhrough a process LhaL ensures access Lo relevanL lnformauon, adequaLe paruclpauon of
añecLed communlues and publlc hearlngs Lo mlugaLe Lhe lmpacL of developmenL pro[ecLs
on local communlues and Lhe envlronmenL.
Ablde by lnLernauonal susLalnable developmenL lnluauves and mechanlsms, such as
guldellnes on susLalnable oll palm developmenL and loresL Law LnforcemenL, Covernance
and 1rade (lLLC1).
Make every eñorL Lo avold lnvolunLary reseulemenL. ln cases where reseulemenL ls
lnevlLable, Lhere should be a clear plan for reseulemenL and compensauon processes for
relocauon, land conñscauon or properLy damage Lo añecLed people as a resulL of large
scale developmenL pro[ecLs lmplemenLed by prlvaLe companles, sLaLe enLerprlses and
governmenL. lorelgn lnvesLors should follow Lhe reseulemenL pollcles of Lhe lnLernauonal
llnance Corporauon.
lmmedlaLely cease all pro[ecL-relaLed work unul adequaLe safeguards are ln place, parucularly
ln sensluve areas LhroughouL 8urma.
lorelgn lnvesLors should refraln from any form of new engagemenL ln Lhe planLauon, energy
and exLracuve secLors ln 8urma unul Lhe people of 8urma can meanlngfully paruclpaLe ln
developmenL declslons, precondluons for responslble lnvesLmenL are ln place, and adverse
lmpacLs can be mlugaLed.
BURMA’S ENVIRONMENT: PEOPLE, PROBLEMS, POLICIES
11
!"#$%&%'#(")%*+,#-./01%203"14#
CSCs worklng boLh lnslde 8urma and on Lhe borders should represenL peoples' vlews ln
advocaung for envlronmenLal law and pollcy developmenL, and monlLor Lhe sLaLe and
prlvaLe companles' buslnesses Lo be ln accord wlLh soclally [usL and envlronmenLally
susLalnable developmenL goals.
!"#51+*.103"10'#67-4#
lnLernauonal nCCs worklng on Lhe envlronmenL musL undersLand Lhe local pollucal and
soclal conLexL (lncludlng Lhe human rlghLs slLuauon), conducL needs assessmenLs lncluslvely,
'do no harm' Lo local people's rlghLs and llvellhoods, and focus on boLh pollcy and pracuce
change Lowards envlronmenLal proLecuon and susLalnable llvellhoods.
!"#86#0/*1)%*4#
un agencles should faclllLaLe real pollcy and pracuce change wlLh meanlngful paruclpauon
of all sLakeholders, and operaLe accordlng Lo Lhe un rlghLs based approach sLaLemenL of
Common undersLandlng, under whlch 'people are recognlzed as key acLors ln Lhelr own
developmenL, raLher Lhan passlve reclplenLs of commodlues and servlces'.
1he un should ensure LhaL Lhe un ueclarauon of Lhe 8lghLs of lndlgenous Þeoples
(parucularly Lhe concepL of lree Þrlor lnformed ConsenL) ls reamrmed ln any 8Luu+
agreemenL, and ensured ln Lhe lmplemenLauon and monlLorlng on 8Luu+.
!"#51+*.103"10'#9%101)%0'#5143+:3"14#
unLll Lhe people of 8urma can meanlngfully parLlclpaLe ln developmenL declslons,
precondluons for responslble lnvesLmenL are ln place, and adverse lmpacLs can be mlugaLed,
Lhen llls should refraln from any form of new engagemenL wlLh 8urma.
lf Lhey do engage, lnLernauonal ñnanclal lnsuLuuons (llls) musL apply Lhelr own envlronmenLal
and soclal safeguard pollcles, follow lnLernauonal llnance Corporauon sLandards and un
lrameworks (le. on communlLy engagemenL and lÞlC).
llls musL make sure LhaL any fuLure nauonal developmenL plan for 8urma ls based on proper
needs assessmenLs and a paruclpaLory consulLauon process whlch ensure LhaL lL meeLs Lhe
lnLeresLs of Lhe people.
The Burma Environmental Working Group (BEWG)
12
1. INTRODUCTION
1hls reporL by Lhe 8urma LnvlronmenLal Worklng Croup alms Lo achleve Lhe followlng maln
ob[ecuves: l) Lo revlew Lhe currenL sLaLe of envlronmenLal proLecuon ln 8urma (lncludlng
domesuc and lnLernauonal pollcles and mechanlsms, and Lhe role of local and lnLernauonal
nCCs and un agencles), ll) Lo hlghllghL key envlronmenLal problems and Lhe lmpacLs on
local people and Lhe envlronmenL and Lo lll) provlde analysls on conßlcL over naLural
resources ln eLhnlc areas before and aûer Lhe elecuons ln 2010.
1he reporL beglns by revlewlng lnLernaLlonal commlLmenLs, domesLlc mechanlsms,
governmenL pollcles on land, foresL and economy (relaLed Lo Lhe resource secLor), and Lhe
role of local and lnLernauonal nCCs based lnslde and ouLslde Lhe counLry worklng ln
envlronmenLal conservauon and llvellhood lmprovemenL. lL Lhen hlghllghLs Lhe LhreaLs Lo
local people and Lhe envlronmenL. lL also provldes recommendauons for pollcles, laws,
lnsuLuuons and mechanlsms LhaL meeL lnLernauonal sLandards ln proLecung Lhe envlronmenL
and communlLy llvellhoods. 8ecommendauons are almed aL pollcy and law makers ln posL
elecuon 8urma, domesuc and forelgn lnvesLors, sLaLe owned companles, lnLernauonal
ñnanclal lnsuLuuons, un agencles, lnLernauonal nCCs and clvll socleLy organlzauons.
1he ldea for Lhls reporL orlglnaLed aL an AnoLher uevelopmenL for 8urma Lhemauc semlnar
ln early 2006 ln Chlang Mal, íovltoomeot 5emloot oo 8otmo. lL was lnlually a response Lo
a reporL enuLled ºlnvesLmenL CpporLunlues for 8lodlverslLy Conservauon ln Myanmar,"
publlshed ln 2003 by 8lrdllfe lnLernauonal, unuÞ-8urma and Crlucal LcosysLems ÞarLnershlp
lund (CLÞl). 1he reporL ouLllnes key blodlverslLy areas, a llsL of LhreaLened specles, and
conservauon corrldors, as well as ldenuñes prlorlues for conservauon lnvesLmenL. lL ls,
however, enurely based on Lhe blophyslcal sclences and Lechnlcal experuse wlLhouL any
menuon of eLhnlc areas and Lhe conßlcL rooLed ln 8urma, mega-developmenL pro[ecLs LhaL
resulL ln mlllLarlzauon, dlsplacemenL, wldespread human rlghLs abuses and envlronmenLal
degradauon, and Lhe role of eLhnlc communlues ln malnLalnlng Lradluonal naLural resource
managemenL sysLems whlch proLecL Lhe envlronmenL.
lL was dlscussed aL Lhe semlnar how conservauon plannlng conunues Lo exclude Lhe peoples
who for cenLurles have llved ln Lhe areas Lo be 'proLecLed', and LhaL ln 8urma large scale
conservaLlon lnlLlaLlves lnvolve engagemenL wlLh Lhe governmenL. 1he approach of
lnLernauonal conservauon organlzauons ls oûen largely an ecologlcally-cenLred conservauon
approach pracuced by Lhe maln aL Lhe expense of any soclal or people-focused concerns,
and ln cerLaln cases llnked Lo human rlghLs abuses and lncreased access Lo conLesLed eLhnlc
LerrlLory. 1hls brlngs lnLo quesuon Lhe real mouvauons of Lhe governmenL ln semng up
large-scale conservauon pro[ecLs. Large-scale envlronmenLal pro[ecLs, parucularly ln eLhnlc
areas, mlghL also mask economlc or mlllLary ob[ecuves for Lhe reglme.
An ldea emerged for a reporL on Lhe sLaLe of envlronmenL from eLhnlc perspecuves LhaL
would puL LogeLher Lhe slLuauon ln eLhnlc areas and demonsLraLe whaL eLhnlc based
envlronmenLal organlzauons based ln 1halland are dolng from a rlghLs based approach. lL
was also declded LhaL Lhe reporL would lnclude Lhe lnLernauonal commlLmenLs LhaL Lhe
governmenL has relaLed Lo Lhe envlronmenL, as well as leglslauon and domesuc mechanlsms
relaLed Lo proLecung Lhe envlronmenL ln llvellhoods. 1he reporL was Lhen spllL lnLo Lwo
BURMA’S ENVIRONMENT: PEOPLE, PROBLEMS, POLICIES
13
parLs, wlLh Lhe flrsL parL publlshed ln 2009 called ºAccesslble AlLernaLlves: LLhnlc
Communlues' ConLrlbuuon Lo Soclal uevelopmenL and LnvlronmenLal Conservauon ln
8urma", whlch speclflcally focuses on Lhe acLlvlLles of eLhnlc based envlronmenLal
organlzauons based ln 1halland.
WlLh Lhe 2010 elecuon loomlng and Lhe economy openlng lL became lmporLanL Lo hlghllghL
bllaLeral resource exLracuon agreemenLs beLween Lhe 8urmese leaders and forelgn
governmenLs and corporauons whlch are havlng, and wlll conunue Lo have, a negauve
lmpacL on communlues and Lhe envlronmenL parucularly ln eLhnlc areas. AL Lhe same ume
a broader dlscusslon was added of domesuc processes LhaL supporL prlvaLe lnvesLmenL and
Lhe lack of adequaLe safeguards for farmers LhroughouL Lhe counLry.
1he 8LWC hopes LhaL Lhe reporL wlll provlde pollcy and pracuce recommendauons for
pollcy makers, lnvesLors, lnLernauonal communlLy and clvll socleLy groups worklng lnslde
and ouLslde Lhe counLry so LhaL Lhey are well lnformed, and LhaL when Lhey lmplemenL a
pro[ecL ln 8urma, Lhey have full awareness of Lhe compllcauons, lmpacLs, and rlghLs of
añecLed communlues.
1he reporL ls relevanL Lo Lhe enure counLry. Many secuons focus more narrowly on eLhnlc
areas of Lhe counLry, whlle several secuons glve more general overvlews of emerglng Lrends
relevanL Lo Lhe whole counLry. llnally, no auenuon ls glven Lo urban-based envlronmenLal
lssues.
2. COUNTRY FACTS
8urma ls a resource-rlch nauon and yeL lL remalns one of Lhe leasL developed nauons on
earLh. 1he laLesL unuÞ's Puman uevelopmenL 8eporL ranked 8urma 132 ouL of 169 on Lhe
Puman uevelopmenL lndex.
lll 1
AL approxlmaLely $433 uSu, per caplLa CuÞ ln 8urma ranks
amongsL Lhe lowesL ln Lhe world and recenL research shows LhaL ºremove neL exporLs from
Lhe equauon and Lhe domesuc economy has been growlng aL a raLe LhaL falls shorL of
populauon growLh-lmplylng LhaL per caplLa CuÞ has been decllnlng ln recenL years".
2
  
2.1 DEMOGRAPHY     
1he absence of dependable daLa and Lhe complexlues ln eLhnlc ldenuLy and classlñcauon
and renders lL dlmculL Lo esumaLe Lhe LoLal populauon of 8urma and vlrLually lmposslble
Lo gauge Lhe exacL makeup of Lhe nauon.
3
1he lasL rellable census was conducLed ln 1931
(Lhe 1983 census was only parual, as numbers from conßlcL areas were noL recorded).
4
uslng
reproducuve and ferullLy healLh surveys, Lhe World PealLh Crganlzauon esumaLes LhaL ln
2003, Lhere were more Lhan 32 mllllon people ln 8urma, whlch had aL Lhe ume a 2°
populauon growLh raLe.
5
8urma ls a mulu-eLhnlc counLry. 1he largesL eLhnlc group, 8urmans,
accounL for approxlmaLed Lwo-Lhlrds of Lhe populace. CLher eLhnlc and lndlgenous peoples
reporLedly comprlse aL leasL 40° of Lhe populauon and llves on 60° of Lhe avallable land.
6
lll
1he Puman uevelopmenL lndex measures developmenL comblnlng lndlcaLors of educauon, llfe expecLancy
and lncome hup://hdr.undp.org/en/sLausucs/hdl/.
The Burma Environmental Working Group (BEWG)
14
1he Shan and karen each consuLuLe approxlmaLely 10 percenL of Lhe populauon, and Lhe
Wa, Chln, Akha, kachln, karennl, Lahu, kokang, 1avoyan, Þa-Ch, naga, Mon, kayan, Arakan,
8ohlngya, Þalaung, lndlan, uanu, and Chlnese each make up no more Lhan ñve percenL of
Lhe populauon.
7
1he ma[orlLy of Lhe counLry's non-8urman eLhnlc groups llve ln Lhe border
reglons.
2.2 NATURAL RESOURCES
Many eLhnlc and lndlgenous peoples ln 8urma are dependenL on naLural resources for Lhelr
llvellhoods and Lradluonally have malnLalned naLural resource managemenL sysLems LhaL
ensure Lhe susLalnablllLy of Lhese naLural resources. ln recenL years, mlllLarlzauon, large-scale
resource exLracuon, and lnfrasLrucLure developmenL are desLroylng Lhe naLural envlronmenL
and LhreaLenlng Lhese local resource managemenL sysLems whlch are sull pracuced ln low
denslLy areas wlLh ample swldden ñelds avallable (see secuon 3 of Lhls reporL). 
2.2.1 Biodiversity
Þrevlously known as Lhe ºlasL fronuer of blodlverslLy ln Asla," 8urma has a seemlngly
unparalleled abundance of anlmal and planL llfe. AlmosL all of Lhe counLry ls locaLed lnslde
Lhe lndo-8urma 8lodlverslLy PoLspoL, one of Lhe world's 34 ºrlchesL and mosL LhreaLened
reservolrs of planL and anlmal llfe" as ldenuñed by Conservauon lnLernauonal.
8
Slnce lL sull
houses a wlde array of planL and anlmal specles already geographlcally exuncL ln nelghborlng
sLaLes, 8urma ls a counLry of parucular concern ln regards Lo blodlverslLy conservauon ln
Lhe SouLheasL Asla reglon.
9
Accordlng Lo a recenL LarLhscan publlcauon, 8urma undoubLedly has ºan excepuonal level
of blologlcal dlverslLy."
10
ln Lerms of fauna, populauons of many crlucally endangered specles
such as Lhe one-horned rhlnoceros and Curney's Þlua can sull be found ln 8urma.
11
1hree
hundred ldenuñed mammals and 7,000 planL specles can be found ln Lhe counLry.
12
8urma
also has 1,027 known blrd specles-Lhe hlghesL blodlverslLy ln blrds of any counLry ln
SouLheasL Asla.
13
lour blrd specles are endemlc, and 19 oLhers are resLrlcLed range blrds.
lv
 
8urma ls also home Lo 423 repule and amphlblan specles, and 330 freshwaLer ñsh.
14
ln
addluon, many ñsh, lnverLebraLes, and planLs sull need Lo be surveyed and classlñed.
2.2.2 Forests
8urma ls home Lo Asla's mosL exLenslve lnLacL Lroplcal foresL ecosysLems. Many dlñerenL
foresL ecosysLems exlsL ln 8urma, lncludlng uelLa mangroves, lowland Lroplcal ralnforesLs
ln 1ennaserlm ulvlslon (1anlnLharyl), Leak foresLs, seml-declduous foresLs furLher norLh,
and sub-alplne ln norLhern kachln SLaLe, among oLhers. ln addluon, 8urma possesses Lhe
world's only remalnlng golden Leak foresLs. Powever, all Lhese foresL sysLems are under
LhreaL. 1he ma[orlLy of closed foresL ls found ln eLhnlc border reglons, especlally karen
SLaLe, karennl SLaLe and 1ennasserlm ulvlslon along Lhe 1halland border, kachln SLaLe along
Lhe ?unnan, Chlna border, Arakan SLaLe along Lhe 8angladesh border, and Sagalng ulvlslon
nexL Lo norLheasL lndla.
lv
8esLrlcLed range blrds have a global breedlng range of less Lhan 30,000 square kllomeLers.
BURMA’S ENVIRONMENT: PEOPLE, PROBLEMS, POLICIES
15
Accordlng Lo Lhe 2006 LnvlronmenLal Þerformance AssessmenL (LÞA) reporL, 39° of 8urma's
foresLs are mlxed declduous, 26° hlll foresLs, 16° evergreen, and 10° dry Lhorny foresLs.
15
 
ulpLerocarp foresLs accounL for 3°, wlLh Lhe remalnlng 4° belong Lo mangroves, beach
and dune, and swamp foresLs.
2.2.3 Coastal Areas
8urma has a 2,832 kllomeLer-long coasLllne exLendlng from Lhe counLry's wesL Lo souLheasL
from Lhe 8ay of 8engal Lo Lhe Andaman Sea. Along Lhls sLreLch, alluvlal ßaLs and shelLered
muddy areas are home Lo mangrove Lrees and shrubs, keysLone specles LhaL noL only serve
as hablLaL Lo crawñsh, shrlmp, crabs, and numerous oLher aquauc anlmals, buL also proLecL
coasLal reglons from Lhe lmpacLs of sLorms and cyclones. 8esldes ñsh and oLher aquauc
foods, communlues collecL non-umber foresL producLs llke wlld frulLs and vegeLables from
mangroves as well. Cñshore lle blodlverse coral reef and seagrass bed marlne ecosysLems,
provldlng coasLal vlllages wlLh an abundanL supply of food.
16
 
2.2.4 Watersheds and Freshwater Sources
8urma has ñve maln rlvers: Lhe lrrawaddy, Lhe Chlndwln, Lhe Salween, Lhe Sluaung, and
Lhe 1enasserlm. Lndangered specles such as Lhe lrrawaddy dolphln and 8lyLh's rlver frog
can be found ln some of Lhese waLerways.
 17
CLher noLable rlvers are Lhe kaladan, whlch
runs from Mlzoram, lndla, Lhrough Chlnland and Arakan,
18
and Lhe Mekong, whlch forms
Lhe border beLween Shan SLaLe and Lao Þu8.
19
8eglonal and lnLernauonal lnvesLors have
Laken nouce of 8urma's plenuful waLer sources, boLh for hydropower poLenual as well as
lrrlgaLed agrlculLure.
 
2.2.5 Oil and Gas
1he ñrsL forelgn lnvesLmenL pro[ecL aûer 1988 when Lhe governmenL began Lo parually
llberallze Lhe economy was Lhe developmenL of Lhe ?adana gas ñeld ln Lhe Andaman Sea
and Lhe consLrucuon of a gas plpellne Lhrough ceaseñre and conßlcL areas ln Mon SLaLe
and 1enasserlm ulvlslon ln easLern 8urma. Slnce Lhe end of 2004, Lhe 8urmese reglme
lnLenslñed Lhe openlng of oll and gas blocks Lo forelgn companles. 1oday Lhere are 49
onshore blocks and 26 oñshore belng explored and/or developed ln 8urma. 8urma's oll
and gas secLor ls assoclaLed wlLh masslve scale human rlghLs abuses and envlronmenLal
degradauon.
ln 2007, Soe MylnL, Lhe ulrecLor-Ceneral of Þlannlng for 8urma's Lnergy MlnlsLry, sLaLed
LhaL Lhe counLry had more Lhan 300 mllllon barrels of onshore oll reserves, wlLh anoLher
100 mllllon oñshore.
20
1haL same year nlne forelgn oll companles were explorlng for new
oll deposlLs, lncreaslng ouLpuL from older ñelds, and auempung Lo resLarL exLracuon on
prevlously shuL down ñelds on 16 onshore blocks.
21
Accordlng Lo Lhe ClA lacLbook, 8urma
has 30 mllllon barrels of proven crude oll reserves as of Lhe sLarL of 2010, maklng lL Lhe
counLry wlLh Lhe 30Lh largesL reserves ln Lhe world.
22
  
ln regards Lo naLural gas, accordlng Lo 8rlush ÞeLroleum's 2010 SLausucal 8evlew of World
Lnergy, aL Lhe end of 2009, 8urma's proven gas reserves sLood aL 20.1 Lrllllon cublc feeL, or
The Burma Environmental Working Group (BEWG)
16
0.37 Lrllllon cublc meLers, roughly 0.3 percenL of Lhe world's LoLal gas reserves.
23
1he ClA
World lacLbook clLes 8urma's gas reserves aL only 283.2 bllllon cublc meLers as of Lhe
beglnnlng of 2010, buL Lhe acLual proven reserves are llkely hlgher Lhan clLed by boLh
sources due Lo recenL onshore gas dlscoverles.
24
SlnCÞLC's 8urma-based [olnL venLure wlLh
Lhe 8urma mlllLary [unLa - 8urma ÞeLroleum Co., LLd. - reporLed Lhe dlscovery of 909 bllllon
cublc feeL of onshore naLural gas ln ÞahLolon ñeld ln CenLral 8urma.
25  26
LxLenslve explorauon
acuvlues are currenLly Laklng place boLh onshore and oñshore, and Lhese undlscovered
reserves, such as Lhe esumaLed 13 Lrllllon cublc feeL of gas ln Lhe oñshore A-2 block, are
seL Lo push 8urma's gas reserve levels even hlgher.
27
ln 2009-10 naLural gas accounLed for
38° of 8urma's exporL earnlngs, wlLh all of Lhe gas golng Lo 1halland.
28
2.2.6 Minerals
8urma has rlch mlneral resource deposlLs lncludlng LungsLen, un, zlnc, sllver, copper, lead,
coal, goal, and lndusLrlal mlnerals.
29
Anumony, llmesLone, and marble deposlLs also doL Lhe
landscape.
30
CemsLones lncludlng dlamonds, rubles, [ade, and sapphlres can also be found
ln 8urma. 8urma ls mosL famous for lLs hlgh quallLy rubles and [adelLe (Lhe mosL expenslve
form of [ade). lL ls hard Lo Lrack small scale gem buslnesses and esumaLe Lhe value of gem
Lrade ln 8urma, however, accordlng Lo lndusLry esumaLes, 8urma accounLs for more Lhan
90 percenL of global Lrade of rubles by value.
31
  
3. ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS AND POLICIES IN BURMA
OVERVIEW
1hough 8urma does have some leglslauon relaLed Lo proLecung people and Lhe envlronmenL,
Lhe counLry lacks Lhe necessary adequaLe admlnlsLrauve and legal sLrucLures, sLandards,
safeguards and pollucal wlll Lo enforce such provlslons. ln addluon, whlle 8urma ls parLy
Lo several lnLernauonal Lreaues such as Lhe Convenuon on 8lologlcal ulverslLy (C8u),
v
8urma
has noL lncorporaLed Lhe provlslons conLalned ln Lhese agreemenLs lnLo domesuc law. lor
example, nauonal laws do noL currenLly requlre envlronmenLal lmpacL assessmenLs (LlA)
or publlc paruclpauon by local communlues ln Lhe declslon-maklng processes of large-scale
developmenL pro[ecLs. 1here are no laws LhaL comprehenslvely regulaLe polluuon, no
sLandards Lo adequaLely proLecL blodlverslLy, develop reseulemenL plans, or provlde
compensauon. 1he lack of envlronmenLal proLecuon leglslauon has leû room for unabaLed
ecologlcal degradauon.
32
1here are, however, Lhe 1993 CommunlLy loresL lnsLrucuons (Cll),
a draûed LnvlronmenLal Law, and Lhe Land Acqulsluon AcL LhaL, lf sysLemaucally enforced,
would lmprove envlronmenLal proLecuon and Lhe land-based rlghLs of local populauons.
1hls secuon revlews Lhe admlnlsLrauve and legal sLrucLures seL up Lo proLecL Lhe envlronmenL,
as well as ongolng acuvlues by Lhe governmenL and clvll socleLy organlzauons based lnslde
and ouLslde 8urma LhaL are lnLended Lo promoLe susLalnable developmenL and envlronmenLal
proLecuon.
v
8urma became a parLy Lo Lhe C8u ln 1994. Arucle 14(1)(a) of Lhe Convenuon requlres an LlA and Arucle
8([) mandaLes lndlgenous paruclpauon where Lhere ls a slgnlñcanL lmpacL on blodlverslLy.
BURMA’S ENVIRONMENT: PEOPLE, PROBLEMS, POLICIES
17
3.1 National Commission for Environmental Affairs
LnvlronmenLal proLecuon ln 8urma generally comes under Lhe auLhorlLy of Lhe nauonal
Commlsslon for LnvlronmenLal Añalrs (nCLA), formed ln 1990.
vl
unul 2003, Lhe MlnlsLer of
lorelgn Añalrs was Lhe chalr of nCLA whlch was a sLrong lndlcauon LhaL Lhe 8urmese
governmenL creaLed Lhe nCLA merely as a Lool Lo wln lnLernauonal approval.
33
ln 2003,
however, Lhe nCLA was Lransferred under Lhe MlnlsLry of loresLry (Mol), and Lhe MlnlsLer
of loresLry assumed Lhe role of Lhe nCLA chalrperson.
1he sLaLed ob[ecuves of Lhe nCLA are Lo seL envlronmenLal sLandards, creaLe envlronmenLal
pollcles for uslng naLural resources, lssue rules and regulauons Lo conLrol polluuon, and
Lo creaLe shorL- and long-Lerm envlronmenLal pollcles whlch balance envlronmenLal needs
and developmenL requlremenLs.
34
Powever, serlous budgeL, sLañ consLralnLs and lack of
leglslauve mandaLe have compromlsed Lhe eñecuveness of Lhe nCLA ln meeung Lhose
ob[ecuves.
35
1he budgeL ls mlnuscule: ln Lhe ñscal year 2004-2003, Lhe nCLA had a budgeL
of only abouL $12,000 uSu (12 mllllon kyaL
36
), and mosL of lL was used Lo pay salarles.
1he nCLA has draûed Lwo envlronmenLal laws: Lhe LnvlronmenLal ÞroLecuon Law and Lhe
LnvlronmenLal lmpacL AssessmenL 8ules, boLh of whlch are pendlng approval by Lhe
governmenL.
37
  
1he nCLA was also Lhe focal polnL for Lhe Myanmar nauonal LnvlronmenLal Þerformance
AssessmenL (LÞA), a reporL done ln collaborauon wlLh several lnLernauonal organlzauons
such as Lhe Aslan uevelopmenL 8ank (Au8), unlLed nauons LnvlronmenLal Þrogramme
(unLÞ), lnsLlLuLe of Clobal LnvlronmenLal SLraLegles, and Lhe naLlonal lnsLlLuLe for
LnvlronmenLal SLudles of !apan. ln 2006 Lhe Myanmar LÞA was publlshed as parL of a
broader program called Lhe nauonal Þerformance AssessmenL and SLraLeglc LnvlronmenL
lramework of CreaLer Mekong Subreglon (CMS), whlch alms Lo promoLe susLalnable
developmenL ln Lhe CMS Lhrough Lhe creauon of nauonal and sub-reglonal envlronmenLal
performance assessmenL sysLems and developmenL of nauonal and sub-reglonal capaclues
for lmplemenung such assessmenLs. 1he Myanmar LÞA provldes some useful basellne daLa
coverlng seven key envlronmenLal concerns, lncludlng foresL resources, blodlverslLy, land
degradauon, managemenL of waLer resources, wasLe managemenL, alr polluuon from
moblle source and cllmaLe change.
 38
Powever, ln Lhe LÞA Lhere ls no menuon of Lhe many
envlronmenLal concerns ln 8urma such as problems assoclaLed wlLh mlne Lalllngs dlsposal,
consLrucuon of large dams, large-scale commerclal agrlculLure, gas-ñeld developmenL, or
plpellne and road consLrucuon. 1he reporL also does noL menuon Lhe Lradluonal naLural
resource managemenL sysLems pracuced by eLhnlc people LhroughouL Lhe counLry.
vl
Powever, respecuve deparLmenLs LhaL are sLaLuLorlly separaLe from Lhe nCLA are responslble for acuLe
envlronmenLal lssues lncludlng foresL degradauon, waLer resource managemenL and susLalnablllLy of
agrlculLure. 1un MylnL, 'LnvlronmenLal Covernance ln Lhe SÞuC's Myanmar' ln Myanmar: 1he sLaLe, communlLy
and Lhe envlronmenL, 1revor Wllson and Monlque Skldmore (eds), AusLrallan nauonal unlverslLy, Anu L Þress
and Asla Þaclñc Þress, 2007.
The Burma Environmental Working Group (BEWG)
18
3.2 Environmental Policies and Laws
A nauonal envlronmenLal pollcy was draûed by Lhe nCLA ln 1994. 1he nauonal LnvlronmenL
Þollcy ls as follows:
1o esLabllsh sound envlronmenL pollcles, uullsauon of waLer, land, foresLs,
mlneral, marlne resources and oLher naLural resources ln order Lo conserve
Lhe envlronmenL and prevenL lLs degradauon, Lhe CovernmenL of Lhe unlon
of Myanmar hereby adopLs Lhe followlng pollcy: 1he wealLh of Lhe nauon ls
lLs people, lLs culLural herlLage, lLs envlronmenL and lLs naLural resources.
1he ob[ecuve of Myanmar's envlronmenLal pollcy ls almed aL achlevlng
harmony and balance beLween Lhese Lhrough Lhe lnLegrauon of envlronmenLal
conslderauons lnLo Lhe developmenL process Lo enhance Lhe quallLy of Lhe
llfe of all lLs cluzens. Lvery nauon has Lhe soverelgn rlghL Lo uullse lLs naLural
resources ln accordance wlLh lLs envlronmenLal pollces, buL greaL care musL
be Laken noL Lo exceed lLs [urlsdlcuon or lnfrlnge upon Lhe lnLeresLs of oLher
nauons. lL ls Lhe responslblllLy of Lhe SLaLe and every cluzen Lo preserve lLs
naLural resources ln Lhe lnLeresLs of presenL and fuLure generaLlons.
LnvlronmenLal proLecuon should always be Lhe prlmary ob[ecuve ln seeklng
developmenL
39
.
1here ls, however, no formal envlronmenLal law or an lnsuLuuonal framework for Lhe
lmplemenLauon of Lhls pollcy. A seL of provlslons abouL envlronmenLal proLecuon was
draûed and re-draûed beLween 1997 and 2000 by Lhe governmenL wlLh Lechnlcal lnpuL
from an envlronmenLal law experL funded by unLÞ,
40
buL lL has noL been made lnLo law
yeL. lf Lhe law ls approved, Lhere wlll be more lnsuLuuonal space Lo regulaLe envlronmenLal
quallLy and conducL LlA's and SlA's for lnfrasLrucLure and lnvesLmenL pro[ecLs funded by
Lhe governmenL and prlvaLe secLor. Powever, lack of pollucal wlll, llmlLed human resources,
and low levels of budgeL allocauon for envlronmenLal proLecuon and conservauon are
ma[or challenges even lf Lhe envlronmenLal law ls ln place Lo lmplemenL.
1he developmenL of Lhe envlronmenLal pollcy was followed by Lhe draûlng of 'Myanmar
Agenda 21' ln 1997, whlch follows a un framework for a mulu-pronged approach Lo
susLalnable developmenL. 1he Myanmar Agenda 21 recognlzes Lhe need for LnvlronmenLal
lmpacL AssessmenLs.
41
Myanmar Agenda 21 calls for lnLegraLed managemenL of naLural
resources and provldes a blueprlnL for achlevlng susLalnable developmenL.
3.3 Impact Assessments in Burma
Cne of Lhe mosL lmporLanL lnLernauonally-accepLed envlronmenLal proLecuon meLhods ls
Lo conducL an envlronmenLal lmpacL assessmenL (LlA) prlor Lo lmplemenung developmenL
pro[ecLs. When done properly, an LlA ldenuñes, predlcLs, evaluaLes, and mlugaLes Lhe
blophyslcal, soclal, and oLher relevanL eñecLs of developmenL proposals prlor Lo ma[or
declslons belng Laken and commlLmenLs made.
42
1he LlA ls supposed Lo provlde approprlaLe
opporLunlues Lo lnform and lnvolve sLakeholders ln a pro[ecL.
vll
 
vll
1he lnLernauonal Assoclauon for lmpacL AssessmenL has guldellnes on Lhe ob[ecuves and prlnclples of an
LlA see hup://www.lala.org/publlcdocumenLs/speclal-publlcauons/Þrlnclples°20of°20lA_web.pdf
BURMA’S ENVIRONMENT: PEOPLE, PROBLEMS, POLICIES
19
ln 8urma, no law requlres an LlA or Soclal lmpacL AssessmenL (SlA)
vlll
 before a developmenL
pro[ecL ls lmplemenLed. Þubllc access Lo governmenL lnformauon ls resLrlcLed, and prlor
approval from agencles ls requlred Lo release lnformauon abouL developmenL pro[ecLs.
43
 
Cngolng developmenL pro[ecLs ln 8urma such as consLrucuon of roads and dams, mlnlng,
logglng, as well as coal, oll, and gas exLracuon do noL have any sLandardlzed measure of
negauve lmpacLs Lo Lhe envlronmenL and Lhe local people, and Lhe lmplemenung agencles
are noL requlred by Lhe laws of 8urma Lo make eñorLs Lo mlugaLe Lhese lmpacLs.
AnecdoLal evldence shows LhaL even on rare occaslons when an LlA ls conducLed ln 8urma,
lL ls noL done Lo meeL Lhe subsLanuve ob[ecuves of a proper LlA. A recenL LlA, supporLed
by a forelgn company, was conducLed by a 8urmese conservauon nCC abouL Lhe consLrucuon
of a hydropower dam ln 8urma, buL Lhe nCC refused Lo lnclude any soclal facLors as
accordlng Lo 8urmese governmenL orders.
44
1he LlA dld noL lmpacL Lhe deslgn of Lhe dam
or sLem Lhe ude of hydropower pro[ecLs ln Lhe counLry.
ln a recenL arucle, an omclal wlLh Lhe MlnlsLry of Mlnes proposed an LlA process for 8urma.
45
 
1he proposed process has several shorLcomlngs. llrsL, Lhe process allows Lhe MlnlsLer for
Lhe LnvlronmenL (currenLly a Lheoreucal posluon as yeL Lhere ls no such mlnlsLry) Lo
deLermlne aL Lhe sLarL, wlLhouL any supporung evldence, LhaL a pro[ecL wlll have ºno lmpacL."
When such a declslon ls Laken, an LlA ls noL requlred. 1hls would provlde an obvlous
loophole ln any rlgorous assessmenL of Lhe poLenual envlronmenLal and soclal lmpacL from
a pro[ecL. lurLhermore, whereas Lhe lnLernauonal good pracuce ls for a Lhlrd parLy Lo
conducL Lhe assessmenL sLudy, under Lhls proposal, Lhe pro[ecL proponenL has Lhe
responslblllLy for preparlng Lhe LlA, whlch provldes an easy mechanlsm Lo hlde or lgnore
slgnlñcanL lmpacLs. llnally, publlc paruclpauon ls noL mandaLory, and occurs Loo laLe ln Lhe
process. lL ls up Lo Lhe governmenL Lo deLermlne lf publlc paruclpauon ls ºrequlred," allowlng
Lhe governmenL Lo avold publlc paruclpauon for conLroverslal pro[ecLs.
AnoLher Lool advocaLed by human rlghLs and oLher clvll socleLy organlzauons ls human
rlghLs lmpacL assessmenLs (P8lAs) Lo assess Lhe lmpacL of governmenL and oLher pollcles
on human rlghLs, l.e. healLh.
46
 
3.4 Environmental Provisions in the 2008 Constitution
under Lhe new 2008 ConsuLuuon, Lhe governmenL ºshall proLecL and conserve Lhe naLural
envlronmenL" (ChapLer 1, Secuon 43).
47
1he nauonal leglslaLure can, buL does noL need
Lo, enacL laws Lo proLecL Lhe envlronmenL and help resLore areas degraded or damaged by
mlnlng and foresLry acuvlues or Lhose LhaL have experlenced desLrucuon of planLs, wlldllfe,
and hablLaL (ChapLer 4, Secuon 96).
48
SLaLe and ulvlslon LeglslaLures also have Lhe power
Lo regulaLe envlronmenLal proLecuon, buL wlLhln Lhe boundarles of leglslauon passed by
Lhe nauonal LeglslaLure (ChapLer 4, Secuon 196).
49
ln addluon, every cluzen has Lhe duLy
vlll
SlAs should cover 'all soclal and culLural consequences Lo human populauons of any publlc or prlvaLe
acuons LhaL alLer Lhe ways ln whlch people llve, work, play, relaLe Lo one anoLher, organlze Lo meeL Lhelr
needs, and generally cope as members of socleLy' and 'culLural lmpacLs lnvolve changes Lo Lhe norms, values,
and bellefs of lndlvlduals LhaL gulde and rauonallze Lhelr cognluon of Lhemselves and Lhelr socleues'8.!.
8urdge and l.vanclay, l., 'Soclal lmpacL assessmenL: a conLrlbuuon
Lo Lhe sLaLe of Lhe arL serles', lmpacL AssessmenL, 1996.
The Burma Environmental Working Group (BEWG)
20
Lo ºasslsL" Lhe governmenL ln carrylng ouL envlronmenLal conservauon (ChapLer 8, Secuon
390).
30
  
WlLh regard Lo envlronmenLal proLecuon, Lhe 2008 ConsuLuuon does noL guaranLee Lo Lhe
people Lhe rlghL Lo a clean and healLhy envlronmenL alLhough many oLher nauonal
consuLuuons provlde such a rlghL.
lx
1he consuLuuon does noL have any clear language on
susLalnable developmenL and recognluon of Lhe rlghLs of clvll socleLy such as freedom of
lnformauon, paruclpauon ln naLural resource managemenL, cusLomary land ownershlp,
lnformauon ln local languages, and equlLable beneñL sharlng.
3.5 National Sustainable Development Strategy
1he nauonal SusLalnable uevelopmenL SLraLegy (nSuS) ls parL of a broader program of Lhe
un SusLalnable uevelopmenL Commlsslon seL up aûer Lhe World SummlL on SusLalnable
uevelopmenL ln 2002. Lvery counLry lncludlng 8urma LhaL slgned Agenda 21
x
aL Lhe LarLh
SummlL ln 8lo ue !anerlo ln1992, agreed Lo develop an nSuS by 2010 ln llne wlLh Lhe
Mlllennlum uevelopmenL Coals (MuCs). unLÞ provlded fundlng for 8urma Lo develop an
nSuS. 1he maln alm of Lhe process was Lo develop an nSuS ln llne wlLh lnLernauonal
sLandards by meeung Lhe MuCs and ensure LhaL envlronmenLal and soclal lmpacLs are
mlugaLed when lmplemenung developmenL pro[ecLs.
 51
1he nCLA ln 8urma Look a lead ln
developlng Lhe sLraLegy ln consulLauon wlLh Lhe governmenL and a small number of nCCs.
8urma's nSuS was publlshed ln AugusL 2009. 1he Lhree goals are susLalnable managemenL
of naLural resources, lnLegraLed economlc developmenL and susLalnable soclal developmenL.
Speclñc sLraLegles are ouLllned under each goal. lor example, Lhe goal for SusLalnable
ManagemenL of naLural 8esources suggesLs sLraLegles for foresL resource managemenL,
susLalnable energy producuon and consumpuon, blodlverslLy conservauon, susLalnable
freshwaLer resources managemenL, susLalnable managemenL of land resources, susLalnable
managemenL for mlneral resources uullzauon, and so on.
52
 
1he nSuS was omclally accepLed by Lhe MlnlsLry of Þlannlng. ln Lheory, lL ls a guldlng
documenL for governmenL mlnlsLrles, deparLmenLs and local auLhorlues, un organlzauons,
and lnLernauonal and local nCCs. 1he maln llmlLauon, however, ls LhaL 8urma lacks
comprehenslve nauonal pollcles on land use, energy and envlronmenL, whlch makes lL
dlmculL Lo lmplemenL Lhe sLraLegles conLalned ln Lhe nSuS. 1here ls also a need Lo consulL
more nCCs ln Lhe process. 1he unlLed nauons LnvlronmenL Þrogram has sLaLed LhaL Lhere
are opporLunlues Lo revlew and furLher develop Lhe sLraLegy ln Lhe fuLure.
53
 
lx
lor example Lhe Þhlllpplnes' ConsuLuuon provldes: º1he SLaLe shall proLecL and advance Lhe rlghL of Lhe
people Lo a balanced and healLhful ecology ln accord wlLh Lhe rhyLhm and harmony of naLure" hup://www.
Langgol.org/envlronmenLal_laws/conex.hLml.
x
Agenda 21 ºls a comprehenslve plan of acuon Lo be Laken globally, nauonally and locally by organlzauons
of Lhe unlLed nauons SysLem, CovernmenLs, and Ma[or Croups ln every area ln whlch human lmpacLs on Lhe
envlronmenL. Agenda 21.. was adopLed by more Lhan 178 CovernmenLs aL Lhe unlLed nauons Conference
on LnvlronmenL and uevelopmenL (unCLu) held ln 8lo de !anerlo, 8razll, 3 Lo 14 !une 1992". hup://www.
un.org/esa/dsd/agenda21/
BURMA’S ENVIRONMENT: PEOPLE, PROBLEMS, POLICIES
21
3.6 International Commitments
8urma has slgned 31 lnLernauonal Lreaues relaLed Lo Lhe envlronmenL (see 1able 1). lL ls
unclear, however, how Lhe conLenLs of Lhose Lreaues have been lncorporaLed lnLo domesuc
law. 8elow ls a more ln-depLh dlscusslon of Lhe mosL slgnlñcanL convenuons ln Lhe conLexL
of envlronmenLal proLecuon ln 8urma Loday.
Table 1 - lnLernauonal and reglonal Lreaues concernlng Lhe envlronmenL Lo whlch 8urma
ls a parLy (ln chronologlcal order)
Name
1 ÞlanL ÞroLecuon AgreemenL for Lhe SouLheasL Asla and Þaclñc 8eglon
2 1reaLy 8annlng nuclear Weapons 1esLs ln Lhe ALmosphere ln CuLer Space and
under WaLer
3 CuLer Space 1reaLy: 1reaLy on Þrlnclples Covernlng Lhe Acuvlues of SLaLes
ln Lhe LxplolLauon and use of CuLer Space lncludlng Lhe Moon and oLher
Celesual 8odles
4 1reaLy on Lhe Þrohlbluon of Lhe LmplacemenL of nuclear Weapons and oLher
Weapons of Mass uesLrucuon on Lhe Sea-8ed and Ccean lloor and ln Lhe
Subsoll Lhere of (Seabed 1reaLy)
5 Convenuon on Lhe Þrohlbluon of Lhe uevelopmenL, Þroducuon and
SLockplllng of 8acLerlologlcal and 1oxln Weapons, and Lhelr uesLrucuon
6 vlenna Convenuon for Lhe ÞroLecuon of Lhe Czone Layer
7 MonLreal ÞroLocol on SubsLances LhaL uepleLe Lhe Czone Layer
8 MA8ÞCL: lnLernauonal Convenuon for Lhe Þrevenuon of Þolluuon from Shlps
9 MA8ÞCL: lnLernauonal Convenuon for Lhe Þrevenuon of Þolluuon from Shlps
as amended 1978
10 AgreemenL on Lhe neLworks of AquaculLure CenLers ln Asla and Lhe Þaclñc 8eglon
11 London AmendmenL Lo Lhe MonLreal ÞroLocol on SubsLances LhaL uepleLe Lhe
Czone Layer
12 unlLed nauons lramework Convenuon on CllmaLe Change (unlCCC)
13 1reaLy on Lhe non-Þrollferauon of nuclear Weapons
14 lCAC: AnnLx 16 Annex Lo Lhe Convenuon on lnLernauonal Clvll Avlauon
LnvlronmenLal ÞroLecuon vol. l, ll, Alrcraû nolse
15 unlLed nauons Convenuon Lo CombaL ueseruñcauon
16 vlenna Convenuon for Lhe ÞroLecuon of Czone Layer
17 MonLreal ÞroLocol on SubsLances LhaL uepleLe Lhe Czone Layer
18 London AmendmenL Lo Lhe MonLreal ÞroLocol
19 Convenuon Concernlng Lhe ÞroLecuon of Lhe World CulLural and naLural PerlLage
20 Convenuon on 8lologlcal ulverslLy (C8u)
The Burma Environmental Working Group (BEWG)
22
Name
21 unlLed nauons Convenuon on Lhe Law of Lhe Sea
22 lnLernauonal 1roplcal 1lmber AgreemenL (l11A)
23 Convenuon on lnLernauonal 1rade ln Lndangered Specles of Wlld launa and
llora (Cl1LS)
24 ASLAn AgreemenL on Lhe Conservauon of naLure and naLural 8esources
25 CaLagena ÞroLocol on 8losafeLy
26 ASLAn AgreemenL on 1ransboundary Paze Þolluuon
27 kyoLo ÞroLocol Lo Lhe unlLed nauons lramework Convenuon on CllmaLe Change
28 Convenuon on Lhe Þrohlbluon of Lhe uevelopmenL, Þroducuon, and
SLockplllng and use of Chemlcal Weapons and on Lhelr uesLrucuon
29 SLockholm Convenuon on ÞerslsLenL Crganlc ÞolluLanLs
30 8amsar Convenuon on WeLlands
31 Copenhagen AmendmenL Lo MonLreal ÞroLocol on SubsLances LhaL depleLe Lhe
Czone Layer
3.6.1 Biodiversity Conservation and Indigenous Peoples
Convention on Biological Diversity 
8urma rauñed Lhe Convenuon on 8lologlcal ulverslLy (C8u) ln 1994. lL ls Lhe ñrsL global
agreemenL on conservauon and susLalnable use of blologlcal dlverslLy.
54
A slgnlñcanL arucle
for lndlgenous people ls Arucle 8[ whlch sLaLes, ºSlgnaLorles musL respecL, preserve, and
promoLe lndlgenous knowledge, lnnovauons, and pracuces relevanL for Lhe conservauon
and susLalnable use of blologlcal dlverslLy."
55
 
xl
uesplLe pollucal consLralnLs Lhe 8urmese governmenL has followed-up on Lhe C8u. 1he
governmenL wroLe all Lhree requlred nauonal blodlverslLy reporLs. ln !anuary 2006 a
Memorandum of undersLandlng (Mou) was slgned wlLh Lhe unlLed nauons LnvlronmenL
Þrogram 8eglonal Cmce of Asla-Þaclñc (unLÞ 8CAÞ) ln 8angkok for lL Lo supporL 8urma's
nCLA wlLh Lhe developmenL of Lhe nauonal 8lodlverslLy SLraLegy Acuon Þlan (n8SAÞ).
56
 
1he n8SAÞ ls parL of a requlremenL of Lhe C8u for slgnaLorles Lo lnLegraLe conservauon
and susLalnable use of blologlcal resources lnLo nauonal declslon maklng, and malnsLream
lssues across all secLors of Lhe nauonal economy and pollcy-maklng framework (Arucles
6(b), 26 and 10(a)).
xll
 
xl
ln Lhe C8u parues are also called on Lo esLabllsh proLecLed areas where speclal measures need Lo be Laken
Lo conserve blologlcal dlverslLy. 1he convenuon provldes LhaL lmporLanL blologlcal resources should be
managed ºwheLher wlLhln or ouLslde proLecLed areas, wlLh a vlew Lo ensurlng Lhelr conservauon and
susLalnable use" (Arucle 8c).
xl
1he C8u also ºproLecL(s) and encourage(s) cusLomary use of blologlcal resources
ln accordance wlLh Lradluonal culLural pracuces LhaL are compauble wlLh conservauon or susLalnable use
requlremenLs" (Arucle 10c).
xll
Arucle 6 creaLes an obllgauon for nauonal blodlverslLy plannlng. lL sLaLes LhaL slgnaLorles should ºdevelop
nauonal sLraLegles, plans or programmes for Lhe conservauon and susLalnable use of blologlcal dlverslLy or
BURMA’S ENVIRONMENT: PEOPLE, PROBLEMS, POLICIES
23
A consulLauon workshop Lo sLarL Lhe n8SAÞ process was organlzed by Lhe loresL ueparLmenL
ln !une 2006 ln 8angoon. ln perhaps Lhe largesL gaLherlng ln 8urma ever regardlng an
envlronmenLal lssue, ouL of 149 lnvlLees, Lhere were 119 paruclpanLs from over 44
organlzauons, governmenL mlnlsLrles and deparLmenLs, unlverslues and lnsuLuLes as well
as represenLauves of lnLernauonal and nauonal nCCs and Lhe prlvaLe secLor.
57
 
AL Lhe meeung lL was declared LhaL Lhe reporL ºlnvesLmenL CpporLunlues for 8lodlverslLy
Conservauon ln Myanmar," publlshed ln 2003 by 8lrdllfe lnLernauonal, unuÞ-8urma and
Crlucal LcosysLems ÞarLnershlp lund (CLÞl), would be used as a basellne documenL for Lhe
n8SAÞ process. 1he reporL ouLllnes key blodlverslLy areas, a llsL of LhreaLened specles, and
conservauon corrldors, as well as ldenuñes prlorlues for conservauon lnvesLmenL for Lhe
nexL ñve years. 1he reporL, however, ls enurely based on Lhe blophyslcal sclences and
Lechnlcal experuse wlLhouL any regard for soclal and culLural value, lndlgenous LerrlLorles,
or Lhe pollucal eLhnlc conßlcL rooLed ln 8urma.
 58
 
8urma has recelved fundlng for Lhe ºsLockLaklng process" ln Lhe formulauon of Lhe n8SAÞ
from Lhe Clobal LnvlronmenL lund (CLl), buL due Lo personnel changes ln Lhe loresLry
ueparLmenL and Lhe lack of a quallñed resource person, Lhe process ls noL golng as fasL as
CLl and unLÞ hoped.
 59
A consulLanL for Lhe n8SAÞ has however been appolnLed from Lhe
nauonal nCC LCCuLv (see secuon 3.7.1).
Moreover, 8urma's n8SAÞ process lLself Lhus far has marglnallzed lndlgenous people's
conLrlbuuon Lo blodlverslLy conservauon. no lndlgenous peoples or envlronmenLal groups
wlLh lndlgenous represenLauon lnslde or based ouLslde of 8urma have been consulLed ln
Lhe process of developlng Lhe n8SAÞ. 1hls ls ln dlrecL conLradlcuon Lo Lhe prlnclples of Lhe
C8u, Lhe n8SAÞ guldellnes and CLl mandaLes.
60
United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
8urma was one of 144 sLaLes LhaL endorsed Lhe unlLed nauons ueclarauon on Lhe 8lghLs
of lndlgenous Þeoples ln SepLember 2007. Lñecuve lmplemenLauon of Lhls human rlghLs
lnsLrumenL would slgnlñcanLly lmprove Lhe slLuauon for lndlgenous people ln 8urma and
LhroughouL Lhe world.
61
Arucle 32 ls abouL lndlgenous Þeoples rlghL Lo lree and Þrlor
lnformed ConsenL (lÞlC): ºSLaLes shall consulL and cooperaLe ln good falLh wlLh Lhe
lndlgenous Þeoples concerned Lhrough Lhelr own represenLauve lnsuLuuons ln order Lo
obLaln lree and Þrlor lnformed ConsenL prlor Lo approval of any pro[ecL añecung Lhelr land
or LerrlLorles". Arucle 10 abouL forclble relocauon of lndlgenous people, and Lhe need for
lÞlC and Arucle 26 abouL land rlghLs are also relevanL arucles for lndlgenous peoples ln
8urma.
xlll
Whlle lL ls applauded LhaL Lhe 8urmese governmenL slgned Lhls LreaLy, lL ls ume
adapL for Lhls purpose exlsung sLraLegles, plans or programmes whlch shall reßecL, lnLer alla, Lhe measures
seL ouL ln Lhls Convenuon relevanL Lo Lhe ConLracung ÞarLy concerned" and ºlnLegraLe, as far as posslble and
as approprlaLe, Lhe conservauon and susLalnable use of blologlcal dlverslLy lnLo relevanL secLoral or cross-
secLoral plans, programmes and pollcles". Arucles 26 and 10(a) are also relevanL calllng for regular nauonal
reporLs and Lhe lnLegrauon of conservauon and blologlcal resources lnLo nauonal declslon maklng.
xlll
  ºlndlgenous peoples shall noL be forclbly removed from Lhelr lands or LerrlLorles. no relocauon shall Lake
place wlLhouL Lhe free, prlor and lnformed consenL of Lhe lndlgenous peoples concerned and aûer agreemenL
on [usL and falr compensauon and, where posslble, wlLh Lhe opuon of reLurn" (Arucle 10), º1. lndlgenous
peoples have Lhe rlghL Lo Lhe lands, LerrlLorles and resources whlch Lhey have Lradluonally owned, occupled
The Burma Environmental Working Group (BEWG)
24
Lhe governmenL sLarL Lo respecL and follow Lhe lndlgenous proLecuon reglmes advocaLed
ln Lhls LreaLy, whlch ls desperaLely needed ln 8urma. 1hls agreemenL ls one sLep forward
ln recognlzlng Lhe rlghLs and responslblllues of lndlgenous peoples and Lhe posluve role Lhey
can - and should - play ln proLecung Lhe envlronmenL, and wlLh lL, Lhelr resource-based
llvellhoods.
International Labor Organization
1he lLC Convenuon 169 also recognlzes Lhe rlghLs of ownershlp and possesslon of peoples
Lradluonally occupylng land (Arucle 14), whlle Lhe rlghLs Lo naLural resources - lncludlng
paruclpauon ln Lhelr use, managemenL and conservauon - are 'speclally safeguarded'
(Arucle 13).
62
 
3.6.2 CITES
8urma ls a slgnaLory Lo Lhe Convenuon on lnLernauonal 1rade ln Lndangered Specles of
Wlld launa and llora (Cl1LS). Cl1LS slgnaLorles, lncludlng 8urma, agree Lo regulaLe or
prohlblL Lrade ln endangered specles or anlmal parLs such as bones, horns, or fur, accordlng
Lo Lhe specles' level of endangermenL llsLed ln Lhe appendlces of Cl1LS.
xlv
  ln 8urma, Lhe
loresL deparLmenL serves as Lhe Cl1LS managemenL auLhorlLy. ln 1994 Lhe ÞroLecuon of
Wlldllfe and Wlld ÞlanLs and Conservauon of naLural Areas Law (SLaLe Law and Crder
8esLorauon Councll Law no. 383/94.1994) was enacLed. 1he law ls supposed Lo be enforced
by Lhe loresLry deparLmenL, and possesslon, sale or exporL of anlmals or Lhelr parLs of
specles covered by Lhls law ls punlshable by a ñne of up Lo 30 000 kyaL ($7680 uSu) and/
or lmprlsonmenL of up Lo seven years.
63
1here ls, however, llule or no enforcemenL of Cl1LS
regulauons ln 8urma. Lndangered specles can be found ln markeLs LhroughouL 8urma,
wlLh much of Lhe demand comlng from Chlna, and more recenLly vleLnam.
64
 
65
(See secuon
3.7).
3.6.3 Climate Change 
8urma has been recelvlng funds from CLl Lo lmplemenL Lwo pro[ecLs: a Þro[ecL for lnlual
nauonal Communlcauon (lnC) under unlCCC and a nauonal Acuon Þlan for AdapLauon
(nAÞA). 1he lnC ls Lo lmplemenL Arucle 6 of Lhe unlCCC
xv
. 1he currenL lnC pro[ecL ls a
sLockLaklng exerclse for analyzlng levels of greenhouse gas emlsslon, cllmaLe change
scenarlos, assoclaLed rlsks and vulnerablllues, poLenual measures and Lechnology Lransfer
for mlugaung cllmaLe change and Lhe degree of publlc awareness on cllmaLe change lssues.
nAÞA ls a process under Lhe unlLed nauons lramework Convenuon on CllmaLe Change
(unlCCC) for LeasL ueveloped CounLrles such as 8urma Lo ºLo ldenufy prlorlLy acuvlues
or oLherwlse used or acqulred. 2. lndlgenous peoples have Lhe rlghL Lo own, use, develop and conLrol Lhe
lands, LerrlLorles and resources LhaL Lhey possess by reason of Lradluonal ownershlp or oLher Lradluonal
occupauon or use, as well as Lhose whlch Lhey have oLherwlse acqulred. 3. SLaLes shall glve legal recognluon
and proLecuon Lo Lhese lands, LerrlLorles and resources. Such recognluon shall be conducLed wlLh due respecL
Lo Lhe cusLoms, Lradluons and land Lenure sysLems of Lhe lndlgenous peoples concerned." (Arucle 26). lor
full LexL see hup://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpñl/en/drlp.hLml.
xlv
1here are Lhree appendlces Lo Cl1LS LhaL are llsLs of specles Lo be regulaLed.
xv
Arucle 6 ls for educauon, Lralnlng and publlc awareness. See hup://unfccc.lnL/essenual_background/
convenuon/background/lLems/1366.php
BURMA’S ENVIRONMENT: PEOPLE, PROBLEMS, POLICIES
25
LhaL respond Lo Lhelr urgenL and lmmedlaLe needs Lo adapL Lo cllmaLe change - Lhose for
whlch furLher delay would lncrease vulnerablllLy and/or cosLs aL a laLer sLage".
 66
1he nAÞA
pro[ecL ln 8urma ls focuslng on preparlng nauonal secLoral and mulu secLoral acuvlues Lo
bulld adapuve capaclues aL nauonal and local level for faclng cllmaLe change rlsks. 8urma
ls earmarked for fundlng of approxlmaLely $uS 16 mllllon under CLl's 2010 Lo 2014 program
cycle (namely CLl3's SysLem of 1ransparenL Allocauon of 8esources (S1A8)). Powever,
8urma's access Lo funds from CLl3 ls conñned by Lhe need ln co-fundlng up Lo 40 Lo 60°
of Lhe LoLal budgeL whlch ls llmlLed by WesLern sancuons pollcles. neverLheless, auempLs
have been made lnslde 8urma for formauon of new auLhorlLy focuslng on cllmaLe change
and envlronmenLal mauers, lncludlng envlronmenLal acuvlues llnked wlLh global movemenLs
and lnluauves. AL presenL, LCCuLv ls also servlng as Leam leader of Lhe CLl funded pro[ecL
for nauonal communlcauon under unlLed nauons lramework Convenuon on CllmaLe Change
ln order Lo lmplemenL Lhe Arucle 6 of Lhe convenuon whlch ls Lo promoLe educauon, Lralnlng
and publlc awareness on cllmaLe change, and Lhe execuuve dlrecLor ls Lhe nauonal consulLanL
for Lhe nauonal SLraLegy and Acuon Þlan on 8lodlverslLy conservauon (n8SAÞ).
ln 2010 Lhe 8urmese governmenL expressed lnLeresL ln a un collaborauve lnluauve on
8educlng Lmlsslons from ueforesLauon and loresL uegradauon (8Luu), now referred Lo as
8Luu+.
xvl
 
67
Powever, lL was muLually agreed LhaL due Lo concerns over Lhe posslblllLy of
opposluon from some members of Lhe un-8Luu Þollcy 8oard, Lhey would noL formally
proceed wlLh an appllcaLlon Lo [oln aL Lhls Llme. un-8Luu ls currenLly supporLlng
represenLauves from clvll socleLy organlzauons from 8urma Lo auend Lralnlngs ln 8Luu
º8eadlness" such as a Lralnlng ln free and prlor lnformed consenL ln vleLnam. ln november
2010, Lwo MlnlsLry of loresLry omclals and a unuÞ omclal auended a workshop for reglonal
acLors ln 8angkok. 1he workshop served Lo exchange lessons learned and experlences ln
preparlng for 8Luu+.
3.7 Environmentalism in Burma 
Note. Mooy qtoops ooJ loJlvlJools loslJe ote ocuvely wotkloq oo o tooqe of eovltoomeotol
ooJ llvellbooJ-boseJ lssoes loslJe 8otmo. 1belt wotk ooJ sofety coolJ be jeopotJlzeJ by
beloq lJeoufeJ, so ooly qtoops wltb o blqb pobllc ptofle ot websltes wlll be meouooeJ. lot
otbets, tbelt wotk wlll be JlscosseJ wltboot lJeoufyloq tbelt otqoolzouoo.
ln dlscusslng Lhe acuvlues of organlzauons worklng on envlronmenLal and llvellhood-based
lssues boLh based ln governmenL-conLrolled areas of 8urma ('lnslde') and Lhose based ln
Lhe 1hal and Chlnese border reglons ('border groups'), Lhere are Lwo approaches: Lhe
'Lradluonal' conservauon approach and Lhe rlghLs-based approach. Crganlzauons LhaL are
uslng a rlghLs-based approach work from a perspecuve of susLalnable developmenL and
llvellhoods and subsequenLly focus on lssues such as food securlLy, land Lenure and rlghLs,
and communlLy developmenL and organlzlng. Conservauon organlzauons Lend Lo focus
speclñcally on envlronmenLal proLecuon, alLhough wlLh varylng approaches Lo achleve Lhelr
xvl
º8educlng Lmlsslons from ueforesLauon and loresL uegradauon (8Luu) ls an eñorL Lo creaLe a ñnanclal
value for Lhe carbon sLored ln foresLs, oñerlng lncenuves for developlng counLrles Lo reduce emlsslons from
foresLed lands and lnvesL ln low-carbon paLhs Lo susLalnable developmenL. º8Luu+" goes beyond deforesLauon
and foresL degradauon, and lncludes Lhe role of conservauon, susLalnable managemenL of foresLs and
enhancemenL of foresL carbon sLocks". See hup://www.un-redd.org/AbouL8Luu/Labld/382/uefaulL.aspx
The Burma Environmental Working Group (BEWG)
26
common goal. Crganlzauons worklng on envlronmenLal lssues also focus on envlronmenLal
awareness, educauon and Lralnlng, pollcy developmenL, advocacy and neLworklng.
3.7.1 Organizations based inside Burma
1he space for engaglng on envlronmenLal lssues - broadly deñned - ln 8urma has opened
up conslderably over Lhe pasL decade, wlLh a growlng number of lnLernauonal, nauonal
and grassrooLs organlzauons now operaung ln dlñerenL parLs of Lhe counLry on a wlde
range of relaLed pro[ecLs. A broad array of organlzauons are worklng on whaL can be
consldered "envlronmenL" lssues, such as conservauon, llvellhood developmenL, agrlculLural
commodlLy chalns, farmer-Lo-farmer schools, smallholder planLauon developmenL, land
Lenure and food securlLy, communlLy foresLry, and foresL resLorauon LhroughouL governmenL-
conLrolled areas ln 8urma, and ln a few cases, areas conLrolled by eLhnlc pollucal groups.
1here are currenLly approxlmaLely 40 lnLernauonal nCCs worklng on ºenvlronmenL lssues"
LhroughouL Lhe counLry lncludlng agrlculLure, horuculLure, ñsherles, lncome generauon,
lnLegraLed farmlng sysLems, agro-foresLry, food securlLy, wlldllfe conservauon, blodlverslLy
conservauon, envlronmenLal educauon and waLer and sanlLauon lnluauves.
68
1hls number
does noL lnclude Lhe exLenslve number of churches, communlLy-based organlzauons (C8C),
and nauonal and grassrooLs organlzauons worklng on Lhese lssues.
8urmese envlronmenLal organlzauons have been lmplemenung ºenvlronmenLal" acuvlues aL
local and nauonal levels for up Lo a decade now, uslng boLh Lradluonal conservauon approaches
as well as rlghLs-based approaches. Cne such organlzauon, loresL 8esource LnvlronmenL
uevelopmenL and Conservauon Assoclauon (l8LuA), ls omclally reglsLered wlLh Lhe governmenL
Lo lmplemenL an exLenslve program on foresL conservauon and resLorauon, galnlng promlnence
over Lhe years Lo become Lhe counLry's mosL recognlzed conservauon nCC. l8LuA employs
a Lradluonal conservauon model buL wlLh lncreaslngly communlLy-orlenLed approaches.
l8LuA focuses mosLly on communlLy reforesLauon, especlally mangroves, and agro- and
aqua-foresLry ln Lhe lrrawaddy delLa. l8LuA has works wlLh Lhe lu on lnLernauonal susLalnable
foresLry lnluauves, as well as umber ceruñcauon mechanlsms for Lhe counLry. 8ecenLly l8LuA
has been lnvolved ln an LnvlronmenL SLeerlng Commluee wlLh Lhe governmenL, unuÞ and
unLÞ Lo supporL local lnluauves around lnle Lake where Lhere ls a growlng awareness of Lhe
eñecL of chemlcal ferullzers, pesucldes and herblcldes on llvellhoods and local ecosysLems.
69
 
8AnCA, a 8urmese conservauon nCC, was esLabllshed ln 8angoon ln mld-2000s as a local
parLner for 8lrdllfe lnLernauonal Lo address blrd and hablLaL conservauon ln 8urma. 8AnCA
has lnluaLed many conservauon pro[ecLs ln dlñerenL parLs of Lhe counLry, as well as conducLed
exLenslve ln-depLh ecologlcal research wlLh a Leam of 8urmese sclenusLs ln areas rlch ln
blodlverslLy Lo ldenufy crlucal hablLaL for proLecuon.
Several oLher 8urmese nCCs operaLe ln Lhe counLry wlLh head omces ln 8angoon, mosLly
worklng on foresL conservauon and resLorauon. MosL of Lhem are headed by former hlgh-
level foresLry omclals, and use a more Lradluonal conservauon approach buL lncreaslngly
wlLh communlLy-based approaches. 1hese organlzauons focus on mangrove reforesLauon
ln Lhe delLa reglon aûer Cyclone nargls sLruck ln 2008, greenlng Lhe CenLral ury Zone, and
communlLy foresLry lnluauves LhroughouL Lhe counLry. Many 8urmese nCCs focus Lhelr
eñorLs on local llvellhoods and communlLy empowermenL.
BURMA’S ENVIRONMENT: PEOPLE, PROBLEMS, POLICIES
27
ºLCCuLv whlch sLands for 'economlcally progresslve ecosysLem developmenL' ls a group
of Myanmar developmenL professlonals, lnLellecLuals and soclal enLrepreneurs".
70
lL ls
reglsLered under Lhe Myanmar ÞarLnershlp AcL and Lhe Myanmar Company AcL. 1he mlsslon
of LCCuLv ls Lo neLwork for prlvaLe publlc parLnershlps ln order Lo reallze lLs vlslon of
ºÞrlvaLe SecLor Led SusLalnable uevelopmenL" ln 8urma and beyond. All of lLs developmenL
programs focus on nurLurlng ºPealLhler LnvlronmenL" by a ºSLronger SocleLy" wlLh
º8esponslble 8uslness lnvesLmenL" Lhrough ºSLraLeglc ÞarLnershlp uevelopmenL". As parL
of lLs auempL Lo promoLe envlronmenLal governance ln Myanmar, LCCuLv has underLaken
number of lnluauves whlch lnclude Lhe developmenL of Lhe process of Lhe LnvlronmenLal
Þerformance AssessmenL a reporL commlssloned by unLÞ Lhe Au8, publlshed ln 2006 (see
secuon 3.1), Lhe empowermenL of grassrooLs communlues Lo secure land Lenure and
resource-use rlghLs of communlues Lhrough communlLy foresLry, and evldence based
research for eñecuve advocacy. LCCuLv Lakes key posluons ln clvll socleLy neLworks lncludlng
Lhe lood SecurlLy Worklng Croup, Mangrove LnvlronmenL and 8ehablllLauon neLwork and
kachln SLaLe Conservauon Croup. AL presenL, LCCuLv ls also servlng as Leam leader for Lhe
lnC pro[ecL (see secuon 3.6.3), and Lhe execuuve dlrecLor ls Lhe nauonal consulLanL for Lhe
n8SAÞ (see secuon 3.6.1).
1he MeLLa uevelopmenL loundaLlon (MeLLa) ls an nCC esLabllshed ln 1998 Lo
asslsL communlLles recoverlng from Lhe devasLaLlng consequences of confllcL and
humanlLarlan emergency. Meua works ln 10 sLaLes and reglons on a wlde range of pro[ecLs
almed Lo enhance land Lenure and food securlLy, faclllLaLe farmer-Lo-farmer ñeld schools,
encourage Lhe esLabllshmenL of communlLy foresLs, and oLher susLalnable communlLy-based
pro[ecLs. Meua bases lLs work on a communlLy empowermenL model by worklng closely
wlLh communlues over a long Lerm, galnlng Lhem respecL from Lhelr colleagues.
Shalom loundauon (nyeln) was esLabllshed ln 2000 lnluaLed by kachln rellglous leader and
lnvolved by rellglous and clvll socleLy leaders from varlous eLhnlc sLaLes and Lhe wlder
8urmese communlLy. lL alms Lo work on peace and developmenL lnluauves ln kachln SLaLe
aûer Lhe cease-ñre process, whlch has now evolved lnLo faclllLaung llvellhood developmenL
pro[ecLs such as communlLy foresLry, communlLy-based research, peace-bulldlng Lralnlngs,
and consLrucuve dlalogue amongsL dlñerenL parues. Shalom works closely wlLh kachln
communlues, and Lhe wlder communlLy on lssues perLalnlng Lo peace, conßlcL, and
susLalnable developmenL.
8esldes 8urmese conservauon and llvellhood developmenL nCCs, Lhere are also many
lnLernauonal nCCs worklng on slmllar lssues, wlLh head omces ln 8angoon and ln some
cases branch omces ln provlnclal caplLals ln sLaLes/dlvlslons where Lhey operaLe pro[ecLs.
MosL of Lhese organlzauons work from a rlghLs-based approach. Some of Lhe more acuve
organlzauons lnclude World Concern, C8L1, ueuLsche WelLhunger Pllfe (uWPP, formerly
Cerman Agro Acuon or CAA), AdvenusL uevelopmenL and 8ellef Agency (Au8A), SwlssAld,
Save Lhe Chlldren, Cxfam (C8), CA8L, MercyCorps, uanlsh Church Ald (uCA), Consoruum
of uuLch nCCs (Cun), Acuon conLra la falm (ACl) and AcuonAld. Whlle Lhey operaLe
dlñerenLly and lnvesL Lhelr resources ln dlñerenL pro[ecLs across Lhe counLry (alLhough
mosLly ln eLhnlc areas and Lhe lrrawaddy delLa aûer Cyclone nargls), Lhey all seem Lo share
a common goal: lmprovlng local llvellhoods.
The Burma Environmental Working Group (BEWG)
28
AlLhough Lo a lesser exLenL, some lnLernauonal nCCs wlLh omces ln 8angoon work from
a more Lradluonal conservauon approach, mosL promlnenLly Wlldllfe Conservauon SocleLy
(WCS) whlch ls responslble for semng up several proLecLed areas ln Lhe counLry, Lhe besL-
known belng Lhe Pugawng valley 1lger 8eserve ln kachln SLaLe. Some smaller lnLernauonal
conservauon organlzauons also operaLe a few pro[ecLs ln Lhe counLry, buL wlLhouL omces
ln 8angoon.
As a reßecuon of growlng sLrengLh and popularlLy, envlronmenLal organlzauons are
lncreaslngly comlng LogeLher as neLworks Lo fosLer lnLer-organlzauonal cooperauon and
solldarlLy. 1he lood SecurlLy Worklng Croup (lSWC) ls one such neLwork LhaL slnce 2003
has broughL LogeLher 8urmese and lnLernauonal organlzauons LhaL work on llvellhood
developmenL pro[ecLs LhaL dlrecLly relaLe Lo food securlLy lssues ln 8urma. 1hey work on
collaborauve research pro[ecLs such as gender and agrlculLure, upland land Lenure, farmer-
led agrlculLure Lralnlngs, and communlLy foresLry. ln 2010 lSWC publlshed a brleñng
documenL on Lhe upland land Lenure securlLy slLuauon ln Lhe uplands of 8urma, whlch
broughL LogeLher a dlverse collecuon of people from prlvaLe, non-proñL, and governmenL
secLors Lo dlscuss upland food lnsecurlLy and land Lenure reform.
Aûer nargls a new neLwork called Mangrove LnvlronmenL 8esearch neLwork (ML8n)
composed of 17 local nCCs was formed Lo co-ordlnaLe Lhese eñorLs wlLh a focus on
aquaforesLry. 1he neLwork focuses on conservauon and llvellhood lmprovemenL lnluauves.
Acuvlues lnclude reforesLauon, awareness Lo farmers and ñsherman abouL over use of
chemlcals, blodlverslLy conservauon, local organlzauonal developmenL, and alllance bulldlng
wlLh oLher key sLakeholders for local economlc developmenL lnluauves.
ln addluon Lo Lhese esLabllshed 8urmese organlzauons, a handful of dedlcaLed 8urmese
(and Lo a lesser exLenL forelgn) envlronmenLallsLs and soclal workers collaboraLe wlLh
8urmese organlzauons, uslng Lhelr experuse and connecuons Lo help lmplemenL pro[ecLs,
elLher as pald consulLanLs or volunLeers. 1here are also lndlvlduals and Leams of 8urmese
(and some forelgn) researchers worklng wlLh organlzauons Lo conducL surveys and lnLervlews
Lo quanufy and quallfy ecologlcal and llvellhood degradauon ln Lhe counLry, wlLhouL whose
work nCCs ln 8urma and Lhe lnLernauonal communlLy would noL undersLand as well Lhe
sLaLe of Lhe envlronmenL ln Lhe counLry. llnally lL ls lmporLanL Lo recognlze Lhe commlLmenL
from rellglous organlzauons and lndlvlduals (8uddhlsL Sangha and monks as well as Chrlsuan
churches and pasLors) LhaL address envlronmenLal lssues ln Lhelr local communlues. LlLher
Lhrough explalnlng how Lhe rellglon holds Lhe earLh and all lLs llfe sacred or Lhrough
moblllzlng Lhe communlLy Lo carryouL envlronmenL-relaLed pro[ecLs ln Lhelr area, rellglon
plays an lmporLanL yeL oûen neglecLed aspecL of envlronmenLallsm ln 8urma Loday.
Whlle mosL of Lhese organlzauons do admlnlsLrauve work from Lhelr maln omce ln 8angoon
and lmplemenL pro[ecLs from Lhelr provlnclal omces ln governmenL-conLrolled LerrlLorles,
a few organlzauons also provlde local rellef and communlLy developmenL ln non-governmenL
conLrolled border LerrlLorles. 1hese organlzauons are elLher based ln 8urma on Lhe Chlna
border, or as ls Lhe case for one, based ln kunmlng wlLh access Lo 8urma border communlues,
or lmplemenL pro[ecLs on Lhe border from Lhelr provlnclal omces. Powever, mosL of Lhe
work for communlues caughL ln Lhe crossñre from decades of on-golng war and conßlcL ls
addressed by groups based ln 1halland (see secuon 3.7.3).
BURMA’S ENVIRONMENT: PEOPLE, PROBLEMS, POLICIES
29
3.7.2 UN Interventions on Environmental Protection 
unuÞ has been worklng ln 8urma slnce 1994. 1hey currenLly work ln 60 Lownshlps across
Lhe counLry. unuÞ's lnluauves ºLargeL Lhe mosL vulnerable communlues and work Lo
lmprove opporLunlues for susLalnable llvellhoods"
71
ln areas of ºfood securlLy, prlmary
healLh care, envlronmenL, Plv/AluS, and Lralnlng and educauon".
72
AlLhough unLÞ does noL have an omce ln 8angoon, Lhey do collaboraLe on varlous un-
8urma pro[ecLs LhaL fall wlLhln lLs mandaLe. 1hey are also becomlng more acuve ln Lhe
counLry and are looklng Lo employ a parL-ume sLañ based aL Lhe unPA8l1A1 omce ln
8angoon ln 2011.
73
As menuoned, lLs acuvlues ln Lhe pasL lnclude lnvolvemenL ln Lhe
LnvlronmenLal Þerformance AssessmenL, nauonal 8lodlverslLy SLraLegy Acuon Þlan (n8SAÞ),
provldlng fundlng for an envlronmenLal law experL Lo drafL Lhe LnvlronmenLal Law,
paruclpaung ln formulaung Lhe nauonal SusLalnable uevelopmenL SLraLegy and Lhe lnle
Lake lnluauve (wlLh l8LuA). ln addluon, unLÞ ls worklng wlLh Lhe World PealLh Crganlzauon
(WPC) on an Czone uepleuon Þro[ecL ln 8angoon whlch assesses Lhe level of conLamlnanLs
ln Lhe alr Lo ldenufy sources and Lake measures Lo prevenL alr polluuon such as encouraglng
Lhe decrease ln Lhe amounL of leaded peLrol used ln cars.
74
 
75
8urma's governmenL has also expressed lnLeresL ln Lhe unlLed nauons Collaborauve
Þrogramme on 8educlng Lmlsslons from ueforesLauon and loresL uegradauon ln ueveloplng
CounLrles (un 8Luu) program, menuoned above.
xvll
 
76
3.7.3 Ethnic Environmental Organizations based in Thailand
LnvlronmenLal groups based on Lhe 1halland-8urma border work ln all Lhe eLhnlc sLaLes.
A ma[or focus ls Lo lncrease Lhe recognluon of rlghLs of local and lndlgenous peoples Lo use
and manage Lhelr naLural resources for susLalnable developmenL, Lo promoLe envlronmenLal
proLecuon and human rlghLs Lhrough advocacy abouL large-scale developmenL and naLural
resource exLracuon pro[ecLs, and corporaLe and governmenL accounLablllLy. 1hese groups
work prlmarlly ln areas under conLrol of eLhnlc armles and ln ceaseñre areas. noL all groups
work on every aspecL, a summary of acuvlues ls explalned below. ShorL brlefs abouL lndlvldual
8LWC members are lncluded aL Lhe beglnnlng of Lhe reporL.
1hls secuon lncludes Lhe work of Arakan Cll WaLch (ACW), Arakan 8lvers neLwork (A8n),
8rldglng 8ural lnLegraLed uevelopmenL and CrassrooLs LmpowermenL (88luCL), 8urma
8lvers neLwork (88n), LLhnlc CommunlLy uevelopmenL lorum (LCul), LarLh 8lghLs
lnLernauonal (L8l), kachln uevelopmenL neLworklng Croup (kunC), karennl Lvergreen,
karen LnvlronmenL Commluee (kLC), karen LnvlronmenLal and Soclal Acuon neLwork
(kLSAn), Lahu nauonal uevelopmenL Crganlzauon (LnuC), neLwork for LnvlronmenLal and
Lconomlc uevelopmenL (nLLu), Þa'Ch ?ouLh Crganlzauon (Þ?C), Shan Sapawa LnvlronmenLal
Crganlzauon and Lhe Shwe Cas MovemenL. 1hose whlch are members of 8LWC have
organlzaLlonal descrlpLlons aL Lhe beglnnlng of Lhe reporL under 'AbouL Lhe 8urma
LnvlronmenLal Worklng Croup'.
xvll
See fooLnoLe xv.
The Burma Environmental Working Group (BEWG)
30
Community Development
LmpowermenL of communlues lnslde 8urma Lo conserve naLural resources and lmprove
llvellhood securlLy and susLalnablllLy for currenL and fuLure generauons ls Lhe cenLral focus
ln a number of border-based groups' acuvlues. A rlghLs based approach ls used Lo empower
communlues and local leaders on envlronmenL conservauon and soclal developmenL.
Þro[ecLs lnclude Lhe esLabllshmenL and proLecuon of communlLy foresLs, supporL for locally-
produced Lradluonal medlclnes, communlLy-based food and waLer securlLy lnluauves LhaL
supporL local food producuon and cllmaLe change adapLauon mechanlsms, formal and
lnformal envlronmenLal educauon, and Plv-AluS educauon and surveys. ?ouLh developmenL
ls seen as especlally lmporLanL by many groups and ls pursued Lhrough lnLernshlp and
educauon opporLunlues ln wlLhln Lhese organlzauons, youLh forums explorlng sub[ecLs
such as Lhe resource curse, and neLwork-bulldlng across eLhnlclues, lssues and reglons.
Croups are lncreaslngly deslgnlng communlLy developmenL lnluauves LhaL address gender
lnequallLy and ampllfy women's volces and roles.
Figure 1 Community forest awareness training, Khoe Kay, Salween River, Karen state.  
karen youth |earn|ng |nd|genous know|edge on commun|ty forest conservanon. kLSAN
2009.
 
BURMA’S ENVIRONMENT: PEOPLE, PROBLEMS, POLICIES
31
Environmental Education
LnvlronmenLal groups based on Lhe 1halland-8urma border provlde educaLlon and
communlLy awareness and capaclLy on a range of envlronmenLal lssues. Lducauon Lhemes
lnclude blodlverslLy, land Lenure, envlronmenLal conservauon, cllmaLe change, Lradluonal
agrlculLure and medlclnes, alLernauve energles, organlc farmlng, envlronmenLal lmpacL
assessmenL, good envlronmenLal governance, resource documenLauon, lnformed consenL,
revenue Lransparency and susLalnable developmenL. Lducauon meLhods lnclude Lralnlng
Lhrough youLh forums, workshops, lnLernshlps and esLabllshed envlronmenLal schools boLh
wlLhln and ouLslde 8urma's borders. More lnformal lnformauon dlssemlnauon occurs
Lhrough Lradluonal communlLy neLworklng, Lravellng sLoryLellers and vldeo, audlo and
prlnLed medla produced ln local languages. Some groups acuvely fosLer local eLhnlc languages
whlch have been banned ln Lhe 8urmese educauonal sysLem, as a cenLral means Lo achlevlng
envlronmenLal educauon.
Policy Development
Þollcy developmenL ls noL [usL a Lask for Lhe currenL governmenL or Lhe governmenL of a
fuLure democrauc 8urma, buL for reglonal and lnLernauonal frameworks, lnLernauonal
ñnanclal lnsuLuuons and governmenLs, and buslnesses and corporauons operaung lnslde
8urma. Croups work wlLh local and reglonal clvll socleLy organlzauons Lo aruculaLe
envlronmenLal and soclal and economlc developmenL concerns and formulaLe envlronmenLal
pollcles for pollcy makers ln exlle, Lhe currenL governmenL, companles, and non-sLaLe acLors.
8order-based envlronmenLal groups wldely recognlze Lhe need Lo sLrengLhen communlLy
lnluauves Lhrough developmenL of pollcy and ldenuñcauon of developmenL prlorlues wlLh
local sLakeholders ln eLhnlc areas.
Advocacy
1here ls no freedom of speech ln 8urma, maklng lL dlmculL for organlzauons based lnslde
8urma Lo publlcly expose negauve envlronmenLal and soclal lmpacLs of large scale-
developmenL acuvlues such as Lhe consLrucuon of large-scale dams, mlnlng, resource
concesslons, and oll and gas exLracuon. 8order-based envlronmenLal groups Lherefore
conducL research and do advocacy on Lhese lssues because Lhey are able Lo work ln a safer
envlronmenL. ln addluon Lo large-scale lnfrasLrucLure developmenL pro[ecLs, Lhey advocaLe
abouL communlLy developmenL, envlronmenLal educauon and pollcy developmenL lnluauves
ln local, reglonal, nauonal and lnLernauonal arenas, bulldlng alllances and worklng wlLh
oLher clvll socleLy organlzauons. 1hey publlclze Lhelr research and advocacy Lhrough many
reporLs documenung such abuses. Croups neLwork wlLh nauonal, reglonal and lnLernauonal
organlzauons on lssues ranglng from revenue Lransparency Lo lndlgenous people's rlghLs,
rlvers and blodlverslLy, mega-developmenL pro[ecLs, and lnLernauonal llnanclal lnsuLuuons.
The Burma Environmental Working Group (BEWG)
32
4. LAW AND POLICY ON FORESTRY AND AGRICULTURAL 
LAND
4.1 Forestry Laws and Policies
4.1.1 Ministry of Forestry
1he MlnlsLry of loresLry (Mol) ls responslble for foresL land managemenL, envlronmenLal
proLecuon, umber exLracuon and foresL pollcy ln 8urma - followlng Lhe loresL Þollcy 1993.
1he Lop posluons, lncludlng Lhe mlnlsLer and now oûen ume dlrecLor generals (uCs), are
sLañed by mlllLary omclals wlLh no Lechnlcal Lralnlng or knowledge, whlle Lhe deparLmenLs
under Lhe mlnlsLry are made up of Lralned foresLers and oLher professlonals. llve deparLmenLs
come under Lhe conLrol of Lhe Mol: Lhe loresL ueparLmenL (lu) wlLh lLs naLure and Wlldllfe
Conservauon ulvlslon, Lhe Myanmar 1lmber LnLerprlse (M1L), Lhe logglng and lncome-
earnlng arm, Lhe ury Zone Creenlng ueparLmenL (uZCu) for reforesLauon ln cenLral 8urma,
Lhe Þlannlng and SLausucs ueparLmenL, and Lhe nauonal Commlsslon for LnvlronmenLal
Añalrs (nCLA). ln 2007-08 ñscal year Lhe foresLry secLor earned Lhe governmenL 83.3 blllon
kyaL, buL whlch only represenLs a x percenL of Lhe counLry's LoLal CuÞ, accordlng Lo nauonal
sLausucs.
77
 1he governmenL-conLrolled exporL of Leak logs reached lLs maxlmum volume
and value ln 2006-07 aL nearly 300,000 Lons worLh [usL over $200 mllllon uSu. 1he LoLal value
of governmenL-exporLed Leak logs from 2003-04 Lo 2007-08 reached over $1 bllllon uSu.
WlLhln Lhe Mol Lhere exlsLs Lenslon beLween Lhe dlverglng agendas of Lechnlcal experuse
and communlLy-managed foresLs, as well as beLween Lhe separaLe goals of conservauon
and umber exLracuon. loresL conservauon and commerclal umber exLracuon are managed
by dlñerenL deparLmenLs (lu and M1L, respecuvely,) whlch carrles obvlous problems and
conßlcLs.
1he prlvaLe secLor ls now allowed Lo work ln cooperauon wlLh Lhe Myanmar 1lmber
LnLerprlse (M1L) under Lhe Mol for exporung value-added, seml-processed wood producLs
only. 8uL Lhe prlvaLe secLor has been cooperaung wlLh M1L for logglng and arranglng
buslness deals wlLh forelgn buyers, even Lhough lL ls Lhen exporLed vla M1L. And slnce 2003
Lhe governmenL allows 8urmese prlvaLe lnvesLors Lo esLabllsh Lree planLauons, lncludlng
Leak buL only wlLh speclal permlsslon slnce lL ls sull a sLaLe-owned Lree. lL appears LhaL
prlvaLe Lree planLauons are becomlng a more popular form of lnvesLmenL by 8urmese
foresLers, alLhough as of yeL ls noL a popular Lrend compared Lo agrlbuslness.
Myanmar 1lmber LnLerprlse (M1L) generaLes Lhe lncome necessary for Lhe Mol Lo funcuon,
buL as a resulL carrles more pollucal lnßuence and resources compared Lo loresL ueparLmenL
as well as applles logglng pressure on Lhe very foresL resources Lhe resL of Lhe mlnlsLry
proLecLs. M1L ls well known Lo noL follow Lhe measures seL ouL ln Lhe 8urma Selecuon
SysLem (8SS) and Annual Allowable CuL (AAC).
78
M1L, due Lo severely llmlung human,
ñnance caplLal, and Lechnlcal resource, oûen subconLracL ouL concesslons Lo Lhe prlvaLe
secLor Lo carry ouL logglng operauons. Powever Lhe subconLracLors (e.g., PLoo 1radlng,
among many oLhers) Lhen musL sell Lhelr seL volume of umber Lo Lhe M1L aL a glven prlce,
even lf lL ls for exporL Lo prlvaLe forelgn companles. Powever, Lhe sLaLe has a monopoly on
BURMA’S ENVIRONMENT: PEOPLE, PROBLEMS, POLICIES
33
Leak Lrees. ln eñecL, Lhen, M1L conLrols Lhe logglng and umber Lrade, buL lL ls ln facL carrled
ouL by Lhe 8urmese prlvaLe secLor, where boLh enuues proñL.
Annual Allowable CuLs were based on parual surveys done ln Lhe early 1960s, whlch were
Lhen exLrapolaLed Lo Lhe whole counLry, desplLe much of Lhe counLry Lhen mlred ln clvll
war. 1hls ls a ma[or ßaw of Lhe esLabllshed AAC ñgures even lf preclsely followed.
79
8ased
on Lhe forelgn exchange earnlngs expecLauon, a LargeL volume ls calculaLed whlch ls Lhen
LranslaLed downwards lnLo logglng quoLas for each logglng dlsLrlcL. 1hese have llule bearlng
on capaclLy of Lhe foresL, Lhe calculaLed AAC, and Lherefore Lhe susLalnablllLy of foresLry
operauons. 1he AAC occaslonally changes by Lhe reglme Lo malnLaln annual revenue buL
noL acLually a measure of changlng umber sLock. Accordlng Lo Lhe lu's Þlannlng and SLausucs
ulvlslon, Lhe 2010 AAC for Leak ls seL aL 147,300 Lrees (176,760 Lons) and for oLher hardwoods
1,131,461 Lrees (1.384 mllllon Lons).
xvlll
Cverall, slnce 1970 Leak producuon has exceeded
Lhe AAC by aL leasL an average of 13 percenL, accordlng Lo even omclal ñgures,
80
whlch ls
assumed Lo acLually be much hlgher.
4.1.2 Forest Law and Policy
1he 1992 loresL Law supporLs conservauon, susLalnable foresLry and soclo-economlc
beneñLs whlle also parually decenLrallzlng and encouraglng Lhe prlvaLe secLor and communlLy
paruclpauon ln foresL managemenL. 1he 1993 Myanmar loresL Þollcy and Lhe updaLed
1996 loresL Worklng Þlans are responslble for lmplemenung Lhe 1992 loresL Law. Speclñcally,
Lhe law and pollcy advocaLe for a paruclpaLory approach Lo foresL managemenL, lncludlng
communlLy foresLry for supplemenung llvellhoods. 1he 30-year nauonal loresLry Acuon
Þlan for 2001 only seeks Lo sLrengLhen conservauon goals and enforcemenL of laws agalnsL
lllegal exLracuon of foresL producLs, wlLhouL any menuon of Lhe need Lo lnclude vlllagers
as sLakeholders ln Lhe nauon's foresLs. no speclñc legal land rlghLs are avallable Lo local
people's clalm Lo use or access foresL resources, severely lmplnglng on communlues food
and foresLland Lenure securlLy.
loresL 8eserve and ÞroLecLed Þubllc loresL LogeLher form Lhe ÞermanenL loresL LsLaLe
(ÞlL), whlch accordlng Lo Lhe loresL Þollcy 1993 lL ls belng LargeLed for 30 percenL of Lhe
counLry's LoLal land whlch ls Lhus oñ llmlLs for local llvellhoods. ln addluon Lhe proLecLed
area sysLem (ÞAS) ls sloued Lo cover 10 percenL of Lhe counLry's LoLal LerrlLory. Powever,
as of 2003, only abouL 22 percenL of LoLal land area has been glven full legal proLecuon
under Lhe loresL 8eserve SysLem, whlch ls only abouL half of Lhe exlsung foresL area accordlng
Lo governmenL daLa.
ln addluon Lo ÞlL, a very cruclal addluon LhaL has Lhe poLenual Lo greaLly enhance local
foresL resource securlLy ls an addluonal 10 percenL of Lhe counLry's LoLal land ls Lo be
managed for muluple land use mlxlng, lncludlng agroforesLry and communlLy foresLs.
4.1.3 Community Forestry
lollowlng Lhe 1992 loresL Law and 1993 loresL Þollcy, Lhe governmenL legally recognlzes
people's co-managemenL ln foresLry wlLh Lhe creauon of Lhe 1993 CommunlLy loresLry
xvlll
1he lu calculaLes Lhe volume as on average 1.2 Lons per Leak Lree, and 1.4 Lons per hardwood Lree.
The Burma Environmental Working Group (BEWG)
34
lnsLrucuons (Cll). 1he overall prlnclples ln Cll are for local communlues Lo fulñll baslc
llvellhood needs for ñrewood, farm lmplemenLs and small umbers as well as reforesL
degraded foresL lands. 1he communlLy foresLry user groups (luCs) collaboraLe wlLh nCCs
and dlsLrlcL lu omclals ln managlng Lhe Cl. AlLhough lnlually creaLed ln 1993, only slnce
Lhe mld-2000s dld Cl esLabllshmenL really begln Lo galn momenLum ln 8urma, and mosLly
ln Lhe norLh. 1hls ls due Lo Lhe lncreaslng land Lenure LhreaLs, namely agrlbuslness
concesslons belng demarcaLed ln farmer's upland foresLs and toooqyo (8urmese word for
upland swldden pracLlces). Cnce Lhe Cl ls offlclally granLed by Lhe dlsLrlcL loresLry
ueparLmenL and oLher relevanL agencles, Lhe luC has more proLecLed user rlghLs over LhaL
land, maklng lL much more dlmculL for Lhe land Lo be granLed Lo an ouLslde parLy. LsLabllshlng
a Cl ls one of Lhe rare land-based reslsLance sLraLegles avallable Lo vlllagers, whose Lradluonal
land managemenL pracuces (toooqyo) are noL a recognlzed. A legally-esLabllshed Cl beuer
ensures legally proLecLed land use (see secuons 4.2 and 3.3 for more deLalls on land
conñscauon for agrlbuslness). vlllagers esLabllshlng Cls, ls Lhus more abouL keeplng vlllage
land, noL necessarlly abouL expllclLly conservlng foresLs.
1he process of esLabllshlng communlLy foresLs over Lhe pasL decade has been slower Lhan
anuclpaLed, wlLh Lhe annual raLe of esLabllshmenL aL only abouL 8,000 acres, desplLe a
nauonal LargeL of 1.3 mllllon acres by 2030.
81
8y 2010, [usL over 100,000 acres of communlLy
foresLs have been legally esLabllshed (recognlzed and recorded by Lhe cenLral loresLry
ueparLmenL) ln Lhe whole counLry, over half of whlch ls [usL ln souLhern Shan SLaLe (192
communlLy foresLs esLabllshed by 2010).
82
When communlLy foresL lnsLrucuons are lmplemenLed mosL loresL user Croups seem Lo
be planung mosLly hlgh-value umber specles, such as Leak, Þylnkado, and Þadauk, wlLh
llule focus on agroforesLry sLraLegles or local foresL needs such as ñrewood, nor auenuon
Lo gender dynamlcs or ensurlng paruclpauon from Lhe mosL marglnallzed households. As
a resulL Lhls ls causlng problems wlLh food securlLy for Lhe vlllages. 1herefore whlle Cl ls
one of Lhe counLry's mosL promlslng legal avenues Lo proLecL vlllage land and provlde a
plauorm for vlllage paruclpauon ln land governance, new problems have arose LhaL sull
need auenuon.
4.1.4 Case Study: Community Forest in a Kachin Village
83
ln a kachln vlllage, whlch wlll noL be ldenuñed due Lo securlLy reasons, 1,400 acres of
communlLy foresL were esLabllshed wlLhln Lhe vlllage LerrlLory ln 2007. Crlglnally Lhe land
used for Lhe communlLy foresL operaLed under collecuve cusLomary rules and regulauons,
buL due Lo some degree of communlLy breakdown, Lhe land operaLed more as an open-
access commons, wlLhouL any dlrecL sLaLe conLrol or Lax. 1he vlllage puL LogeLher a
communlLy foresLry user group, who Lhen applled Lo Lhe dlsLrlcL loresLry ueparLmenL for
esLabllshlng a communlLy foresL.
Swldden culuvauon, or toooqyo, was carrled ouL on Lhe nearby foresL hlll before lL became
a communlLy foresL. 8uL now LhaL Lhe communlLy has an omclal communlLy foresL permlL
from Lhe loresL ueparLmenL, Lhey planL mosLly hardwood Lrees, wlLh lnLercropplng of
annual crops for Lhe ñrsL few years of Lree esLabllshmenL. Cnce Lhey can no longer do any
lnLercropplng, Lhe vlllagers say Lhey wlll go Lo a dlñerenL ploL of land ln Lhelr vlllage LerrlLory
Lo grow food crops (Lhere ls no shorLage of land ln Lhe vlllage).
BURMA’S ENVIRONMENT: PEOPLE, PROBLEMS, POLICIES
35
1he specles of Lrees LhaL Lhey planLed lnclude Leak, yemlooy, pylokoJo (lronwood),
toooqJomo, eLc., mosLly for umber buL also a few LhaL can be used for ñrewood. Some of
Lhe Lree seedllngs Lhey geL from Lhe foresL ('wlldllngs'), some from Lhe loresL ueparLmenL
(Leak and pylokoJo), and some grow ln Lhelr own Lree seedllng nursery locaLed along Lhe
nearby rlver.
1hey are worrled abouL food securlLy because much of Lhelr labor ls now occupled wlLh
malnLalnlng Lhe communlLy foresL, such as weedlng. Accordlng Lo Lhe communlLy foresLry
user group, Lhey have experlenced many worrylng problems as a resulL of Lhelr communlLy
foresL:
1.  1lme and energy ls spenL growlng Lrees, noL crops (ume compeuuon).
2.  1hey have Lo use Lhelr own money Lo buy some of Lhe Lree seedllngs (Lhose noL provlded
by Lhe loresL ueparLmenL). lor Lhose specles Lhey are noL growlng Lhemselves and Lhe
loresL ueparLmenL does noL provlde, Lhey buy Lhem from a nearby vlllage who grows
Lhem. 1hls ls pumng a ñnanclal burden on households.
3.  1here ls now noL enough food Lo supporL households. 1he year LhaL Lhe communlLy
foresL was esLabllshed Lhe un's World lood Þrogram had Lo glve food handouLs Lo Lhe
vlllage.
1he communlLy foresLry user group summarlzes Lhese Lrade-oñs: ºWe sLarLed Lo have a rlce
shorLage problem slnce lasL year when we sLarLed Lhe communlLy foresL. We expecL Lo conunue
Lo have rlce shorLages ln Lhe fuLure. 1hls ls dlrecLly because of Lhe communlLy foresL, because
now we do noL have enough labor Lo do toooqyo. Slnce adopung Lhe communlLy foresL
pracuces we do noL have enough labor for toooqyo, because we have Lo manage Lrees and
less crops can now be planLed because now we have Lo share space wlLh Lrees."
uesplLe Lhese problems arlslng from Lhe communlLy foresL, Lhe vlllage sull lnslsLs on lLs
value because Lhey wanL Lo proLecL Lhelr LerrlLory from conñscauon from encroachlng
prlvaLe companles ln search of land for agrlculLural developmenL. 1hey are uslng communlLy
foresLry as a legal mechanlsm Lo proLecL Lhelr land. Soon aûer Lhe allocauon of Lhe
communlLy foresL, Lhe governmenL allocaLed a 10,000 acre rubber and Leak planLauon Lo
a 8urmese company LhaL ls locaLed wlLhln Lhe vlllage LerrlLory. Slnce Lhe communlLy had
already applled for Lhelr Cl, LhaL land was noL lncluded ln Lhe concesslon area - lL ls now
surrounded by Lhe concesslon. 1he vlllagers see Lhelr communlLy foresL acuvlsm as successful
ln keeplng some vlllage land under Lhe conLrol of vlllagers ln Lhe face of agrlbuslness.
4.2 Land Laws and Policies
4.2.1 Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation (MoAI)
ln 1992 Lhe agrlculLure and foresLry secLors lnsuLuuonally spllL, creaung a separaLe mlnlsLry
for each. 1he MlnlsLry of AgrlculLure and lrrlgauon (MoAl) comprlses 13 deparLmenLs. Cne
of Lhe mosL lmporLanL deparLmenLs ls Lhe SeulemenL and Land 8ecords ueparLmenL (SL8u),
whlch ls responslble for surveylng and mapplng Lhe land, provldlng land use ceruñcaLes,
and faclllLaung land concesslons. 1he oLher lmporLanL deparLmenL ls Lhe ueparLmenL of
AgrlculLural Þlannlng (uAÞ), who ls responslble for maklng sure producuvlLy orders from
The Burma Environmental Working Group (BEWG)
36
Lhe cenLral governmenL are fulñlled on Lhe ground. Also of slgnlñcance ls Lhe 8urma Þerennlal
Crops LnLerprlse (MÞCL), whlch ls responslble for sugarcane and perennlal crops, such as
rubber and palm oll.
1he Ceneral Assembly (CA), under Lhe MlnlsLry of Pome Añalrs, ls Lhe hlghesL level of
auLhorlLy ln Lhe dlsLrlcL LhaL collecLs land revenue as assessed by Lhe SL8u. 1he looJ
Moooqemeot commluee (LMC) ls a cruclal agency for governmenL land managemenL ln
8urma, from Lhe vlllage up Lo Lhe cenLral level. 1he CenLral LMC ls headed by Lhe MlnlsLer
of Lhe MoAl, wlLh oLher members lncludlng Mol, Lhe SecreLary of Lhe SL8u, and uCs from
relevanL deparLmenLs wlLhln Lhese mlnlsLrles. Powever, lL appears LhaL mlllLary omclals
have sumclenLly peneLraLed Lhe LMC whlch has lenL Lowards corrupuon and servlng Lhe
lnLeresLs of lnßuenual people.
uurlng Lhe pasL decade Lhe MoAl has galned ln promlnence as Lhe mlnlsLry wlLh [urlsdlcuon
over huge land areas of Lhe counLry, and lndeed Lhe waLer LhaL lrrlgaLes lL. 1he markeL
llberallzauon pollcles 8urma began ln 1988 seems Lo be beneñung MoAl much more Lhan
Mol as now prlvaLe agrlculLural concesslons can be granLed Lo well-placed agrlbuslnessmen.
4.2.2 Customary Land Rights
8oLh sLaLuLory (nauonal sLaLe laws) and cusLomary laws (local, Lradluonal, non-sLaLe soclal
sysLems) are followed ln 8urma, someumes slmulLaneously ln Lhe same place. Cverall, lL
can be generallzed LhaL ln Lhe uplands of eLhnlc areas cusLomary land pracuces prevall, and
Lhe lowlands follow sLaLuLory laws. Powever, Lhere are of course many excepuons, for one
Lhe eLhnlc uplands have been Lerrorlzed by war and conßlcL for generauons, whlch has led
Lo ßeelng, lnLernally dlsplaced persons, mlllLarlzauon and compromlsed Lradluonal pracuces-
all of whlch have weakened Lradluonal soclal sysLems and Lhelr land managemenL pracuces.
1he slLuauon now ls LhaL cusLomary land pracuces appear Lo be on Lhe wane. ln ceaseñre
areas Lhe sLaLe ls exLendlng Lhelr conLrol over land and populauons, wlLh Lhelr auendanL
land caLegorles (e.g., foresL and agrlculLure raLher Lhan agro-foresLry sysLems). And ln acuve
war zones local eLhnlc populauons are kepL from pracuclng Lhelr Lradluonal swldden
culuvauon due Lo Lhe consLanL LhreaL of warfare and fear.
upland eLhnlc populauons now ñnd Lhemselves sLuck ln Lhe crossñre of Lhe rough Lransluon
Lo an openlng markeL caplLallsm where land ls Lransferred from smallholder farmers Lo
large prlvaLe companles, boLh 8urmese and forelgn. As prevlously cusLomary laws were
honored and Lhe sLaLe had noL reached Lhe uplands ln mosL eLhnlc sLaLes, mosL households
ln Lhe rural uplands do noL have any land reglsLrauon uLles. uurlng Lhe 8rlush colonlal umes
a few formallzed cusLomary rules were enacLed and ln some small ways recognlzed for
cerLaln areas of Lhe uplands of norLhern and wesLern 8urma. lor example, Lhe kocblo nllls
Mooool (speclñcally ChapLers 3 and 7) respecLed cusLomary auLhorlLy of kachln headmen,
and for Lhe Chln speclñc laws were creaLed Lo address Lhelr cusLoms, called Lhe cblo nllls
keqolouoo 1896, and Lhe cblo 5peclol ulvlsloo (íxteosloo of lows) Act, 1948. 
1he SÞuC does noL legally honor cusLomary rlghLs and laws, wlLh lnadequaLe provlslons ln
Lhe new consuLuuon Lo uphold cusLomary Lradluons. ln pracuce, however, Lhere ls a messy
lnformal overlap beLween cusLomary and sLaLuLory laws and pracuces, where SL8u omcers
BURMA’S ENVIRONMENT: PEOPLE, PROBLEMS, POLICIES
37
record cusLomary agrlculLural land ploLs for Lhelr surveys and maps, buL aL Lhe same ume
ls noL honored when deslred by an lnßuenual developer backed by Lhe sLaLe. lL ls Lhls grey
area wlLh respecL Lo Lhe cusLomary-sLaLuLory specLrum LhaL causes land Lenure lnsecurlLy
for mllllons of farmers ln 8urma, especlally ln Lhe eLhnlc uplands.
Land Lenure remalns very weak ln 8urma, especlally ln Lhe uplands where cusLomary
pracuces are sull oûen followed lnsLead of sLaLuLory law.
84
A fundamenLal problem ls LhaL
no law formally recognlzes Lradluonal upland land use. 1hls means LhaL lf a farmer wanLs
Lo pracuce cusLomary shlûlng culuvauon, Lhen LhaL pracuce wlll noL be formally recognlzed
by Lhe governmenL, and Lhus Lhere ls no way Lo legally proLecL Lhls Lradluonal land
managemenL pracuce. 1he CommunlLy loresLry lnsLrucuons, whlle a good opporLunlLy, are
oûen noL lmplemenLed as a Lradluonal land managemenL sLraLegy and Lhus change Lhe
way local people use, access and manage land. 1hey are [olnLly managed wlLh Lhe loresLry
ueparLmenL and oûen promoLe growlng umber raLher Lhan food.
4.2.3 Statutory Land Laws
1he looJ Acpolsluoo Act, whlch ls sull ln eñecL Loday, legally glves Lhe governmenL Lhe rlghL
Lo Lake over any land, buL wlLh compensauon Lo lLs orlglnal owners. 1he 1933 looJ
Nouooollzouoo Act and Lhe 1963 1eooocy low gave legal power Lo Lhe sLaLe Lo selze all land
(and Lherefore all land owned by Lhe sLaLe, as ls sull Lhe case Loday) and redlsLrlbuLe accordlng
Lo soclallsL prlnclples. Legal pracuce ln 8urma Loday generally reverLs Lo Lhe 1933 looJ
Nouooollzouoo Act, whlch recognlzes some prlvaLe ownershlp of agrlculLural land (secuon
38), alLhough lL resLrlcLs sale or Lransfer (secuons 9-12). Powever, ln secuons 9-12, Lhe same
AcL provldes for Lhe SLaLe Lo conñscaLe fallow land (also a Lype of 'absenLee ownershlp'),
a ma[or problem for smallholder farmers and companles allke. 1he law does noL permlL
ouLrlghL prlvaLe ownershlp of land, and so all land musL be leased from Lhe sLaLe, as ls sull
Lhe slLuauon. ln pracuce, however, Lhe land ls elLher allocaLed by Lhe cusLomary owner Lo
a relauve or Lo a paylng farmer. 1hese posL-colonlal laws rely upon colonlal Lradluons where
rlghLs Lo land remaln conungenL on Lhe land belng conunuously used ln a 'producuve' way
or else Lhe sLaLe has Lhe rlghL Lo conñscaLe lL (unless a 'fallow Lax' ls pald by more wealLhy
farmers) and puL lL Lo more emclenL use - a slLuauon we see Loday wlLh large-scale
concesslons granLed Lo Lhe prlvaLe secLor. 1hls ls ln splLe of Lhe sull acuve 196J low
5ofeqootJloq leosoot klqbts whlch forblds farmer's land belng conñscaLed, harklng back
Lo Lhe soclallsL era whlch advocaLed for peasanL rlghLs Lo land.
ln 1988 aûer Lhe lnfamous proLesLs and Lhe breakdown of Lhe soclallsL economy, Lhe SLC8C
(Lhe name of Lhe governmenL aL LhaL ume) began Lo open up Lhe economy ln such a way
we could call lL a ºmlllLary command economy" where Lhe emerglng prlvaLe secLor could
begln Lo operaLe buL only favored companles ln good relauon wlLh Lhe mlllLary leaders, and
under Lhelr careful conscrlpuon. lollowlng Lhls new Lrend, SLC8C enacLed Lhe ltesctlbloq
uoues ooJ klqbts of tbe ceottol commluee fot tbe Moooqemeot of coluvoble looJ, lollow
looJ ooJ woste looJ, 1991 (or Moooqemeot of coluvoble looJ, lollow looJ ooJ woste
looJ, or more slmply Lhe wostelooJs low). 1hls law soughL Lo encourage Lhe developmenL
of so-called 'wasLelands', or baslcally land wlLh no land uLle, Lhrough enllsung Lhe prlvaLe
secLor.
xlx
1o oversee Lhe lmplemenLauon of Lhls law Lhe governmenL formed Lhe ceottol
xlx
8eglsLerlng Lo culuvaLe ºvlrgln land" ls Lhe same process as for 'wasLeland'. 8uL ºvlrgln land" ls conLrolled
The Burma Environmental Working Group (BEWG)
38
commluee fot tbe Moooqemeot of coluvoble looJ, lollow looJ ooJ woste looJ Lhe same
year (hereln called Lhe Land ManagemenL Commluee, or LMC). 1he duues of Lhls cenLral
commluee ls Lo sysLemaucally scruunlze all appllcauons submlued Lo granL Lhe rlghL Lo
culuvaLe wasLeland and fallow land by sLaLe-owned economlc enLerprlses, [olnL venLures,
and corporauons and prlvaLe lndlvlduals for commerclal reasons.
1he LMC may asslgn prlvaLe agrlculLural blocks of up Lo 3,000 acres for selecLed perennlal
lndusLrlal crops such as sugar cane, oll palm and rubber, and 1,000 Lo a maxlmum of 3,000
acres for orchard crops. lf Lhls land ls developed, more land can be granLed, up Lo a posslble
30,000 acres wlLh a maxlmum lease perlod of 30 years. 1he company musL, wlLhln 4 Lo 3
years from Lhe daLe of belng granLed Lhe land, fully culuvaLe Lhe whole area of Lhelr land
concesslon, or else lL can be Laken back by Lhe governmenL (alLhough Lhls has never been
reporLed). Also parL of Lhe conLracL ls exempuons from Laxes for a deLermlned perlod of
ume. 1he prlvaLe enuLy ls granLed permlsslon Lo exporL a cerLaln percenLage of Lhe harvesL
(up Lo 30 percenL), wlLh Lhe resL Lo be sold on Lhe domesuc markeL. non-cluzens may apply
for land for agrlculLural lnvesLmenL, as approved by Lhe 8urma lnvesLmenL Commlsslon
(8lC), alLhough Lhls ls very rare as Laxes and oLher fees are exceedlngly hlgh wlLh a dlmculL
and long bureaucrauc process. lnsLead forelgn companles work wlLh 8urmese companles,
elLher as a formal [olnL-venLure agreemenL, or more commonly, lnformally Lo geL Lhe mosL
preferenual Lax breaks and ease wlLh whlch Lo lnvesL. 1he 1toosfet of lmmoveoble ltopetty
kesttlcuoo low 2005 made Lhe allocauon of land Lo a forelgn enuLy lllegal, buL Lhls ls now
no longer Lhe case as Lhe governmenL only very recenLly began encouraglng forelgners Lo
lnvesL ln land developmenL by leaslng a 100° forelgn-owned land concesslon.
ln Lhe lowlands farmers oûen rely on lnformal soclal sysLems Lo secure conunued land use
and access, however more well-placed farmers (wlLh usually hlgher lncomes and connecuons
Lo auLhorlues) are able Lo apply for land use ceruñcaLes whlch lncrease land Lenure securlLy -
alLhough lL cerLalnly does noL guaranLee agalnsL land conñscauon. 1he ñrsL reglsLrauon
form ls a '103', whlch acLs as 'non-permanenL holdlng reglsLer' wlLh Lhe SL8u. Aûer several
years (omclally Lhree) of conunual culuvauon on LhaL ploL of land (no fallowlng allowed),
and pendlng relauonshlps wlLh Lhe SL8u omclals, Lhe household can obLaln a '106' land
reglsLrauon permlL wlLh a 'permanenL holdlng reglsLer'. Some nCCs ln 8urma are faclllLaung
households Lo obLaln Lhese land use ceruñcaLes, alLhough Lhe lmpacL ls very low, lL ls a
ume-consumlng and expenslve process, and sull does noL guaranLee agalnsL land LhreaLs,
such as conñscauon by buslnesses and Lhe mlllLary.
Þrocesses such as Lhese and Lhe pollcles LhaL supporL Lhem dlscourage Lradluonal upland
farmlng pracuces (toooqyo) whlch keep soll ferule. CLher pracuces whlch don'L allow land
Lo fallow añecL soll ferullLy and Lherefore requlre chemlcal ferullzers whlch are damaglng
Lo communlues and Lhe envlronmenL.
As parL of Lhe land allocauon process Lo prlvaLe companles agrlculLural concesslons are
lssued wlLhouL any furLher land survey or an envlronmenLal lmpacL assessmenL (LlA), as
no such laws are ln place. AlLhough Lhe auLhorlLles coerce Lhe companles Lo boosL
by Mol, noL MoAl, so Lhe process noL only lnvolves SL8u, buL also Mol who are oûen noL happy wlLh culuvauon
of Lhls land as Lhey Lhen lose [urlsdlcuon over Lhls land, noL Lo menuon usually a negauve lmpacL on ecologlcal
lnLegrlLy whlch Lhe Mol remalns more concerned abouL compared Lo MoAl.
BURMA’S ENVIRONMENT: PEOPLE, PROBLEMS, POLICIES
39
producuvlLy ln Lhe concesslons, oûenumes Lhe allocaLed land ls noL fully uullzed due Lo lLs
sheer huge slze, or ln many oLher lnsLances Lhe company leaves aûer logglng Lhe foresLland
and selllng Lhe wood on Lhe black markeL. 1he exlsung land allocauon rules, as regulaLed
by Lhe LMC, do not speclfy oqolost allocaung small land ploLs Lo small-scale farmers, however
no wasLeland has yeL been allocaLed Lo smallholder farmers as a lever of rural llvellhood
developmenL or more radlcal land redlsLrlbuuon eñorLs, desplLe some clalms as such. 1he
[usuñcauon by Lhe governmenL for noL dolng so ls LhaL nelLher smallholders nor Lhe landless
have access Lo caplLal for developlng Lhe land.
85
1he reasons farmers, especlally small-scale
farmlng households (under 10 acres) do noL have access Lo caplLal ls because households
cannoL use Lhelr land as collaLeral for loans. WlLhouL proper rural credlL avallable Lo farmers
LhroughouL Lhe counLry, Lhe collapse of Lhe nauonal banklng sysLem, and a governmenL
susplclous abouL mlcro-credlL ñnanclng, farmlng households are oûen leû no opuon buL
Lo Lake ouL very hlgh lnLeresL raLe loans (up Lo 20 percenL) by local money lenders. Whlle
lL ls acLually lllegal for land Lo be forfelLed for fallure of loan repaymenL, ln acLual facL
landlessness soars ln 8urma due Lo farmers loslng land Lo Lhe vlclous cycle of debL.
4.2.4 Case Study: Yuzana Concession in Hugawng Valley 
?uzana Company, owned by u PLay MylnL, was granLed a 200,000 acre agrlculLural concesslon
ln Pugawng valley borderlng and wlLhln Lhe Pugawng valley 1lger 8eserve ln wesLern kachln
SLaLe ln 2006.
xx
?uzana made an agreemenL wlLh Lhe Lhen norLhern 8eglonal Commander
Ma[. Cen. Chn MylnL on Lhe concesslon area, and Lhen Lhe Lownshlp SL8u was broughL lnLo
Lhe negouauons. 1he loresL ueparLmenL was excluded. 1he land LhaL Lhe SL8u demarcaLed
Lo ?uzana was lncluslve of boLh vlllager's cusLomary farmlng and vlllage land (even Lhough
some of Lhe land was reglsLered and marked on SL8u maps) as well as Lhe Pugawng valley
1lger 8eserve. 1he concesslon land lncludes foresL, weLland, and ßooded land, as well as
vlllager's paddy farms. 1he loresL ueparLmenL made ?uzana keep a 10 km foresLed corrldor
for ugers Lo poLenually pass Lhrough Lhe valley from one mounLaln Lo Lhe nexL.
8eporLedly nearly 14 vlllages are lncluded wlLhln Lhe concesslon area, wlLh an esumaLed
3,000 vlllagers alone ln [usL one parL of ?uzana's concesslon.
86
1he counLry's largesL prlvaLe
land concesslon has auracLed growlng dlsconLenL from forclbly relocaLed vlllagers. ?uzana
has planLed Lens of Lhousands of acres of cassava for Lhe Chlnese blofuel markeL, whlle
sugarcane ls of less lnLeresL aL Lhls ume due Lo a lower markeL prlce compared Lo cassava.
Powever ?uzana has a sugarcane seed bank Lo prepare for commerclal planung ln Lhelr
concesslon beglnnlng ln 2011. 1he company has consLrucLed processlng planLs, sLorage
faclllues, dormlLorles for laborers, warehouses, eLc.
?uzana ls noL uslng local labor buL raLher 8urman labor from CenLral 8urma and nargls-
añecLed vlllages ln Lhe lrrawaddy uelLa. Powever, aûer a few monLhs laborers oûen leave
for gold mlnlng where Lhey could make more money, so ?uzana ls Lrylng Lo use a smaller
number of laborers Lhrough Lhe use of large LracLors and harvesung machlnes from 1halland.
SubsequenLly, ?uzana has hlred 1hal drlvers Lo operaLe Lhe vehlcles.
When Lenslon was bulldlng beLween Lhe governmenL and Lhe kachln lndependence
xx
ulñerenL medla sources quoLe varlous slzes of Lhe concesslon, mosL oûen 200,000 acres buL someumes
also 300,000 acres, and a few even clLe 400,000 acres.
The Burma Environmental Working Group (BEWG)
40
Crganlzauon (klC) leadlng up Lo Lhe nauonal elecuons, ?uzana allegedly armed abouL 800
?uzana employees, many of whom are former soldlers ln Lhe 8urma Army, wlLh mlllLary
Lralnlng provlded by lnfanLry 8auallon 297 ln !ahLuzup vlllage. ÞrlvaLe securlLy hlred by
?uzana and 8urma Army soldlers guard Lhe facLory zone, whlle abouL 200 soldlers from
lnfanLry 8auallon 297 ln !ahLuzup vlllage paLrol Lhe mlddle concesslon area.
87
 
Much of ?uzana's concesslon ls foresL land, where Lechnlcally Lhe lu has [urlsdlcuon over
Lhe Lrees, alLhough ?uzana has user rlghLs Lo Lhe land accordlng Lo Lhelr lease. Local vlllagers
reporL LhaL ?uzana ls selllng hlgh-value umber wlLhln Lhe concesslon, presumably on Lhe
black markeL, and LhaL only Lhe non-valuable specles are burned or hauled away for vlllagers
Lo use as ñrewood. Accordlng Lo one reporL, ln !une 2009, almosL 30 Lrucks of hardwood
logs per day were seen leavlng Lhe valley Lo Mogaung Lraln sLauon. 1he clear-cuL logglng
wlLhln ?uzana's concesslon ls desLroylng Lhe uger hablLaL and one of Lhe world's mosL
valuable lowland ralnforesLs and weLlands. ln parucular, Lhe no. 1 1lger Conservauon Camp
near nawng Ml vlllage has been logged.
88
1he land conñscauon and Lransformauon ln Pugawng valley has noL been wlLhouL coerclon
and vlllager's backlash. 1he Pugawng valley uevelopmenL and AgrlculLural Þlannlng
Commluee (PvuAÞC), composed of 19 represenLauves from ñve dlñerenL vlllages and over
800 farmers, slgned a peuuon leuer ln 2007 senL lL Lo Senlor Ceneral 1han Shwe over Lhe
lmpacL of Lhe ?uzana concesslon on Lhelr llves and llvellhoods and Lhelr lack of adequaLe
compensauon.
89
uesplLe Lhelr grassrooLs organlzlng eñorLs, by lebruary 2010 over 130
households ouL of abouL 1,000 households ln a LoLal of 6 vlllages (Warazup, nansal, 8ankawk,
La !a Þa, Awngra and !ahLuzup) were forced oñ Lhelr lands and relocaLed Lo a ?uzana 'model
vlllage' wlLh poor farmlng land wlLhouL ñshlng grounds.
90
Cne nCC has so far documenLed
3,600 acres of land conñscaLed ln 11 vlllages.
91
Many of Lhem were coerced lnLo Laklng
compensauon funds, alLhough some reslsLed as Lhey found lL lnadequaLe.
1he slLuauon escalaLed when ln !uly 2010 a group of Lhe aggrleved farmers ñled a lawsulL
on behalf of all Lhe farmers whose land was Laken agalnsL ?uzana due Lo Lhelr grlevances.
larmers re[ecLed ?uzana's oñer of paymenLs of 80,000 kyaL ($80) per acre (300,000 kyaL
per acre ls clalmed Lo be a more accuraLe value) Lo a maxlmum of 300 evlcLed farmers lf
Lhey dropped Lhe case, and pushed ahead ln Lhe kachln SLaLe courL.
92
A few hundred vlllagers
have been pursulng an lnLernauonal Labor Crganlzauon (lLC) lnvesugauon ln parallel
93
-
alLhough lL has bourne llule frulL yeL. ln CcLober, however, Lhe courL cleared PLay MylnL
from any wrong dolng and lnsLead placed Þu kyl, PLay MylnL's broLher, as responslble.
94
  
AL Lhls ume, Ms. 8awk !a, Lhe appolnLed leader of Lhe farmers brlnglng sulL ln Lhe courL
case, declded Lo Lake her ñghL lnLo Lhe nauonal pollucal spoLllghL by conLesung Lhe november
nauonal elecuons as a candldaLe from Lhe nauonal uemocrauc lorce (nul) ln PpakanL
1ownshlp. She LhoughL conLesung Lhe elecuons would glve her added proLecuon as she
conunued her ñghL ln Lhe courLs. . Per opposlng candldaLe was Ma[. Cen. Chn MylnL, Lhe
former norLhern mlllLary commander wlLh deep buslness relauons ln Lhe conLesLed mlnlng
Lownshlp.
95
Aûer Lhe 'pre-casL voLes' were counLed, she losL.
ln early !anuary 2011 Lhe MylLkylna courL ordered PLay MylnL Lo pay 80,000 kyaL per acre
of paddy and 130,000 kyaL per house conñscaLed, alLhough only some farmers were ellglble
BURMA’S ENVIRONMENT: PEOPLE, PROBLEMS, POLICIES
41
Lo recelve compensauon.
96
1hls ls Lhe same amounL orlglnally oñered Lo Lhe vlllagers. Aûer
elecuons Ms. 8awk !a wenL lnLo hldlng for proLecuon aûer many auLhorlLy ñgures Lrled Lo
apprehend her for quesuonlng and arresL.
97
Addluonal reporLed ?uzana company abuses
ln Lhe area lnclude rape.
98
 
I|gure 2 ¥uzana company bu||doz|ng |and for a cassava mono p|antanon, nugawng
va||ey nger reserve. kDNG, 2010.
4.3 Economic development and natural resources in Burma
4.3.1 Political Economy of Land Development
Slnce Lhe early 1990s Lhe 8urmese generals have slowly dlsmanLled Lhe soclallsL apparaLus
Lo rebulld a parually caplLallsL markeL economy, buL wlLh a llngerlng soclallsL ldeology, laws
and pollcles. Arucle (33) of Lhe 2008 ConsuLuuon sLaLes LhaL, º1he economlc sysLem of Lhe
unlon ls a markeL economy sysLem." Sean 1urnell, an economlsL focused on 8urma, noLes
LhaL 8urma lacks baslc markeL lnsuLuuons such as Lhe rule of law and sound properLy rlghLs,
and operaLes accordlng Lo a seL of parallel rules of lnformal economy seL by Lhe sLaLe and
economlc ellLes such as ºarblLrary procedures for dlspuLe seulemenL, nepousuc paLron-
cllenL relauonshlps beLween Lhe mlllLary, sLaLe and buslness and exLra legal allocauons of
naLural resource concesslons".
99
1he resulL has been nelLher reaplng Lhe proposed equlLy
of soclallsm nor Lhe economlc llfellne of caplLallsm, lnsLead a raLher dlsasLrous colluslon of
Lhe Lwo pollucal economlc sysLems has leû farmers and urban poor hlghly vulnerable Lo
some secLors operaung ln Lhe markeL economy buL wlLhouL adequaLe laws and pollcles Lo
proLecL Lhem.
The Burma Environmental Working Group (BEWG)
42
lor example, Lhe sLaLe sull owns all land and resources ln Lhe counLry, wlLh mosL vlllagers
havlng no formal land uLle for Lhelr cusLomary agrlculLural land. new pollcles have been
passed, however, allocaung land concesslons Lo prlvaLe enuues whlch do noL respecL
cusLomary land or lnformal land holdlngs. 1he resulL ls an lncreaslng number of land ploLs
and greaLer acreage falllng under Lhe conLrol of companles aL Lhe expense of smallholder
farmers, who have no legal recourse Lo hold onLo Lhelr land agalnsL encroachlng buslnessmen
(see secuon 4.2). 1hls 'nelLher-soclallsm-nor-caplLallsm' scenarlo ln 8urma ls especlally
dangerous due Lo Lhe pollucal cllmaLe ln Lhe counLry as well as Lhe absence of any safeguards
Lo proLecL farmers from Lhe onslaughL of caplLallsm or mechanlsms Lo help Lhem beneñL.
Condluons are now ln place for repeaung hlsLory ln Lhe mld-1900s wlLh peasanLs defaulung
on Lhelr loans and subsequenLly loslng Lhelr land Lo lndlan Chemars - whlch led Lo soclal
upheaval and evenLually Lrlggered 8urma's experlmenL wlLh auLhorlLarlan soclallsm.
varlous laws and pollcles have been enacLed and lmplemenLed ln Lhe 1990s and 2000s
whlch have led Lo Lhe prlvaLe secLor, boLh domesuc and lnLernauonal, Lo engage ln Lhe
resource exLracuon secLors, lncludlng mosL recenLly large-scale agrlculLural land concesslons
(see secuon 4.2 on land and agrlculLural laws/pollcles for more lnformauon on Lhe dlñerenL
laws and pollcles whlch have ushered ln Lhe lnvolvemenL of prlvaLe lnvesLmenL ln 8urma).
lL seems LhaL Lhe recenL spaLe of seml-prlvauzauon ls a sLraLegy by Lhe mlllLary generals Lo
sull generaLe a means of economlc and pollucal supporL and lnßuence ln a posL-elecuon
8urma, as prlvaLe concesslons are all alloued Lo reglme-favored 8urmese companles ln a
compleLely non-LransparenL nor 'free-and-falr' manner.
Burmese Agribusiness Companies
Cverall Lwo dlñerenL pollucal-economlc Lra[ecLorles are Laklng place ln 8urma: emerglng
opporLunlues for 8urmese buslnessmen Lo lnvesL ln land and resources ln 8urma, and
secondly, bllaLeral resource exLracuon agreemenLs wlLh Lhe 8urmese leaders and forelgn
governmenLs and corporauons. 8oLh scenarlos are beglnnlng Lo converge lnLo a slLuauon
of much hlgher ßows of domesuc and Lransnauonal ñnance caplLal lnLo varlous resource
secLors, lncludlng land as a valuable asseL. Whlle of course Lhe masslve forelgn resource
exLracuon concesslons, such as ln oll, gas and hydropower, should conunue Lo recelve
careful auenuon and scruuny, domesuc processes supporung prlvaLe lnvesLmenL, especlally
land as a valuable resource ln lLself, ls hlghly lmporLanL yeL relauvely unsLudled. Slnce 2008
aûer Cyclone nargls Lhe generals, lobbled by Lhe 8urmese prlvaLe secLor, appear Lo be
changlng Lhelr approach Lo how land and resources should be used and managed by 8urmese
prlvaLe companles. lL ls suspecLed Lhe posL-elecuon governmenL wlll laLch onLo economlc
growLh Lo bolsLer lLs domesuc and lnLernauonal leglumacy and popularlLy.
Agrlbuslness ln 8urma ls perhaps Lhe newesL form of prlvaLe-publlc parLnershlps ln Lhe
counLry. 1he rural populauon LhaL engages prlmarlly ln agrlculLure ls 70-80° of Lhe counLry's
LoLal populauon, wlLh Lhe agrlculLural secLor accounung for abouL 33 percenL of Lhe counLry's
GDP.
100
Many facLors have helped form such an agrlbuslness envlronmenL, such as posL-
nargls agrlculLural ald and recovery, new llmlLed governmenL loans Lo 8urmese companles
Lo engage ln large-scale agrlculLural producuon, a deslre for 8urmese companles Lo advance
modern agrlculLural Lechnlques Lo lncrease yleld (and Lherefore proñL), and Lhe cenLral
governmenL's recenL declarauon of 8urma belng a ºfood surplus counLry" wlLh new prlorlLy
on exporung agrlculLural commodlues.
BURMA’S ENVIRONMENT: PEOPLE, PROBLEMS, POLICIES
43
nearly all agrlculLural concesslons ln Lhe counLry are run by 8urmese companles. 1here are
very few 100 percenL forelgn-owned agrlculLural operauons funcuonlng ln 8urma due Lo
very hlgh Laxes and an exLremely resLrlcuve buslness envlronmenL. Powever, lL ls suspecLed
LhaL many of Lhem have forelgn lnvesLmenL backlng, dependlng on Lhe slze of Lhe concesslon,
lLs locauon, and Lhe crop belng planLed (e.g., malnland Chlnese for rubber ln Lhe norLh,
Malayslan Chlnese for oll palm ln 1ennasserlm, eLc.). WlLh Lhe generals' recenL push for
lncreased agrlculLural commodlLy exporL, 30-40 favored 8urmese companles were selecLed
Lo help reallze Lhls new pollcy dlrecuve, whlch resulLed ln large-scale agrlculLural concesslons
belng allocaLed Lo Lhem. 8y 2010 a LoLal of 1.7 mllllon acres had been reporLed as allocaLed
Lo 216 companles ln eleven sLaLes and dlvlslons. Whlle nearly half of Lhe LoLal acreage
allocaLed was ln 1ennasserlm (ln supporL of oll palm planLauon developmenL, mosLly
caplLallzed by u PLay MylnL's ?uzana Company), Lhe nexL hlghesL amounL of acreage alloued
by sLaLes and dlvlslons was kachln SLaLe aL nearly 400,000 acres (1/2 of whlch ls ?uzana's
sugarcane concesslon ln Pugawng valley 1lger 8eserve).
101
   
Powever, Lhese concesslons are locaLed ln marglnal lands and wlLh no supporL from Lhe
governmenL. Much of Lhe land ls oûen noL developed by Lhe company for lLs speclñed
agrlculLural producuon, and oûenumes when Lhe company esLabllshes Lhe planLauon, ylelds
are conslderably low. As a resulL, Lhese same 8urmese companles are now engaglng ln
conLracL farmlng so Lo compensaLe for Lhe lack of reLurn from Lhelr large concesslons LhaL
requlred masslve ñnanclal lnvesLmenLs, slnce Lhey obLalned agrlculLural commodlLy exporL
quoLas along wlLh Lhelr concesslons. 1he company provldes Lhe lnpuLs (loans for chemlcals
and seeds) whlle Lhe farmer provldes Lhe land and labor. 1he buslnessmen can Lhen exporL
Lhe agrlculLural produce purchased from farmers, whlch ls how Lhey can compensaLe for
Lhelr ñnanclal loss ln developlng Lhelr awarded concesslon. AnoLher conLracL farmlng
arrangemenL LhaL ls emerglng ls farmers worklng on Lhe company's concesslon, ln exchange
for renL - buL Lhls oñers very llule beneñL Lo farmers aL Lhe expense of Lhe new landlord.
1hese new dynamlcs ln Lhe counLry's agrlculLural secLor are maklng blg changes ln Lhe way
LhaL agrlculLural land and Lhe rural labor force ls used and managed. 1hls represenLs a Lrend
of furLher marglnallzauon of farmers from worklng Lhelr land Lowards belng wage laborers
for large and powerful 8urmese companles.
1he way agrlculLural land developmenL ls unfoldlng ln Lhe norLhern eLhnlc sLaLes of Lhe
counLry (kachln and Shan SLaLes) ls very dlñerenL Lhan ln 8urman areas ln Lhe CenLral ury
Zone, delLa reglons, and 1enasserlm ulvlslon. ln kachln and Shan SLaLes, Lhere ls very llule
acuvlLy by Lhese well-placed 8urmese companles based ln 8angoon. lL ls mosLly conducLed
by Chlnese buslnessmen and lnvesLors, oûen umes behlnd a local Chlnese-8urmese
buslnessman, mosLly based ln MylLkylna and Lashlo. 1he mlllLary auLhorlues ln Lhe area,
especlally reglonal mlllLary commanders, play an lmporLanL role ln admlnlsLerlng conLracLs
for larger land concesslons. ln areas conLrolled by eLhnlc pollucal groups, Lhen Lhe Chlnese
buslnessmen musL work Lhrough hlgher levels of Lhose eLhnlc pollucal parues. nearly all
Chlnese agrlbuslness lnvesLmenL ln kachln and Shan SLaLes ls subsldlzed by Chlna's nauonal
oplum crop subsuLuuon pollcy.
102
ln 2006 Lhe Chlnese governmenL lncreased ñnanclal lncenuves Lo encourage Chlnese
buslnesses lnvesung ln oplum subsuLuuon developmenL ln norLhern 8urma and Laos. 1hls
The Burma Environmental Working Group (BEWG)
44
lncludes sLaLe-backed subsldles for Chlnese buslnessmen lnvesung ln agrlculLural planLauons
ln norLhern 8urma, lncludlng Larlñ-free lmporL quoLas. 1he Myanmar governmenL lncludes
ln Lhelr annual sLausucs a caLegory for 'Annual and Þerennlal Crops SubsuLuung for Cplum
Þoppy ln 8order Area', Lhe only lndlcaLor lssued by Lhe governmenL on acreage sown by
oplum crop subsuLuuon pro[ecLs. lor annual crops, a LoLal of over 1.3 mllllon acres were
sown by 2006-07. Þerennlal crops have been pro[ecLed Lo reach over 600,000 acres ln
2007-8, over 30 percenL markup from Lhe year before wlLh nearly 400,000 acres, whlch
was over 110 percenL lncrease from Lhe year prlor.
103
As can be seen, Lhe dramauc and
conunual lncrease ln area planLed does lndeed colnclde wlLh Chlna's oplum crop subsuLuuon
pollcy belng redeslgned ln 2006 wlLh furLher sLaLe supporL and broughL Lo norLhern Myanmar
by Chlnese buslnessmen.
WheLher ln Lhe norLhern eLhnlc areas, Lhe CenLral ury Zone, Lhe delLa reglon, or Lhe far
souLh, farmers ln 8urma are loslng Lhelr land, llvellhoods and dlgnlLy. Lven governmenL
daLa lllusLraLes Lhe Lrends LhaL smallholder farmers' land ls gemng smaller and fewer ln
number, whlle very large landholdlngs are growlng exponenually. Whlle Lhe 8urmese
governmenL conunues Lo supporL favored 8urmese companles Lo engage ln Lhe reglme's
varlous agrlculLural schemes, no pollcles have been enacLed Lo supporL smallholder farmers
ln 8urma. lurLhermore, no laws or pollcles exlsL Lo deal wlLh Lhe lncreaslng occurrence of
farmers belng evlcLed from Lhelr subslsLence land Lo make way for prlvaLe land concesslons.
Foreign Direct Investment
A hosL of agreemenLs have been slgned wlLh forelgn governmenLs and corporauons on
resource exLracuon pro[ecLs, especlally ln Lhe oll and gas, hydropower and mlnlng secLors,
as laLer ouLllned ln Lhls reporL. ln parucular, Chlnese lnvesLmenL ln varlous secLors has
soared ln Lhe lasL decade, wlLh 2010 wlLnesslng unprecedenLed economlc cooperauon
beLween 8urma and Chlna. uurlng recenL vlslLs by Lhree of Lhe nlne members of Lhe ÞollLburo
SLandlng Commluee, Lhe respecuve leaders slgned 33 economlc agreemenLs. And when
Senlor Ceneral 1han Shwe vlslLed 8el[lng ln SepLember 2010, he repuLedly wanLed Lo learn
abouL Chlna's economlc reform.
104
AlLhough skewed by masslve resource exLracuon pro[ecLs recenLly slgned, Lhe amounL of
Chlnese lnvesLmenL beLween [usL Aprll and AugusL 2010 represenLed Lwo Lhlrds of Chlna's
LoLal lnvesLmenL ln Lhe counLry ln Lhe pasL Lwo decades. Chlnese companles have lnvesLed
$8.2 bllllon uSu ln Lhe resource secLor ln March 2010 alone, lncludlng $3 bllllon ln
hydropower, $2.13 bllllon ln oll/gas secLor, and nearly $1 bllllon ln mlnlng.
103
1hls lnvesLmenL
ls parL of a Chlnese governmenL 30-year lnLeresL-free loan ln SepLember 2010 amounung
Lo 30 bllllon ?uan ($4.2 bllllon uSu) Lo 8urma for economlc developmenL Lo help fund
hydropower pro[ecLs, road consLrucuon, rallway developmenL and lnformauon Lechnology
developmenL.
106
noL only hlgh-proñle agreemenLs on resource exLracuon pro[ecLs, buL also
border Lrade remalns a very lmporLanL faceL Lo Lhe Lwo counLrles, wlLh bllaLeral Lrade ln
Lhe ñrsL four monLhs of 2010 [umplng over 73 percenL, alLhough Lhls ls due Lo lncreaslng
Chlnese exporL goods lnLo 8urma.
107
?unnan relles on 8urma for Lhree-fourLhs of lLs cross-
border Lrade, amounung Lo [usL over 12 percenL of lLs annual forelgn Lrade. Whlle 8urma
ls ?unnan's largesL exporL markeL, lL ls also Lhe second-largesL lmporL markeL, especlally
relylng on lmporLed agrlculLural commodlues, 8urma's mosL slgnlñcanL exporL producL.
108
 
BURMA’S ENVIRONMENT: PEOPLE, PROBLEMS, POLICIES
45
Cf course Chlna ls noL Lhe only lnvesLor ln 8urma, alLhough cerLalnly Lhe mosL hlghly proñled,
and wlll cerLalnly be Lhe number one forelgn lnvesLor aûer some of lLs recenL lnvesLmenLs
ln oll, gas and hydropower go onllne. korea and 1halland, among oLher counLrles, also
provlde ample lul ln 8urma from Lhelr masslve resource exLracuon pro[ecLs (see more ln
secuon 4.3.2).
1hese ñgures however glve an lncompleLe undersLandlng of Lhe degree Lo whlch forelgn
governmenL omclals and companles are lnvolved ln resource exLracuon conLracLs. none of
Lhls daLa records lnformal buslness deals, lllegal lmporLs and exporLs (noL Lhrough
governmenL-conLrolled check polnLs), nor lnvesLmenL ln areas conLrolled by eLhnlc pollucal
groups wlLh armed wlngs, such as unlLed Wa SLaLe ÞarLy (uWSÞ) and kachln lndependence
Crganlzauon (klC). uue Lo greaLer resLrlcuons and very hlgh Laxes, companles obLaln land
concesslons by lnformally supporung a 8urmese company, whlch ls Lhen noL earmarked as
forelgn lnvesLmenL.
4.3.2 Economic deveIopment, conñict and naturaI resources in ethnic areas
ConLrol over naLural resources ls a ma[or cause of conßlcL ln eLhnlc areas ln 8urma. lor
example, ln easLern 8urma Lhere has been lncreased mlllLarlzaLlon and wldespread
dlsplacemenL where Lhere are plans, backed by 1hal and Chlnese lnvesLors, Lo bulld a serles
of dams on Lhe Salween (1boolwlo ln 8urmese) 8lver. lor example, ln !une 2009 an oñenslve
ln karen SLaLe close Lo Lhe PaLgyl dam slLe on Lhe Salween 8lver drove over 3,000 karen
refugees lnLo 1halland.
109
Cbservers llnked Lhe oñenslve Lo Lhe need for Lhe SLaLe Þeace
and uevelopmenL Councll (SÞuC) and Lhe uemocrauc karen 8uddhlsL Army (uk8A) Lo galn
LerrlLorlal conLrol of Lhe areas around Lhe dam slLe.
Armed conßlcL over naLural resources llkely wlll conunue glven Lhese Lrends. 1he ma[orlLy
of 8urma's remalnlng valuable naLural resources are locaLed ln areas where eLhnlc ceaseñre
and non-ceaseñre groups operaLe. lorelgn dlrecL lnvesLmenL ln 8urma ls concenLraLed ln
energy and exLracuve lndusLrles
110
and recenLly Lhere has been a helghLened lnLeresL from
counLrles ln Lhe reglon for more lnvesLmenL opporLunlues. Clven Lhe lack of sound economlc
pollcy and soclal and envlronmenLal regulauons, an lncrease ln forelgn lnvesLmenL could
have a ma[or negauve lmpacL on Lhe envlronmenL and communlues llvlng ln Lhese areas.
Þlanned oll and gas plpellnes backed by Chlna Lhrough Arakan SLaLe, Magway ulvlslon,
Mandalay ulvlslon, and Shan SLaLe have already resulLed ln lncreased mlllLarlzauon and
dlsplacemenL of communlues along Lhe plpellne area.
111
 
112
 
113
1he pro[ecLs, currenLly under
consLrucuon, rlsk conLrlbuung Lo armed conßlcL ln Shan SLaLe and desLablllzlng economlc
and reglonal securlLy. 1he proposed paLh of Lhe plpellnes ln Lhe conLesLed LerrlLorles of
norLhern Shan SLaLe ls seL Lo Lraverse areas occupled by Lhe kachln lndependence Army's
(klA) 4Lh 8rlgade, Lhe kachln uefense Army (kuA), and Lhe Shan SLaLe Army-norLh (SSA-n)
1sL 8rlgade.
114
1here are already reporLs of ñghung beLween Lhe Shan SLaLe Army-norLh
1sL 8rlgade and Lhe 8urma Army ln Lhe vlclnlLy of Lhe plpellne rouLe.
115
 
1hls mlrrors Lhe developmenL model lmposed durlng Lhe consLrucuon of Lhe noLorlous
?adana and ?eLagun gas plpellnes ln 1ennaserlm ulvlslon.
116
1he plpellnes were consLrucLed
ln Lhe 1990s by lrench, Amerlcan, 1hal, Malayslan, and !apanese oll companles ln parLnershlp
wlLh Lhe Myanmar Cll and Cas LnLerprlse (MCCL) and Lhe 8urma Army Lhrough areas
The Burma Environmental Working Group (BEWG)
46
Lradluonally conLrolled by eLhnlc karen and Mon armed groups - Lhe knLA and MnLA,
respecuvely. 1o make way for Lhe plpellnes, Lhe 8urma Army conñscaLed land and commlued
forced labor, LorLure, and kllllngs whlle acung as securlLy forces for Lhe oll ñrms. Many of
Lhese abuses conune Loday by bauallons provldlng securlLy for Lhe oll companles and Lhe
plpellnes.
117
 
118
ln 1993-1996, Lhere were aL leasL Lhree auacks ln Lhe ?adana plpellne area
by Lhe knLA, Lwo of whlch LargeLed Lhe plpellne speclñcally. 1he 8urma Army responded
by lnßlcung vlolence on lnnocenL vlllagers and execuung a vlllage headman and eleven
oLher clvlllans.
119
Slnce Lhen, numerous kllllngs ln Lhe area have been documenLed.
120
8urma has recenLly lncreased bllaLeral economlc lnvesLmenL ln energy pro[ecLs wlLh oLher
counLrles - mosL slgnlñcanLly Chlna, lndla and 1halland - on pro[ecLs ln eLhnlc areas. CLher
ASLAn counLrles lncludlng Malaysla and Slngapore, and Lhe 8epubllc of korea are also key
counLerparLs (for more lnformauon see secuon 3 of Lhls reporL).
Þre- and posL-elecuon pollucal developmenLs dld noL ease Lenslons beLween eLhnlc ceaseñre
and non-ceaseñre groups and Lhe governmenL. Leadlng up Lo Lhe elecuons Lhe governmenL
applled heavy pressure on eLhnlc cease-ñre groups Lo Lransform lnLo border guard forces
(8Cl) as well as blocklng cerLaln eLhnlc pollucal parues from enLerlng Lhe elecuon. 1he
governmenL also subdued eLhnlc pollucal parues by dlsenfranchlslng resldenLs ln 300 vlllages
ln several Lownshlps ln kachln, karennl, Mon and Shan SLaLes and four Lownshlps ln Lhe
Wa's self admlnlsLered dlvlslon.
121
 
122
lurLhermore, armed groups have begun Lo reorganlze.
ln SepLember 2010 eLhnlc armed groups from kachln, Shan, Mon, Chln, karennl and karen
areas agreed Lo provlde mlllLary asslsLance Lo each oLher lf needed. lndeed, ñghung broke
ouL beLween Lhe SÞuC armed forces and uk8A 8rlgade 3 - a breakaway facuon of Lhe uk8A
LhaL refused Lo Lransform lnLo a 8Cl - ln Myawaddy and 1hree Þagodas Þass ln Lhe wake
of Lhe elecuons ln early november 2010, forclng Lhousands Lo ßee across Lhe border lnLo
1halland. ApproxlmaLely 30,000 refugees have ßed across Lhe border lnLo 1halland slnce
Lhe elecuons, lncludlng hundreds from dlrecLly upsLream of Lhe dam slLe (for more
lnformauon see secuon 3.1).
123
 
124
 
125
 
126
 
127
Whlle lndlcaLors polnL Lo a llkellhood of lncreased conßlcL ln eLhnlc areas (even war as
ceaseñre deals fall aparL from some groups), Lhere ls also a posslblllLy of decreased vlolence
due Lo economlc mouvauons. lnvesLmenL could resulL ln lessenlng conßlcL as local deals
are made beLween buslnesspeople, Lhe governmenL and local eLhnlc leaders. ln Lhe cease-
ñre agreemenLs of Lhe early 1990s, Lhe mlllLary reglme commonly oñered co-operauve
arrangemenLs Lo eLhnlc leaders Lo explolL naLural resources lf Lhey agreed Lo a cease-ñre.
Powever, whlle more ceaseñre deals may dampen overL vlolence, as can be seen from
prevlous ceaseñres LhaL vlolence ls Lransformed lnLo new Lypes of conßlcL, such as Lhrough
soclal upheaval, lncreased drug use, mlgrauon, land conñscauon, eLc.
8eglonal pollucs could also play a role ln subdulng conßlcL. Chlna has made border sLablllLy
a Lop prlorlLy ln lLs engagemenL wlLh 8urma and border eLhnlc groups, especlally wlLh Lhe
unlLed Wa SLaLe Army (uWSA), kachln lndependence Army (klA), and nauonal uemocrauc
Alllance Army (nuAA), demonsLraung lLs concern LhaL LhreaLs Lo border sLablllLy would
LhreaLen lLs sLraLeglc and growlng economlc lnLeresLs.
xxl
 
xxl
8order sLablllLy was a prlorlLy durlng Lwo hlgh level vlslLs Lo 8urma ln 2009 and 2010, and agaln durlng
1han Shwe's vlslL Lo 8el[lng ln SepLember 2010. Chlna also faclllLaLed a serles of 13 negouauons beLween Lhe
BURMA’S ENVIRONMENT: PEOPLE, PROBLEMS, POLICIES
47
4.3.3 The Role of International Financial Institutions in Burma 
8urma currenLly has a subsLanual forelgn debL Lo mululaLeral lenders, mosL of lL whlch ls
formally ln arrears
xxll
. 8urma sLarLed borrowlng from Lhe World 8ank ln 1936, buL Lhere has
been no World 8ank loan slnce !uly 1987. 1he ouLsLandlng loans Lo Lhe World 8ank's
lnLernauonal uevelopmenL Assoclauon LoLal $719 mllllon uSu.
128
Slnce 1998, 8urma has
been ln ºnon-accrual sLaLus" wlLh Lhe World 8ank, meanlng LhaL Lhe overdue debL musL
be cleared before Lhere can be any new lendlng. Slmllarly, slnce 8urma became a member
of Lhe Aslan uevelopmenL 8ank (Au8) ln 1973 lL recelved loans LoLallng $330 mllllon uSu,
whlle Lhe counLry owes Lhe Au8 $323 mllllon uSu. Whlle noL recelvlng any dlrecL
developmenL ñnanclng from lnLernauonal ñnanclal lnsuLuuons (llls), 8urma recelves
asslsLance Lhrough a number of avenues. 1he lnLernauonal MoneLary lund conducLs ºArucle
lv consulLauons" whlch revlew a range of economlc pollcles of lLs member counLrles. SLañ
from Lhe World 8ank and Au8 have [olned Lhe consulLauons ln Lhe pasL. 1he lasL consulLauon
was held ln !anuary 2011.
129
 
130
1he Au8 has noL provlded any loans Lo 8urma slnce 1986-87. Powever, Lhe Au8 has provlded
and conunues Lo provlde oLher klnds of asslsLance Lhrough several channels. 1he ñrsL ls
Lhe CreaLer Mekong Subreglon (CMS) economlc cooperauon program
xxlll
ln whlch Lhe Au8
plays a faclllLaung and supporung role ln moblllzlng prlvaLe secLor lnvesLmenL. 1he purpose
of Lhe program ls Lo faclllLaLe reglonal growLh and developmenL. 1he Au8 funds 8urma's
paruclpauon ln CMS-relaLed acuvlues and pro[ecLs Lhrough Lhelr 8eglonal 1echnlcal
AsslsLance CranLs (8L1A).
xxlv
ln 2009 Lhe Au8 released a dlscusslon draû energy sLraLegy for Lhe CreaLer Mekong Sub-
reglon enuLled '8ulldlng a SusLalnable luLure: 1he CreaLer Mekong Subreglon'.
 131
1he sLudy
concludes LhaL energy lnLegrauon for all forms of energy lncludlng gas ls Lhe leasL cosL
soluuon Lo meeung energy demand ln Lhe reglon. 1hls ls Lhe ñrsL CMS energy sLraLegy Lo
lnclude naLural gas. As a ma[or source of gas ln Lhe reglon, 8urma ls lncluded ln Lhe model.
CurrenL bllaLeral Lrade wlLh 1halland ls menuoned and Lhe sLudy ouLllnes ln deLall Lhe
conLroverslal Shwe gas pro[ecL, whlch ls documenLed Lo have already resulLed ln human
rlghLs abuses (see secuon 3.2).
An assessmenL of blofuels ln 8urma, supporLed by Lhe Au8's CMS, promoLes Lhe developmenL
of a long-Lerm blofuel sLraLegy wlLh a focus on Iottopbo. A reporL enuLled ºSLaLus and
poLenual for Lhe developmenL of blofuels and rural renewable energy Myanmar" was
developed as parL of Lhe SLraLeglc lramework for 8lofuel uevelopmenL ln Lhe CreaLer
Mekong Subreglon whlch promoLes blo-fuels as a soluuon Lo energy deñclency ln Lhe CMS.
kachln lndependence Crganlzauon (klC) and Lhe governmenL beLween Aprll 2009 and Aprll 2010, encouraglng
dlalogue and resLralnL. lnLernauonal Crlsls Croup, ºChlna's Myanmar SLraLegy: Llecuons, LLhnlc Þollucs and
Lconomlcs", updaLe 8rleñng, Asla 8rleñng no 112, 8el[lng/!akarLa/8russels, 21 SepLember 2010.
xxll
An arrears ls a debL whlch remalns unpald.
xxlll
1he CMS program comprlses Cambodla, Lhe Þeople's 8epubllc of Chlna, Lao Þeople's uemocrauc 8epubllc,
Myanmar, 1halland, and vleL nam. lor more lnformauon vlslL: hup://www.adb.org/gms/
xxlv
lrom 1 !anuary 1968 Lo 31 uecember 2009, consulLanLs were lnvolved ln 20,087 conLracLs for Au8 1A
pro[ecLs worLh $2.32 bllllon. uurlng Lhe same perlod, consulLanLs from Myanmar were lnvolved ln 23 conLracLs
for Au8 1A pro[ecLs worLh $1.28 mllllon. Au8, ºAu8 and Myanmar lacL SheeL", hup://www.adb.org/uocumenLs/
lacL_SheeLs/M?A.pdf, lasL accessed 7 november 2010.
The Burma Environmental Working Group (BEWG)
48
(for more lnformauon, see secuon 3.3).
AnoLher CMS lnluauve relaLed Lo 8urma ls Lhe 'LasL-WesL Lconomlc Corrldor' (LWLC) (or
'Asla Plghway') whlch ls a plan Lo esLabllsh a land rouLe connecung Lhe lndlan Ccean and
Lhe SouLh Chlna Sea Lhrough 8urma, 1halland, Laos, and vleLnam. Accordlng Lo Lhe Au8,
Lhe maln vlslon of Lhe LWLC ls Lo ºcreaLe an economlc corrldor LhaL wlll sumulaLe Lhe Lype
of economlc growLh LhaL reduces poverLy and ralses Lhe sLandards of llvlng ln Lhe areas
covered by Lhe corrldor."
132
1he orlglnal plan was Lo compleLe Lhe maln lnfrasLrucLure
componenLs of Lhe program by 2007. 1o daLe, Lhe ma[orlLy of lnfrasLrucLure has been
compleLed, buL Lhe porLs ln boLh vleLnam and 8urma have yeL Lo be ñnlshed. 1he road
beLween 1hlngannylnaug and Myawaddy ln 8urma, whlch ls parL of Lhe LWLC, ls mosLly
compleLe excepL for a 40 kllomeLer sLreLch Lhrough a conßlcL area ln karen SLaLe, where
Lhere are ongolng human rlghLs abuses.
133
1he bulldlng of Lhls sLreLch ls conLroverslal as lL
would provlde lncreased access Lo Lhe area for Lhe 8urmese mlllLary. lurLhermore, Lhe road
blsecLs several proLecLed areas ln Lhe norLhern parL of Lhe WesLern loresL Complex
xxv
and
consLrucuon would resulL ln logglng of Leak foresLs, LhreaLen wlldllfe and desLroy rare and
LhreaLened Lroplcal foresL ecosysLems.
As parL of Lhe LWLC, a border economlc zone (8LZ) ls slaLed Lo be esLabllshed ln Mae SoL
ln 1halland opposlLe Myawaddy ln karen SLaLe. An lndusLrlal and exporL processlng zone
also ls Lo be seL up ln Moulmeln (caplLal of Mon SLaLe). Accordlng Lo Lhe Au8's LasL WesL
Lconomlc Corrldor sLraLegy acuon plan 2009, ºLhe lndusLrlal LsLaLe AuLhorlLy of 1halland
(lLA1) has supporLed Lhe creauon of a 384 hecLare lndusLrlal esLaLe ln Myawaddy. 1wo-Lhlrds
of LhaL area would be deslgnaLed as an exporL processlng zone (LÞZ), and elecLrlclLy would
be supplled from Mae So[L] slnce local sources are unrellable. ln supporL of Lhese eñorLs,
a Lrade cenLer ls ln Lhe process of consLrucuon."
134
WlLh many of Lhe bulldlngs compleLe,
ln !uly 2007 Lhe 1hal governmenL was reconslderlng Lhe launchlng of a speclal economlc
zone beLween Mae SoL and Myawaddy, buL recenL conßlcL ln Myawaddy wlll llkely puL a
furLher delay on Lhese plans.
135
1he oLher CMS program LhaL lnvolves 8urma ls Lhe CMS Mekong Þower Crld, whlch ls
promoLed under Lhe '8eglonal Þower lnLerconnecuon and Þower 1rade ArrangemenLs'.
Accordlng Lo Lhe plan, ñrsL proposed ln 1994, a serles of hydropower schemes ln Laos,
8urma, Cambodla and ?unnan Þrovlnce, Chlna, wlll exporL elecLrlclLy Lo 1halland and
vleLnam. A reglonal Lransmlsslon grld wlll be bullL Lo connecL Lhese schemes. 1he LoLal cosL
for Lransmlsslon and generauon ls $43 bllllon uSu.
136
 
137
lnLernauonal 8lvers research shows
LhaL ºso far Lhe plannlng process has been poor wlLh llLerally no paruclpauon by clvll socleLy
groups, and llule conslderauon of Lhe lmpacL of Lhe dams on Lhe envlronmenL or llvellhoods.
8oLh nauonal and reglonal elecLrlclLy plannlng processes Lo daLe have falled Lo meeL
lnLernauonal sLandards, such as Lhe prlnclples of lnLegraLed 8esource Þlannlng. As a resulL,
elecLrlclLy demand, ln parucular ln 1halland and vleLnam where much of Lhe dams' elecLrlclLy
wlll be consumed, ls over-esumaLed and Lhe poLenual conLrlbuuon LhaL renewable and
xxv
1he WesLern loresL Complex lncludes Lhe kayah-karen MonLane 8aln loresLs, whlch exLend souLh lnLo
Lhe 1enasserlm (1anlnLharyl) ulvlslon.
 
1he reglon conLalns malnland SouLheasL Asla's largesL remalnlng Lroplcal
and sub-Lroplcal molsL broadleaf foresLs. 1o help proLecL Lhese specles, Lhe World Wlldllfe lund has added
Lhe kayah-karen loresLs Lo lLs llsL of Lhe planeL's 200 mosL lmporLanL eco-reglons.
 
hup://www.earLhrlghLs.
org/publlcauon/easL-wesL-economlc-corrldor
BURMA’S ENVIRONMENT: PEOPLE, PROBLEMS, POLICIES
49
decenLrallzed energy, energy emclency and demand slde managemenL could make ls noL
fully pursued".
138
1he Au8 supporLs Lhe plan for reglonal lnLegrauon of power by hosung
regular reglonal meeungs beLween governmenLs, fundlng sLudles, and ñnanclng several
Lransmlsslon llnes.
139
Whlle, noL dlrecLly funded by Lhe Au8 Lhe masLer plan lncludes Lhe
1asang dam ln Shan sLaLe. 1he maln lnvesLors are LCA1 lnLernauonal and Lhe 1hree Corges
Croup Corporauon (see secuon 3.1).
8esldes Lhe CMS, Lhe Au8 ls lnvolved ln Lhe 8ay of 8engal lnluauve for Mulu-SecLoral
1echnlcal and Lconomlc Cooperauon (8lMS1LC) whlch conslsLs of 8angladesh, 8huLan,
lndla, 8urma, nepal, Srl Lanka and 1halland. 1he exLenL of asslsLance from Lhe Au8 Lo
8urma as parL of Lhls program ls noL clear.
140
Powever, 8urma ls currenLly Lhe focal polnL
for Lhe energy and agrlculLure commluees and Lhe laLesL MlnlsLerlal Meeung of 8lMS1LC
was held ln naypldaw ln !anuary 2011.
 141
A reglonal economlc co-operauon sLraLegy LhaL Lhe Au8 helped deslgn and supporL under
Lhe Ayeyawady-Chao Þhraya-Mekong Lconomlc Cooperauon SLraLegy (ACMLCS) paved Lhe
way for a plan for 1hal conLracL farmers Lo manage and culuvaLe more Lhan 7 mllllon hecLares
of land ln 8urma for sugarcane, oll palm, cassava, beans and rubber.
142
A memorandum of
undersLandlng slgned ln uecember 2003, deslgnaLed four areas ln karen and Mon SLaLes.
1he conLracL farms were all Lo be overseen by Lhe sLaLe-run 1hal nauonal Lconomlc and
Soclal uevelopmenL 8oard.
143
ln 2006, 29 1hal lnvesLors were allowed under Lhe orlglnal
Mou Lo exporL Lhelr producLs Lo 1halland duLy-free.
144
Agrlbuslness and Lhe 1hal governmenL
were Lhe key drlvers of Lhe pro[ecL, however ln 2010 Lhe MlnlsLry of AgrlculLure Lold Lhe
locus on Lhe Clobal SouLh
xxvl
LhaL conLracL farmlng ln 8urma was Lhe leasL successful amongsL
Lhe 3 nelghborlng counLrles because Lhe 8urmese governmenL dldn'L wanL 1hal Lraders Lo
Lrade wlLh eLhnlc groups along Lhe border so dld noL faclllLaLe Lhe lssulng of CeruñcaLe of
Crlgln for Lhem.
145
Accordlng Lo locus on Lhe Clobal SouLh, lnvesLors were mosLly small
and medlum Lraders LhaL had already been dolng Lrade across Lhe border ln 1ak and
kanchanaburl. 1he 0 Larlñ beneñued Lhem as dld Lhe legallzauon of Lhe ongolng Lrade.
1he bulk of produce broughL lnLo 1halland from 8urma durlng 2006-2008 under ACMLCS
were peanuL, mungbean and sesame. Cnly one sugar company lnvesLed ln growlng sugarcane
ln abouL 6000 ral of land and LhaL was Lhe blggesL agrlbuslness lnvesLor avallable ln reporLs
(ln 1hal), excepL for CÞ (corn growlng, feedmllls, llvesLock) whlch has been ln 8urma for
almosL 20 years.
146
As menuoned earller, unLÞ and Lhe Au8 commlssloned Lhe 2006 Lhe Myanmar LnvlronmenLal
Þerformance AssessmenL was publlshed as parL of a broader program called Lhe nauonal
Þerformance AssessmenL and SLraLeglc LnvlronmenL lramework of CreaLer Mekong
Subreglon (CMS). lL provldes some useful basellne daLa coverlng foresL resources,
blodlverslLy, land degradauon, managemenL of waLer resources, wasLe managemenL, alr
polluuon from moblle source and cllmaLe change.
 147
More recenLly, boLh Lhe Au8 and World 8ank gave supporL for rellef and reconsLrucuon
aûer Cyclone nargls Lhrough ASLAn. Aûer Lhe cyclone hlL, ASLAn, Lhe un, and Lhe 8urmese
governmenL seL up Lhe 1rlparuLe Core Croup Lo co-ordlnaLe needs assessmenLs and recelve
xxvl
locus on Lhe Clobal SouLh ls a program of progresslve developmenL pollcy research and pracuce LhaL
works on reglonal and global pollcy analysls, mlcro-macro llnklng and advocacy work www.focusweb.org
The Burma Environmental Working Group (BEWG)
50
ald from donors. 1he Au8 and World 8ank senL a number of experLs Lo provlde Lechnlcal
asslsLance for Lhe lnlual needs assessmenL of cyclone hlL areas. 8ased on Lhe resulung
reporL '1he ÞosL-nargls !olnL AssessmenL" (ÞCn!A), Lhe un lssued a call Lo Lhe lnLernauonal
donor communlLy Lo make conLrlbuuons of $1 bllllon uSu for recovery work ln 8urma over
Lhe nexL Lhree years. 1he World 8ank gave a granL of $830,000 uSu for ºdlsasLer assessmenL
and recovery acuvlues."
148
Clvll socleLy groups based on Lhe 1hal-8urmese border ralsed
concerns LhaL whlle Lhe ÞCn!A reporL deLalled Lhe lmpacL of Lhe cyclone and resulung
recovery needs ln many secLors and cyclone-añecLed areas, lL was noL comprehenslve or
ob[ecuve as Lhe governmenL llmlLed Lhe scope and assessmenL of Lhe reporL.
149
ln lebruary
2009, Lhe 1rlparuLe Core Croup publlshed a follow-up reporL ºÞosL-nargls 8esponse and
Þreparedness Þlan," whlch esumaLed $691 mllllon uSu would be needed for ºemergency
rellef and early recovery Lowards medlum-Lerm recovery."
130
 
151
ln uecember 2009, aL Lhe lnvlLauon of unLSCAÞ (unlLed nauons Lconomlc and Soclal
Commlsslon for Asla and Lhe Þaclñc), former World 8ank Chlef LconomlsL !oseph SugllLz
conducLed a Lrlp ln 8urma Lo advlse on economlc pollcy. 1he focus was on Lhe rural economy
and susLalnable agrlculLural developmenL. AL Lhe end of Lhe Lrlp he meL wlLh senlor
governmenL omclals, pollcy makers, developmenL pracuuoners and scholars aL LSCAÞs
Second uevelopmenL ÞarLnershlp 8oundLable and uevelopmenL lorum ln naypldaw. 1he
four maln recommendauons were: examlnlng credlL pollcles and lncreaslng farmers access
Lo credlL, soclal proLecLlon for farmers (lncludlng crop lnsurance and employmenL
guaranLees), movlng from a labor lnLenslve sysLem Lo a more Lechnology and knowledge
based sysLem (whlch requlres educauon), and Lransparency ln ñnanclal sysLems and
allocaung nauonal revenue Lo where lL ls mosL needed.
152
SugllLz hlghllghLed gas and
hydropower and poLenual and acLual revenue sources, and polnLed ouL Lhe need for well
funcuonlng lnsuLuuons as crlucal Lo success.
153
 
154
Crlucs polnLed Lo Lhe decades of economlc
mlsmanagemenL, lack of comprehenslve plannlng, and Lhe need for pollucal and space and
wllllngness for genulne economlc reform before economlc pollcy changes are made. Sean
1urnell, AssoclaLe Þrofessor ln Lconomlcs aL Macquarle unlverslLy ln Sydney polnLed ouL
LhaL ls lmposslble for Lhe economy Lo be parually open Lo reform.
155
lurLhermore, neollberal
economlc reforms such as Lhose whlch SugllLz and Lhe World 8ank advocaLe are promoung
uncondluonal prlvaLe land rlghLs whlch can be boughL and sold on a land markeL, whlch
have ln oLher counLrles LhroughouL Lhe hlsLory of prlvauzauon hurL smallholder farmers.
5. THREATS TO ENVIRONMENT AND LIVELIHOODS 
1he ma[orlLy of 8urma's lncome comes from selllng oñ naLural resources, lncludlng bllllons
of dollars from gas and hydropower developmenL. lnvesLmenL comes from counLrles wlLhln
Lhe reglon- mosL slgnlñcanLly Chlna, lndla and 1halland. Malaysla, Slngapore, !apan, vleLnam
and korea are also key lnvesLors looklng Lo lncrease lnvesLmenLs aûer Lhe elecuons. 1hese
resource exLracuve lnvesLmenLs damage Lhe envlronmenL and LhreaLen local resource-based
llvellhoods, parucularly ln eLhnlc areas.
ln 2010 1ransparency lnLernauonal raLed 8urma alongslde AfghanlsLan ln second lasL place
(only Somalla was regarded as worse) ln lLs corrupuon percepuons lndex.
156
no laws exlsL
ln 8urma LhaL demand publlc paruclpauon or Lransparency ln declslon-maklng and ñnanclng
BURMA’S ENVIRONMENT: PEOPLE, PROBLEMS, POLICIES
51
of publlc pro[ecLs, proLecL farmers from large-scale lnvesLmenL LhaL leads Lo land conñscauon,
requlre soclal and envlronmenLal lmpacL assessmenLs, provlde labor regulauons for workers
on Lhe pro[ecLs, or allow famer's assoclauons or unlons. Laws are used noL Lo proLecL
people's rlghLs, buL Lo serve Lhe economlc lnLeresLs of Lhe 8urmese governmenL prlmarlly
Lhrough exLracung wealLh.
1here has been a conunulng lncrease ln mlllLarlzauon, large scale resource exLracuon and
lnfrasLrucLure developmenL ln 8urma. 1hese facLors are causlng wldespread dlsplacemenL
and human rlghLs abuses LhroughouL eLhnlc areas. 1hls ls parL of a sysLemauc plan of 8urma's
governmenL auempung Lo galn conLrol over naLural resource-rlch eLhnlc areas Lo creaLe
wealLh, and Lo consolldaLe lLs pollucal power base.
Analysls of developmenL ln 8urma should Lherefore also Lake lnLo serlous conslderauon
Lhe role of mlllLarlzauon connecLed Lo developmenL, and Lhe lmpllcauons lL has for boLh
Lhe surroundlng land and populauons conLalned Lhereln. Securlng resource-rlch lands for
large-scale resource exLracuon pro[ecLs or lnfrasLrucLure developmenL lncreases 8urmese
mlllLary and pollce presence whlch has serlous consequences for local populauons.
Cûenumes communlues are lmpllcaLed ln forced labor and porLerlng, forclbly relocaLed
wlLhouL compensauon, loss of Lradluonal farmlands and Lhelr llvellhoods - wlLhouL any
employmenL or oLher economlc beneñLs. MlllLarlzauon ls noL only llnked wlLh so-called
developmenL pro[ecLs, buL also wlLh conservauon. As Lhe case sLudy wlLh Lhe Pugawng
valley 1lger 8eserve clearly lllusLraLes, declarlng areas as conservauon zones also leads Lo
mlllLary securluzauon of Lhe surroundlng area and populauon. 8oLh developmenL and
conservauon resulL ln Lhe 8urmese mlllLary-sLaLe conLrolllng LerrlLory, lnLroduclng new
governance reglmes LhaL resLrlcL local populauons' freedoms and wellbelng.
1he markeL may open up furLher Lo forelgn lnvesLmenL aûer Lhe elecuons, buL wlLhouL any
proLecuons oñered Lo Lhose mosL vulnerable, Lhere could be dlre consequences for 8urma's
naLural resources, envlronmenL and rural populauons, parucularly ln eLhnlc ceaseñre and
non-ceaseñre areas where Lhe ma[orlLy of naLural resources remaln. 8ecenLly Lhere has
been a helghLened lnLeresL from nelghborlng counLrles Lo lnvesL furLher ln 8urma. lor
example, ln SepLember 2010, Lhe Chlnese governmenL agreed Lo glve a 30-year lnLeresL-
free loan of 30 bllllon ?uan ($4.2 bllllon uSu) Lo 8urma for economlc developmenL Lo help
fund hydropower pro[ecLs, road consLrucuon, rallway developmenL and lnformauon
Lechnology developmenL.
157
Cn november 2, 2010, 3 days before Lhe elecuons ln 8urma,
1halland's largesL consLrucuon company lLallan-1hal uevelopmenL was granLed a long-Lerm
concesslon Lo bulld a deep-sea porL ln souLh-easLern 8urma. 1he pro[ecL lncludes an elghL
lane hlghway Lhrough a conßlcL area where Lhe knLA operaLes ln 1ennasserlm ulvlslon,
connecung Lo kanchunaburl ln easLern 1halland.
158
1he pro[ecL ls parL of Lhe SouLh-SouLh
economlc corrldor llnklng Lhe proposed deep-sea porL Lo 1halland and Malaysla.  1he
conLracLor also plans for lL Lo be a loglsucs and Lradlng hub for Lhe reglon, alLhough ñnance
has noL yeL been secured for Lhe pro[ecL.
lndla's bllaLeral relauonshlp wlLh 8urma ls escalaung, wlLh Lrade up 26° and reachlng $1.19
bllllon uSu ln 2010.
159
1les beLween Lhe Lwo counLrles were ughLened durlng a 3-day vlslL
by 8urma's mlllLary chlef Senlor Ceneral 1han Shwe Lo meeL omclals ln uelhl ln !uly 2010.
Accordlng Lo 8urmese governmenL sources, Lhe vlslL was omclally ºrellglous ln naLure" buL
The Burma Environmental Working Group (BEWG)
52
also Lo dlscuss border securlLy and slgn agreemenLs on economlc co-operauon.
160
 
161
SLaLe
owned lndlan companles are currenLly lnvesung ln and plannlng Lo lnvesL ln a number of
pro[ecLs lncludlng Lhe gas and hydropower secLor, communlcauons and Lechnology and Lhe
kaladan Mulu-Modal 1ransporL Þro[ecL.
xxvll
 
5.1 Large Dams 
8urma's largely rural populauon relles heavlly on rlvers and sLreams for Lhelr llvellhoods
and culLure. 1hese are now under serlous LhreaL from dam developmenL. An esumaLed 48
hydropower pro[ecLs are currenLly belng planned, consLrucLed or already exlsL ln 8urma
on ma[or rlvers lncludlng Lhe Salween/1hanlwln, lrrawaddy, Chlndwln, and Sluaung, as well
as Lhelr LrlbuLarles.
 162 xxvlll
  8ased largely ln border and eLhnlc reglons, 23 of Lhose pro[ecLs
lnvolve mega dams, wlll cosL more Lhan an esumaLed uS$33 bllllon dollars
163
, wlll produce
an esumaLed 40,000 MW ln LoLal, and wlll brlng ln revenue esumaLed aL uS$4 bllllon dollars
annually.
 
1hese hydropower dams are expecLed Lo exporL up Lo 90° of Lhelr comblned
generauon Lo nelghborlng counLrles lnsLead of supplylng local populauons who face serlous
ongolng energy shorLages.
164
Mega-dams have already been bullL ln several eLhnlc areas,
such as Lhe LawplLa Pydropower Þro[ecL ln karennl SLaLe and Lower Þaunglaung and
kengLawng dams ln Shan sLaLe.
165
 
166
 
1here ls a rush amongsL 8urma's nelghbors Lo bulld and operaLe hydropower pro[ecLs. ln
Lhe ñrsL seven monLhs of Lhe 2010 - 2011 ñscal year one Lhlrd of LoLal forelgn lnvesLmenL
ln 8urma wenL lnLo Lhe hydropower secLor.
167
Corporauons and governmenLs from Chlna,
lndla, 1halland and 8angladesh have slgned memoranda wlLh Lhe 8urmese governmenL.
 

conLracLor from SwlLzerland, Colenco Þower Lnglneerlng has slgned an agreemenL Lo provlde
consulung servlces for ln-house englneerlng servlces on hydropower pro[ecLs ln Myanmar
(lncludlng Lhe 1amanLhl uam ln WesLern Sagalng ulvlslon and Lhe upper Þaunglaung dam
ln Shan sLaLe).
 168
 
169
1here are sull a number of pro[ecLs LhaL lL ls hard Lo obLaln lnformauon
on. 8ulldlng dams lnslde 8urma oñers an opporLunlLy Lo acqulre cheap elecLrlclLy for
nelghborlng counLrles, whlle lnvesLors are noL accounLable for Lhe negauve economlc, soclal
and envlronmenLal lmpacLs of Lhe dam bulldlng. lnvesLmenL revenue from Lhe sale of
elecLrlclLy wlll conLlnue Lo provlde flnanclal and pollLlcal supporL Lo Lhe 8urmese
governmenL.
170
Many of Lhe proposed dams are locaLed ln clvll war zones ln eLhnlc areas
where Lhere ls lncreased mlllLarlzauon and vlllagers face wldespread human rlghLs vlolauons
lncludlng forced relocauon and labor, and ln some cases, LorLure, rape and execuuon.
171
 
xxvll
1he lndlan governmenL slgned an agreemenL wlLh Lhe 8urmese mlllLary governmenL for Lhe kaladan
Mulu-Modal 1ranslL 1ransporL Þro[ecL ln Aprll 2008. 1he pro[ecL wlll connecL Lhe easLern lndlan seaporL of
kolkaLa wlLh Sluwe porL ln Arakan SLaLe by sea, lL wlll Lhen llnk Sluwe (Lhe caplLal of Arakan sLaLe) Lo Lhe
land-locked reglon of Mlzoram ln norLheasLern lndla vla rlver and road. lL ls anuclpaLed LhaL Lhe LransporL
sysLem wlll remaln fully owned by Lhe 8urmese sLaLe, buL be prlmarlly used by lndlan companles Lo lncrease
Lrade ln agrlculLural producLs wlLh SouLheasL Asla and llnk Lhe land-locked Mlzoram reglon Lo Lhe
sea. ConsLrucuon of Lhe porL aL Sluwe has already begun and lf Lhe pro[ecL proceeds as planned lL wlll have
exLenslve lmpacL on local llvellhoods, and exLreme envlronmenLal damage. A percelved need for hlgher levels
of securlLy ln areas surroundlng Lhe kaladan Þro[ecL, as well as aL oLher locauons deslgnaLed for large
developmenL pro[ecLs (hydropower and gas/oll) has resulLed ln a slgnlñcanL rlse ln Lhe mlllLary presence ln
WesLern 8urma and Arakan SLaLe ln parucular www.arakanrlvers.neL.
xxvlll
Whlle Lhere are 23 dams documenLed by 8urma 8lvers neLwork (88n) members ln Lhe 88n ºSave 8urma's
8lvers" brleñng avallable aL hup://www.burmarlversneLwork.org/resources/publlcauons/13/499.hLml, lf all
planned and consLrucLed dams ln 8urma are counLed, Lhe number ls much larger.
BURMA’S ENVIRONMENT: PEOPLE, PROBLEMS, POLICIES
53
As a resulL of dam-bulldlng hundreds of Lhousands of people wlll be leû wlLhouL Lhelr land,
homes and llvellhoods, and become lnLernally dlsplaced or mlgraLe Lo nelghborlng counLrles.
1housands have already been forclbly dlsplaced wlLhouL compensauon from mlllLarlzauon.
 172
 
1he dams wlll have a serlous lmpacL on food securlLy and healLh vulnerablllLy. 8efugees
and mlgranL workers wlll sLruggle for Lhelr survlval ln nelghborlng counLrles. lnLernally
dlsplaced vlllagers wlll be forced Lo ñnd land Lo farm and oLher sources of food ln surroundlng
foresLs. 1he dams wlll also decrease food securlLy Lhrough Lhelr negauve lmpacL on ñsherles
and rlver bank farms. 1here are concerns abouL healLh vulnerablllLy ln a counLry wlLh one
of Lhe worsL healLh sysLems ln Lhe world. ulrecL healLh concerns lncludlng lncreases ln
dlsease such as malarla, dengue and lymphauc ñlarlasls (as dam reservolrs provlde breedlng
grounds for mosqulLoes) and Loxlc releases ln dams whlch are close Lo mlnlng slLes.
173
 
Many of Lhe dams ln 8urma LhreaLen lnLernauonally-recognlzed blodlverslLy yeL almosL
none of Lhe slLes have been assessed for envlronmenLal lmpacLs, aparL from a few as
requesLed by forelgn lnvesLors Lo merely rubbersLamp Lhe pro[ecL. Cne sLudy of Lhe
blodlverslLy of Lhe Welgyl dam area on Lhe Salween 8lver documenLed 194 planL and 200
anlmal specles, lncludlng 42 endangered specles. 1he MylLsone uam aL Lhe conßuence of
Lhe lrrawaddy 8lver ln kachln SLaLe wlll ßood an area larger Lhan Slngapore ln one of Lhe
world's houesL ºhoLspoLs" of blodlverslLy, dlsplaclng over 13,000 people. uams locaLed ln
blodlverse areas wlll ßood rlch lowland areas where hundreds of unlque culuvaLed specles
could be losL forever.
 174
5.1.1 Dam projects: A closer look
Irrawaddy Myitsone Dam
1he planned lrrawaddy MylLsone dam pro[ecL ls locaLed aL Lhe conßuence of Lhe Mall and
n'Mal 8lvers, whlch forms Lhe sLarL of Lhe lrrawaddy 8lver proper ln kachln SLaLe. 1he
MylLsone wlll dlsplace 13,000 people, mosLly eLhnlc kachln, and desLroy Mall-n'Mal
conßuence, whlch Lhe kachln regard as Lhelr culLural hearLland.
175
1he dam ls belng
consLrucLed by Chlna's sLaLe-owned Chlna Þower lnvesLmenL Corporauon (CÞl) and 8urma's
Asla World Company. 1he dam wlll produce 6,000 MW of elecLrlclLy. Slx oLher dams are
also planned Lo be bullL on Lhe Mall and n'Mal 8lvers.
176
MosL of Lhe elecLrlclLy produced
by Lhe dam pro[ecLs wlll be sold Lo Chlna.
A serles of bomb blasLs happened near Lhe MylLsone dam slLes ln Aprll 2010.
xxlx
8y 23 !anuary
2011, 30 famllles surroundlng Lhe dam slLe had been forclbly relocaLed from Lhelr houses.
AlLhough more famllles are seL Lo be forclbly relocaLed Lo make way for Lhe dam, lL ls
uncerLaln aL Lhls polnL whaL Lhe ñnal number wlll be.
177
SecurlLy for Lhe pro[ecL ls belng
provlded by Lhe 8urmese mlllLary and lncreased eñorLs are belng made by Lhe mlllLary Lo
conLrol Lhe area.
 178
Slnce Lhe bomblngs Lhere has been resLrlcLed movemenL ln and around
Lhe dam slLe and lL has been hard Lo obLaln lnformauon. lollowlng Lhe openlng ceremony
xxlx
no-one clalmed responslblllLy for Lhe bomblngs, however a farmer vlewed by many as a scapegoaL was
arresLed. Cne hypoLhesls ls LhaL lL was Lhe work of Lhe kachln lndependence Army (klA), whlch Look acuon
as a parL of Lhelr refusal Lo become a reglme-led border guard force. AnoLher hypoLhesls ls LhaL lL could have
been an acL of Lhe 8urmese governmenL Lo seL up Lhe klA.
The Burma Environmental Working Group (BEWG)
54
Lo bulld Lhe dam held ln uecember 2009, Lhe capaclLy raung of Lhe dam was lncreased from
3,600 MW Lo 6,000 MW.
lL has been esumaLed LhaL Lhe dam wlll submerge abouL 766 square kllomeLers of old-
growLh ralnforesL slLuaLed ln Lhe Mlzoram-Manlpur-kachln ralnforesL reglon, one of Lhe
world's rlch blodlverslLy hoLspoLs and focus areas for conservauon.
179
As Lhe esumauon of
submerged area was made before Lhe masslve capaclLy raung lncrease, LoLal submerged
area may be much greaLer now. 1he CenLral lrrawaddy 8lver 8asln ls also a sLraLeglc sLaglng
and wlnLerlng desunauon for mlgraLory waLerfowl from 1lbeL and oLher reglons norLh of
Lhe Plmalayas. 1he dam wlll llkely cause a decrease ln boLh waLer quallLy and ñsh populauons,
posslbly causlng Lhe exuncuon of blrds found nowhere else on earLh and pumng greaLer
sLress on Lhe crlucally endangered lrrawaddy dolphln.
180
1he slLuauon ls furLher compounded
by Lhe reservolr dlscharge of accumulaLed mercury from gold mlnlng operauons ln Lhe area.
Also, Lhe dam wlll change nuLrlenL ßows Lo Lhe lrrawaddy uelLa, where 60 percenL of 8urma's
rlce ls produced.
181
  
Shweli River Dams
ln Shan SLaLe, a Mou has been slgned beLween a Chlna and 8urma Lo consLrucL a Lhree-uer
dam cascade along Lhe Shwell 8lver. 1he Shwell 1 was compleLed ln laLe 2008. 1he pro[ecL
ls owned by a Chlnese consoruum LhaL lncludes Lhe ?unnan Machlnery LqulpmenL lmporL
and LxporL Company LlmlLed and a subsldlary of Chlna SouLhern power Crld Corporauon
(CSC). 1he dam was bullL by Chlna's Slnohydro Corporauon. Pundreds of vlllagers were
forced Lo labor for Lhe pro[ecL wlLhouL paymenL and local women were forclbly marrled Lo
Lhe 8urma Army Lroops LhaL enLered Lhe area Lo secure Lhe dam. 8efore Lhe pro[ecL's sLarL,
Lhere were no resLrlcuons on vlllager movemenL. Powever, new 8urma army camps 'securlng'
Lhe dam area have llmlLed vlllager access Lo Lhelr farmlands and Lea planLauons. vlllager
access Lo elecLrlclLy from Lhe pro[ecL ls uncerLaln as ls añordablllLy Lo vlllagers lf power
becomes avallable. 1wo oLher dams are planned downsLream.
182
Salween River Dams
Cn 8urma's secuon of Lhe Salween 8lver, seven dams are currenLly proposed, Lhe 1asang,
kun Long, nong Þa, ?warLhlL, PaLgyl, Welgyl, and uagwln. 1he proposed Salween dams are
all locaLed ln conßlcL areas where mlllLary ñghung sull Lakes place. uozens of vlllages wlll
be dlrecLly lmpacLed and/or relocaLed from Lhe dam's ßoodplaln. ln addluon, Lhe PaLgyl
and ?warLhlL dams are locaLed close Lo faulL llnes.
183
ln a phenomenon known as 8lver
lnduced SelsmlclLy, lL ls also posslble for dams Lo cause earLhquakes.
184
Cf Lhe Salween
uams, Lhe Lwo mosL advanced are Lhe PaLgLyl ln karen sLaLe and Lhe 1asang ln Shan sLaLe.
8oLh of Lhese dams are ln Lhe 1hal governmenLs power developmenL plan (ÞuÞ).
An MCu for Lhe largesL of Lhe Salween uams, Lhe 1asang (7,110 MW) was slgned ln november
2010. lnvesLmenL was lncreased from uS $6 8llllon Lo uS $10 8llllon. 1he maln lnvesLors
changed from Mux 1halland Lo LCA1 lnLernauonal and 1hree Corges Croup Corporauon.
185
 
1he 1asang uam wlll submerge 870 km
2
of land ln Shan SLaLe. 8eLween 1996 and 1998
decades of mlllLary conßlcL ln Lhe area gave way Lo Lhe forced relocauon of 60,000 people
ln Lhe dam area and areas ad[acenL Lo Lhe dam. An esumaLed 14,800 of Lhose people
BURMA’S ENVIRONMENT: PEOPLE, PROBLEMS, POLICIES
55
comprlse Lhe keng kam culLural group whlch Lhe reallzauon of Lhe dam pro[ecL LhreaLens
Lo wlpe ouL. Cngolng rampanL logglng ln Lhe 1asang uam pro[ecL area and lLs surrounds Lo
servlce Chlnese and 1hal hardwood markeLs furLher LhreaLen Lhe fuLure of local ecologles
and Lhe people who depend on Lhem.
186
ln Aprll 2010, an MCA was slgned wlLh Lhe 8urma MlnlsLry of LlecLrlc Þower, and Chlna
and 1halland for Lhe PaLgyl dam ln karen sLaLe (1360 MW).
187
1he dam ls belng bullL by Lhe
Lnergy CeneraLlng AuLhorlLy of 1halland (LCA1) and funded by Chlna's Slno Pydro
Corporauon. 1he slgnlng of Lhe MCA came desplLe a reporL by a commluee (seL up by 1hal
Þrlme MlnlsLer AbhlslL aûer pressure from clvll socleLy Lo lnvesugaLe human rlghLs and
envlronmenLal vlolauons ln Lhe dam area) sLaLed LhaL Lhe governmenL should lnsLrucL LCA1
Lo conducL an LlA ln 1halland ln compllance wlLh 1hal legal sLandards. A prevlous LlA was
deemed lncompleLe.
188
1here has been lncreased mlllLarlzauon around Lhe dam slLe. ln
!une 2009, an oñenslve ln karen sLaLe close Lo Lhe PaLgyl dam slLe drove over 3300 karen
refugees lnLo 1halland. 1he ñghung was llnked Lo Lhe need for Lhe SLaLe Þeace and
uevelopmenL Councll (SÞuC) and uk8A (a breakaway group of Lhe karen nauonal unlon)
Lo galn LerrlLorlal conLrol of Lhe areas close Lo dam slLe. Aûer Lhe november 7, 2010 elecuon
ln 8urma, conßlcL agaln escalaLed ln karen sLaLe. Many unlLs of Lhe uemocrauc karen
8uddhlsL Army who refused Lo become a border guard force and are headquarLered ad[acenL
Lo Lhe PaLgyl dam slLe, are now acuvely ñghung Lhe reglme's Lroops, and LogeLher wlLh Lhe
knu, now conLrol large swaLhes of LerrlLory ln Lhe vlclnlLy of Lhe dam, and elsewhere ln
karen SLaLe. ApproxlmaLely 30,000 refugees have ßed across Lhe border lnLo 1halland slnce
Lhe november 2010 elecuon, lncludlng hundreds from dlrecLly upsLream of Lhe dam slLe.
189
 
190
Dams past and present
karennl SLaLe's LawplLa power planL and connecLed Mobye and uaLawcha dams bullL Lo
supply elecLrlclLy Lo 8angoon, 8urma's caplLal aL Lhe ume, represenLs Lhe ñrsL large scale
hydropower pro[ecL bullL ln 8urma. Þower planL relaLed developmenL and mlllLarlzauon of
Lhe area saw 114 vlllages ßooded
191
, 12,000 people dlsplaced, an esumaLed 18,000 landmlnes
planLed, a local populauon sub[ecLed Lo forced labor, sexual vlolence, and exLra[udlclal
kllllngs, and prlorluzed waLer schedullng leadlng Lo crop desLrucuon. LlghLy percenL of Lhe
local populauon sull has no access Lo elecLrlclLy.
192
 
1he nearby upper Þaunglaung uam, belng bullL Lo boosL Lhe power supply Lo 8urma's new
caplLal, naypyldaw
xxx
, ls agaln abuslng local people's rlghLs ºln Lhe same way, as Lhey ñnd
Lhemselves dlspossessed of Lhelr lands and Lhelr resources belng slphoned oñ aL gunpolnL".
193
 
lorced reseulemenL wlLhouL lnformed consenL or compensauon, and Lhe submerslon of
ferule farmland and foresLs faces local peoples and specles. As wlLh oLher large dam pro[ecLs,
unlque local culLures and eLhnlclues are also LhreaLened wlLh exuncuon. ConnecLed abuses
already documenLed ln Lhe reglon lnclude forced labor, forced conscrlpuon, resLrlcuons on
land use and renewed conßlcL.
194
 
xxx
1he Lower Þaunglaung uam compleLed ln 2003 ls currenLly supplylng elecLrlclLy Lo naypldaw.
The Burma Environmental Working Group (BEWG)
56
Burma Rivers Network, Dams in Burma, “Save Burma’s Rivers”, 
hup://www.burmarlversneLwork.org/resources/publlcauons/13/499.hLml 
(noLe: Lhls map does noL lnclude all Lhe planned and consLrucLed 48 dams such as Lhe planned Laymro, Sal
uun, 1ha PLay Chaung and Ann Chaung dams ln Arakan sLaLe and Lhe planned Þawn and 1habeL dams ln
karennl sLaLe)
BURMA’S ENVIRONMENT: PEOPLE, PROBLEMS, POLICIES
57
5.2 Oil and Gas Extraction
8urma ls rlch ln oll and gas resources, whlch are locaLed boLh on- and oñ-shore. 1oday many
lnvesLors, much llke ln Lhe hydropower secLor, are galnlng access Lo Lhese energy resources,
lncludlng governmenLs and corporauons from Chlna, lndla, 1halland, SouLh korea, lrance
and uSA. Chlnese companles are Lhe fasLesL growlng lnvesLors ln 8urma's oll and gas secLor.
195 
lorelgn lnvesLmenL provldes cruclal supporL Lo Lhe 8urmese governmenL and lncreased
energy securlLy for counLrles such as Chlna buL local communlues galn no beneñLs or
compensauon.
LxporL of naLural gas ls Lhe mosL lucrauve lndusLry ln 8urma, currenLly accounung for 12.3°
of 8urma's CuÞ.
 196
Accordlng Lo Lhe lnLernauonal MoneLary lund, lL has, however conLrlbuLed
Lo less Lhan one percenL of Lhe budgeL revenue, wlLh much of Lhe revenue reporLedly never
enLerlng 8urma.
197
Cas accounLs for over 70° of all forelgn exchange reserves, wlLh sales
LoLallng around $3 bllllon uSu annually.
198
Pad Lhls lncome gone lnLo Lhe sLaLe budgeL lL
would have accounLed for 37° of Lhe LoLal budgeL revenue.
199
1he ñrsL forelgn lnvesLmenL pro[ecL aûer 1988 when Lhe governmenL began Lo parually
llberallze Lhe economy was Lhe developmenL of Lhe ?adana gas ñeld ln Lhe Andaman Sea
and Lhe consLrucuon of a gas plpellne Lhrough ceaseñre and conßlcL areas ln Mon SLaLe
and 1enasserlm ulvlslon ln easLern 8urma. 1he pro[ecL was managed by Lhe mlllLary
governmenL's sLaLe owned company, Lhe Myanmar Cll and Cas LnLerprlse, ln parLnershlp
wlLh 1oLal (lrance), unocal (uS) and Þ11 Lxplorauon and Þroducuon (Þ11LÞ 1halland). MosL
of Lhe gas ls boughL by Lhe ÞeLroleum AuLhorlLy of 1halland (Þ11) and relauvely llule of Lhe
gas or revenue generaLed beneñLs people of 8urma or Lhe counLry's own energy securlLy.
200
 
8urma's gas and oll ls belng exporLed whlle aL Lhe same ume mosL people ln 8urma lack
energy for elecLrlclLy or cooklng.
201
1he consLrucuon of Lhe plpellne ln Lhe laLe 1990s resulLed ln human rlghLs abuses and much
envlronmenLal desLrucuon. 1hese lncluded mlllLarlzauon of Lhe area, forced relocauon of
communlues wlLhouL compensauon, conñscauon of agrlculLural lands, forced labor and
forced porLerlng Lo consLrucL mlllLary camps and mlllLary lnfrasLrucLure, sexual vlolence,
and clearlng of land and road consLrucuon along Lhe plpellne corrldor and poLenual supply
rouLes. unocal, Lhe uS-based company managlng Lhe pro[ecL aL LhaL ume ln parLnershlp
wlLh lrance-based 1oLal and Lhe 8urmese mlllLary reglme, faced lawsulLs for compllclLy ln
human rlghLs abuses Lhrough Lhe Allen 1orL Clalms AcL. ln early 2006 Chevron (whlch
absorbed unocal) agreed Lo mulu-mllllon dollar seulemenLs, buL human rlghLs abuses by
plpellne securlLy forces such as exLra[udlclal kllllngs, forced labor and uncompensaLed land
conñscauons are ongolng and were documenLed ln laLe 2009.
202
 
203
lL was recenLly reporLed
LhaL Lhere has been lncreased mlllLarlzauon around Lhe plpellne area ln a ceaseñre area ln
Mon sLaLe, due Lo Lenslons over wheLher or noL Lhe new Mon SLaLe Army wlll agree Lo
become a mlllLary-governmenL led border guard force.
204
1hls lnvesLmenL ln naLural gas exLracuon came ln aL a cruclal ume for Lhe governmenL,
whlch ln Lhe laLe 1990s was economlcally lsolaLed by Lhe lnLernauonal communlLy. 1he
plpellne has conunued Lo provlde a slgnlñcanL conLrlbuuon Lo Lhe governmenL's long-Lerm
ñnanclal vlablllLy. A recenL reporL by LarLh8lghLs lnLernauonal esumaLed LhaL from 1998-
The Burma Environmental Working Group (BEWG)
58
2009, Lhe ?adana Þro[ecL generaLed a LoLal of over $9 bllllon uSu-over half of whlch, abouL
$4.6 bllllon uSu, wenL dlrecLly Lo Lhe mlllLary governmenL.
203
1here ls no lndependenL overslghL for revenues from Lhe oll and gas secLor. 1he revenues
are recorded by 8urma's publlc accounLs ln 8urmese kyaL aL Lhe omclal exchange raLe,
whlch over-values Lhe currency by up Lo 200 umes. An earller reporL had revealed LhaL
poruons of gas plpellne revenue were ln Lwo of Slngapore's largesL oñshore banks, and LhaL
Lhese accounLs could be used for any purpose.
206
1he pro[ecL ls wldely regarded as Lhe
slngle largesL omclal source of lncome for Lhe reglme whlch spends over half of governmenL
spendlng on Lhe mlllLary.
207
 
208
Cas revenues are mosL cerLalnly belng used Lo purchase
weapons and mlllLary equlpmenL, and may be fundlng Lhe mlllLary governmenL's alleged
nuclear weapons program whlch lncludes an esumaLed $3 bllllon uSu spenL on a neLwork
of mlllLary Lunnels.
209
1he reglme ls seL Lo earn more wlLh Lhe Shwe Cas pro[ecL, whlch alone ls pro[ecLed Lo earn
aL leasL $1 bllllon uSu a year for Lhe reglme for Lhe nexL 30 years.
210
ln Arakan SLaLe, wesLern
8urma, plans for onshore and oñshore naLural gas and oll producuon, consLrucuon of a
2,800 km plpellne corrldor Lo accommodaLe dual oll and gas plpellnes sLreLchlng Lo ?unnan
Þrovlnce ln Chlna, and Lhe developmenL of a deep sea porL are now underway. Cas ñelds
were dlscovered by uaewoo lnLernauonal LLd., a SouLh korea-based company, oñ Lhe coasL
of Arakan SLaLe ln Lhe 8ay of 8engal ln 2004. 1he Lhree ñelds, collecuvely labeled 5bwe, Lhe
8urmese word for gold, have an esumaLed 4.3- 9.1 Lrllllon cublc feeL of gas.
211
1he large-
scale naLural gas pro[ecL ls belng developed wlLh uaewoo lnLernauonal LLd. (31 percenL
sLake) ln consoruum wlLh Lhe korea Cas Corporauon (kCCAS), CnCC vldesh LLd. of lndla,
CAlL LLd. of lndla, as a [olnL venLure wlLh Lhe Myanmar Cll and Cas LnLerprlse (MCCL).
212
 
1he Chlnese governmenL slgned an agreemenL wlLh Lhe 8urmese governmenL ln mld 2009
whlch made Chlna Lhe sole buyer of Lhe gas reserves.
213
1he plpellnes are belng bullL by
Chlna's largesL oll and gas producer - Lhe Chlna nauonal ÞeLroleum Corporauon (CnÞC).
1he sale of Lhe deposlLs wlll mosL llkely become Lhe mlllLary governmenL's slngle largesL
source of forelgn lncome.
1he gas plpellne ls scheduled Lo be fully operauonal ln 2013. Chlna ls also seL Lo beneñL
from Lhe oll LransporL plpellne, whlch wlll enable oll Lo be lmporLed Lo Chlna from Lhe
Mlddle LasL and Afrlca. 1he 2,380 km crude oll plpellne wlll run from Maday lsland ln Lhe
8ay of 8engal oñ Lhe coasL of Arakan Lo kunmlng, Chlna. lL ls esumaLed Lo cosL $1.3 bllllon
uSu and wlll LransporL 12 bllllon cublc meLers of crude oll per year Lo Chlna. 1he Chlna
nauonal ÞeLroleum Corporauon sLarLed Lhe consLrucuon of a seaporL on Maday lsland ln
CcLober 2009. 1he consLrucuon of Lhe seaporL ls expecLed Lo be ñnlshed wlLhln Lwo Lo
Lhree years, and Lhe porL ls slaLed Lo be busler Lhan Chlna's Shanghal seaporL. Chlna's crude
oll Lankers wlll dock Lhere on Lhelr way from Lhe Mlddle LasL and Afrlca.
214
Lxperlence from Lhe developmenL of Lhe ?adana and ?eLagun gas plpellnes ln easLern 8urma
demonsLraLe LhaL plpellne consLrucuon and malnLenance ls ued Lo a serles of human rlghLs
abuses.
215
1he human rlghLs and envlronmenLal lmpacLs are already belng felL. ln mld-2009
Lhere were reporLs of forced land conñscauon, relocauons and human rlghLs abuses due
Lo Lhe consLrucuon of Chlna's crude oll porL aL Maday lsland ln Arakan SLaLe.
216
no
compensauon was provlded Lo local resldenLs for Lhe land LhaL was Laken for Lhe pro[ecL.
BURMA’S ENVIRONMENT: PEOPLE, PROBLEMS, POLICIES
59
More human rlghLs abuses ln wesLern 8urma and along Lhe plpellne's rouLe Lo Chlna are
llkely ln Lhe near fuLure. Cver 8,300 soldlers are currenLly sLauoned along Lhe plpellne rouLe,
and lL ls expecLed LhaL as consLrucuon progresses more soldlers wlll move lnLo Lhe area
lncludlng 'speclal bauallons' wlLh experlence ln 'plpellne securlLy' operauons. ln !une 2010
8urmese [unLa lssued a leuer Lo hundreds of vlllagers ln wesLern 8urma orderlng Lhem Lo
vacaLe Lhelr land.
217
Cver 400 mllllon people llve ln Lhe caLchmenL area of Lhe 8ay of 8engal, subslsung aL or
below Lhe poverLy llne. 1hese pro[ecLs are LhreaLenlng Lhe llvellhoods of Lhousands of local
farmers and ñshermen and desLrucuon of Lhe envlronmenL. Mlnlng operauons for seaporL
consLrucuon ln laLe CcLober 2009 around Maday lsland kllled hundreds of ñsh and desLroyed
lmporLanL local ñshlng grounds where local people have been ñshlng for cenLurles.
218
Cll
spllls from Lanker Lramc, and oll explorauon and producuon LhreaLen ñsherles and Lhe
largely lnLacL ecosysLem of Lhe Arakan coasL. naLural gas producuon and LransporL could
resulL ln Lhe leakage of chemlcals and poLenual gas blow ouLs whlch cause envlronmenLal
damage.
219
I|gure 3 Daewoo c|ear|ng p|pe||ne route for the oñshore gas term|na|, Arakan state.
SGM, 2011.
The Burma Environmental Working Group (BEWG)
60
5.3 Mining
8urma has a number of rlch mlneral resource deposlLs lncludlng LungsLen, un, zlnc, sllver,
copper, lead, coal, goal, and lndusLrlal mlnerals.
220
Anumony, llmesLone, and marble deposlLs
also doL Lhe landscape.
221
CemsLones lncludlng dlamonds, rubles, and sapphlres can also
be found ln 8urma's soll. 8urma ls also Lhe largesL [ade producer ln Lhe world.
222
nlneLy
percenL of Chlna's [adelLe, Lhe hlghesL quallLy of [ade ln Lhe world and only found ln 8urma,
comes from Lhe mlnes aL PpakanL, kachln SLaLe.
223
Aûer slgnlng a ceaseñre wlLh Lhe kachln
lndependence Crganlzauon (klC) ln 1994, Lhe 8urmese governmenL assumed conLrol of
Lhese lucrauve [ade caches.
224
 
1he 8urmese governmenL malnLalns LhaL 'all naLurally occurrlng mlnerals found elLher on
or under Lhe soll of any land on Lhe conunenLal shelf are deemed Lo be owned by Lhe
sLaLe'.
225
1he mlnlng secLor ls dlrecLed by Lhe Myanmar MlnlsLry of Mlnes whose varlous
branches lnvesugaLe poLenual mlneral deposlLs and granL mlnlng concesslons Lo close
parLners lncludlng reglonal commanders, Lhe 8urmese prlvaLe secLor, and some ceaseñre
groups. Slnce 1988, when Lhe economy was opened up Lo forelgn lnvesLmenL, Lhe MlnlsLry
of Mlnes began Lo encourage local and forelgn lnvesLmenL ln Lhe mlnlng lndusLry.
226
very
llule lnformauon on Lhe hundreds of omclal and unomclal mlnlng concesslons glven by
8urma's MlnlsLry of Mlnes Lo local and forelgn lnvesLors (mosLly Chlnese enLerprlses) ln Lhe
pasL 20 years ls avallable Lo Lhe publlc. Many of Lhese mlnlng companles have frlendly ues
Lo non-sLaLe armed groups all across Lhe nauon.
227
Cne reason LhaL Lhe exLenL of Chlna's
sLake ln 8urma's mlnlng secLor ls lncredlbly compllcaLed Lo gauge ls LhaL a slzeable poruon
of mlnlng operauons ln Lhe counLry are smaller ln scale, remoLe, and dlmculL Lo access.
228
lL ls dlmculL Lo obLaln daLa on Lhe lncome LhaL Lhe governmenL recelves from mlnlng exporLs.
lor example, omclally, 8urma annually exporLs $60 mllllon worLh of pearls, sapphlres, [ade,
and rubles, mosLly Lo 1halland and Chlna.
229
Powever, some experLs belleve LhaL governmenL
ñgures downplay Lhe acLual magnlLude of Lhe gem Lrade by a facLor of 10.
230
 
uue Lo Lhe lack of laws and regulauons proLecung Lhe envlronmenL agalnsL Lhe lmpacLs of
mlnlng, mlnlng poses a grave LhreaL Lo Lhe mounLalnous reglons ln Lhe norLh and dellcaLe
coasLal areas where un ls collecLed.
 
up unul abouL 20 years ago, mlnlng operauons were
relauvely small ln scale and cause mlnlmal lmpacLs Lo Lhe envlronmenL.
231
1radluonal
meLhods of mlnlng for gold, gems, and oLher valuable mlnerals rely mosLly on shovels,
plcks, pans and screen.
232
lor Lhe pasL Lwo decades, Lhere has been a shlû Lowards large-
scale-and much more envlronmenLally desLrucuve Lechnlques.
233
Cold mlnlng ls parucularly rampanL ln kachln SLaLe, ln norLhern 8urma, especlally along
Lhe lrrawaddy and Chlndwln 8lvers.
234
ln 2007, Lhe kachln uevelopmenL neLworklng Croup
(kunC) reporLed Lhe followlng lmpacLs of lndusLrlal mlnlng ln kachln SLaLe:
Land, lncludlng foresLs, ls lndlscrlmlnaLely cleared for hydraullc and plL mlnlng
operauons. ÞlL mlnlng guLs Lhe remalnlng soll, leavlng lL pock-marked•whlle
hydraullc mlnlng blasLs away soll[,] causlng eroslon on rlver banks. WasLes
from Lhe mlnlng process, lncludlng mercury conLamlnaLed rocks and soll,
BURMA’S ENVIRONMENT: PEOPLE, PROBLEMS, POLICIES
61
are dlscarded LhroughouL Lhe [demollshed] landscape. Crazlng grounds and
hablLaLs for anlmals are desLroyed as well as any planL llfe LhaL could
[prevlously] grow ln Lhe areas.
235
Copper mlnlng ls Lhe mosL desLrucuve form of mlnlng. Cpen plL mlnlng whlch ls used ln
8urma requlres LhaL Lhe landscape be sLrlpped of surroundlng foresLs and vegeLauon and
naLural dralnage be drasucally alLered. 1hls greaLly desLablllzes Lhe Lopography.
236
8urma's
largesL mlne ls Lhe Monywa Þro[ecL, an open plL copper mlne locaLed ln Sagalng ulvlson ln
cenLral 8urma. Local people aL Monywa can no longer farm Lhelr land due Lo hlgh levels of
sulphurlc acld ln Lhe soll and waLer, pushlng some Lo arusanal mlnlng
xxxl
, and creaung a local
economlc shlû-whlch has occurred elsewhere ln 8urma-from a subslsLence-based Lo a
cash-based economy.
237
1he shlû Lo arusanal mlnlng furLher adversely añecLs Lhe envlronmenL
and lncreases lnßauon, maklng lL dlmculL for people Lo meeL Lhelr baslc needs. lL ls also
noL economlcally susLalnable as lL requlres no caplLal lnpuLs and Lhus no added reLurn on
lnpuLs, lL ls a vehlcle for Lhe perpeLuauon of poverLy.
238
1he Monywa mlne comprlses of four copper sulñde deposlLs. 1he ñrsL Lhree plLs are nearlng
depleuon. ln !une 2010 Lhe managlng dlrecLor of sLaLe-owned company uMLPL (unlon of
Myanmar Lconomlc Poldlngs LlmlLed) slgned a deal wlLh Chlnese weapons producer norlnco
lnvesLors Lo lnvesL ln Lhe lasL copper deposlL, 'LeLpadaung'.
xxxll
1he LeLpadaung copper
deposlL has been esumaLed Lo hold as much as 3,800,000 Lons of copper enough Lo produce
123,000 Lons a year for 23 years.
239
As of november 2010, excavauon of 8urma's second largesL lron deposlL on ÞlnpeL mounLaln
ln 1aunggyl 1ownshlp, souLhern Shan SLaLe seems lmmlnenL as bulldozers have begun
clearlng Lhe area.
240
1he pro[ecL slLe ls near a conßlcL area where Lhe Shan SLaLe Army SouLh
and Þa-Ch nauonal Llberauon Army are reslsung Lhe 8urmese mlllLary. 1he slLuauon remalns
unsLable.
241
1he mounLaln ls home Lo 7,000 malnly eLhnlc Þa'Ch and Shan vlllagers. AnoLher
33,000 llvlng along a nearby LrlbuLary are endangered by posslble polluuon from unLreaLed
waLer and heavy meLal laden Lalllngs.
242
1he mounLaln has 70 mllllon Lons of hemauLe and
llmonlLe ore.
243
SLakeholders lnvolved lnclude Lhe 1yazhprom exporL Company (8ussla) and
uanlell Company (lLaly). larmers aL Lhe slLe are belng dlsplaced and Lhere are fears of furLher
forced relocauon. ConsLrucuon of an lron facLory has begun. ln !une 2009 7,000 acres of
farmland was conñscaLed for Lhe facLory compound. ln SepLember 2010, farmers ln one
vlllage were oñered 3,000 kyaL ($3.34 uSu) per acre buL Lhey refused Lo accepL Lhe
lnadequaLely small amounL. ln March and Aprll 2010, vlllagers were forced Lo sell 300 acres
of land aL a prlce far below markeL raLes for a new bulldlng.
xxxl
Arusanal mlnlng ls drlven by poverLy and ls characLerlzed by rudlmenLary, Lradluonal meLhods. lL ls labor
lnLenslve and occurs lnformally, always as a means of subslsLence. lL requlres llule Lo no caplLal lnpuLs.
xxxll
1he oLher currenL lnvesLor ls Lhe Monywa 1rusL whlch recelved asseLs from lvanhoe Mlnes LLd of vancouver
ln 2007 on condluon LhaL lL ñnds a buyer for lvanhoe's share of Lhe mlne. lvanhoe Mlnes orlglnally esumaLed
LhaL $300 mllllon uSu would be needed Lo develop Lhe resource exLracuon pro[ecL and soughL Aslan parLners
apparenLly unsuccessfully Lo [oln ln Lhe venLure. norlnco's deal was reporLed ln Lhe Myanmar 1lmes ln AugusL
Lo be a bllllon dollars. lf Lhe Myanmar 1lmes sLory ls correcL, Lhe prlce Lag for gemng Lhe copper ore ouL of
LeLpadaung ls double Lhe orlglnal esumaLe. Courler lnformauon Servlce, ºLeLpadaung Copper Þro[ecL Lo
8ecelve 8llllon uollar lnvesLmenL" AugusL 16, 2010.
The Burma Environmental Working Group (BEWG)
62
I|gure 4 Þo||uted water from 1|gy|t coa| m|ne, ßow|ng |nto upper 8a|u creek then In|e
lake. PYO 2010.
A 230-mlle plpellne Lransferrlng naLural gas Lo Lhe lron facLory has desLroyed vlllagers'
farmlands along Lhe rouLe.
244
Pundreds of farmers have losL Lhelr land for Lhe kehsl Mansam
coal mlne and coal power planL ln 1lgylL, boLh ln Shan SLaLe, whlch, alongslde Lhe naLural
gas plpellne and a hydropower planL ln keng 1awng wlll provlde energy Lo operaLe Lhe
facLory.
245
lron ore samples aL Lhe slLe have LesLed hlgh for arsenlc conLenL, ralslng fears
LhaL Lhe mlnlng operauons wlll lmpacL farmers aL Lhe fooL of Lhe mounLaln as Lhelr ñelds
may be covered wlLh Loxlc wasLe solls. 8euLers news Agency revealed ln !uly LhaL Chlna's
1alyuan lron and SLeel Croup (1lSCC) slgned an agreemenL Lo work LogeLher wlLh Lhe Chlna
nonferrous MeLal Mlnlng Croup (CnMC) ln developlng a ma[or nlckel mlnlng pro[ecL aL
1agaungLaung, Mandalay ulvlslon. 1he cosL of Lhe pro[ecL ls esumaLed aL $800 mllllon
USD.
246
 
8urma has over 16 large-scale coal deposlLs, wlLh a LoLal of over 270 mllllon Lons of coal
resources. 1he 1lgylL coal mlne ln souLh easLern Shan sLaLe, [usL 13 km from lnle Lake, ls
8urma's blggesL open plL coal mlne, produclng 2,000 Lons of coal dally. 1here ls also a coal
ñred power planL ln 1lyglL whlch ls slaLed for use aL Lhe lron mlnlng facLory ln 1aunggyl.
ÞolluLed waLer from Lhe mlne and wasLe from Lhe power planL ßow vla Lhe 8alu creek lnLo
lnle Lake, however as yeL Lhere has been no sLudy on Lhe lmpacL of Lhe pro[ecL on Lhe lake.
lmplemenLauon of Lhe mlne and powerplanL began ln 2002 by Chlna nauonal Peavy
Machlnery Corporauon and 8urmese companles Lden Croup and Shan ?oma nagar. 1wo
BURMA’S ENVIRONMENT: PEOPLE, PROBLEMS, POLICIES
63
vlllages were forced Lo relocaLe, and over 300 acres of farmland was conñscaLed. Alr and
waLer polluuon ls LhreaLenlng Lhe agrlculLural llvellhoods and healLh of nearly 12,000 people
LhaL llve wlLhln a ñve mlle radlus of Lhe pro[ecL slLes.
247
 
Mlnlng ln Shan SLaLe has broughL abouL Lhe many envlronmenLal and human rlghLs
Lransgresslons lncludlng forced uncompensaLed relocauon of eLhnlc communlues and Lhe
forced sale of land. ln Seng Þln ln 2004, abouL 130 Akha, Sam 1ao, and Lahu famllles from
ñve vlllages were forced Lo move by Lhe ceaseñre nauonal uemocrauc Alllance Army (nuAA)
Lo make room for 200 Chlnese famllles worklng aL a coal mlne Lhere. Slmllarly, ln Aprll 2006,
nlne vlllages locaLed nlne mlles ouLslde of kengLung were ordered Lo relocaLe Lo faclllLaLe
coal mlnlng operauons.
248
1hal, Chlnese, 8usslan, lLallan, SouLh korean and !apanese
companles all operaLe ln Shan SLaLe ln concerL wlLh Lhe 8urmese governmenL, 8urmese
companles and eLhnlc armed groups.
249
 
230
 
251
 
252
AL leasL seven coal mlnes are acuve ln souLhern and easLern Shan SLaLe wlLh aL leasL elghL
more ln varlous unconñrmed sLaLes of operauon. Acuve mlnlng ln Lhe sLaLe also lncludes
one lron mlne, Lwo manganese mlnes, Lhree gold mlnes, one zlnc mlne, Lwo plaunum mlnes,
and one ruby mlne. Shan SLaLe has boLh a hlsLory of mlnlng and ls rlch ln mlnerals yeL
unLapped. ln rare cases local communlues are able Lo halL or avold desLrucuve mlnlng
acuvlues on Lhelr lands Lhrough collecuve acuon. ln oLher cases companles may hold
governmenL, buL noL locally granLed rlghLs Lo a mlne buL are unable Lo work Lhe deposlL
due Lo conßlcL and an unsLable pollucal and buslness cllmaLe.
253 254
 
255
 
256
 
257
1he full exLenL of polluuon from Lhese mlnes lnLo Mekong LrlbuLarles and Lhelr surroundlng
envlronmenLs ls unknown. lood securlLy lmpacLs on Lhe Shan, Ah kha, and Lahu vlllagers
llvlng downsLream from mlnlng operauons, and waLer polluuon are already belng felL. Cne
vlllager sLaLed ºl can'L see Lhe caulsh because Lhe waLer ls dlrLy."
258
ln 1997, Lhe SÞuC began Lo glve gold mlnlng concesslons Lo 8urmese buslnessmen ln
Shwegyln 1ownshlp, Þegu ulvlslon. 8y 2003 Lhere were over 40 mlnlng companles ln Lhe
Shwegyln area. Land was oûen conñscaLed and vlllagers were denled access Lo upland
farms. 1he area was heavlly mlllLarlzed Lo proLecL Lhe companles. vlllagers had no alLernauve
source of llvellhood so formed small groups and sold Lhelr land Lo lnvesL ln machlnery and
obLalned gold mlnlng permlLs. 1radluonally vlllagers ln Lhls area depended on rlvers and
foresLlands for Lhelr llvellhoods and culLural pracuces. now culLural pracuces and knowledge
of small-scale mlnlng Lechnlques ls belng losL. 1he local envlronmenL has also been severely
añecLed. Mlnlng operauons have dralned waLer sources, lncreased soll eroslon, and rlvers
polluLed wlLh mercury and oLher chemlcals. Mercury ls hlghly Loxlc Lo Lhe envlronmenL and
poses serlous rlsks Lo publlc healLh.
259
1he vasL ma[orlLy of Loxlc wasLes from gold exLracuon
processes ls dlsposed of unLreaLed dlrecLly onLo land and lnLo waLerways, eñecuvely
polsonlng Lhe soll and compromlslng waLer quallLy. Mercury
xxxlll
and oLher Loxlcs are
blomagnlfylng
xxxlv
 ln food chalns and accumulaung ln Lhe ussues of llvlng organlsms, wlLh
negauve eñecLs on ßora and fauna, local blodlverslLy, and human healLh.
260
xxxlll
Llquld mercury ls very polsonous Lo people and anlmals, causlng many governmenLs Lo ban lLs use. Powever,
lL ls sull wldely uullzed LhroughouL Lhe gold mlnlng process Lo separaLe gold parucles.
xxxlv
1he lncrease of concenLrauon of a subsLance, such as pesucldes or oLher Loxlcs, ln humans and anlmals
due Lo Lhelr consumpuon of oLher organlsms lower on Lhe food chaln.
The Burma Environmental Working Group (BEWG)
64
Local llvellhoods have been furLher lmpacLed by an elecLrlclLy produclng dam on Lhe Shwe
Cyln rlver. uesplLe ßoodlng, many small scale operauons conunue Lo pursue gold from raûs.
ln nearby MawLamaw area, a member of Lhe karen LnvlronmenL Commluee reporLs LhaL
small scale gold mlnlng provldes a means Lhrough whlch local people are able Lo buy baslc
dally necesslues. Powever, Lhe SÞuC, Lhe knu and Lhe companles lnvolved remaln Lhe
ma[or beneñclarles of gold mlnlng ln Shwegyln 1ownshlp.
261
5.4 Deforestation
1he mosL recenL daLa from Lhe loresL ueparLmenL llsLs percenLage of naLural foresL (boLh
closed and open foresLs) ln 2010 aL 47 percenL (only 23 percenL of whlch ls closed foresL),
wlLh abouL 67 mllllon hecLares of LoLal foresLland.
262
A recenL lAC sLudy clalms Lhe percenLage
change of Lhe LoLal foresL area beLween 1990 and 2000 was -6.9 percenL, and LhaL beLween
2000 and 2003 was -3.7 percenL. lrom 1990 Lo 2003, Lhe LoLal foresL area changed aL Lhe
raLe of -10.3 percenL.
263
lrom Lwo perlodlcal assessmenLs on foresL cover of Myanmar, lL
was found LhaL annually over 100,000 hecLares of naLural foresLs were losL durlng Lhe perlod
from 1973 Lo 1989 whlle foresL area losL ln laLer years from 1989 Lo 1998 were over 430,000
hecLares per annum, equallng a 1.4 percenL annual foresL loss durlng LhaL perlod. 1hls ls
Lhe equlvalenL of clearlng more Lhan 73 soccer ñelds of foresLs an hour.
264
lL shows LhaL
raLe of deforesLauon aûer 1989 had been four umes hlgher Lhan LhaL of before 1989.
Powever, many organlzaLlons quesLlon Lhe valldlLy of Lhose flgures. ln Lhe 1990s,
deforesLauon ln 8urma was esumaLed by Lhe 8alnforesL Acuon neLwork Lo be much
hlgher - from 800,000 Lo 1 mllllon hecLares a year.
265
8urma has been marked as Lhe counLry
wlLh one of Lhe hlghesL deforesLauon raLes ln Lhe world.
266
 
267
 
268
Accordlng Lo a recenL presenLauon by Lhe loresL ueparLmenL, º1he ma[or accelerauon aûer
1989 colnclded wlLh Lhe openlng of Lhe foresLry secLor Lo Lhe prlvaLe secLor ln Lhe aûermaLh
of Lhe economlc reforms of 1988." ln addluon Lo commerclal logglng acuvlues (legal and
oLherwlse), foresLs are also belng declmaLed by prlvaLe agrlculLural concesslons, whlch ln
facL someumes acL as a cover for logglng wlLh llule agrlculLural crops even planLed. loresL
degradauon can be llnked Lo toooqyo pracuces Loo, alLhough lL depends on Lhe Lype of
foresL, agrlculLural pracuces, populauon denslLy and Lradluonal land managemenL sLraLegles,
among oLher complex varlables.
5.4.1 Logging
A 2009 reporL by Clobal WlLness ºA ulsharmonlous 1rade: Chlna and Lhe conunued
desLrucuon of 8urma's norLhern fronuer foresLs" sLaLes LhaL whlle logglng may have
decreased ln norLhern 8urma, lL ls sull a ma[or source of ñnance for Lhe mlllLary Lo conunue
represslon of eLhnlc communlues:
ln 2007-08, umber was Lhe SÞuC's fourLh mosL lmporLanL exporL commodlLy
earnlng lL $338 uSu ln legal forelgn exchange. lorelgn exchange earnlngs,
derlved from Lhe sale of umber and oLher naLural resources, are lmporLanL
Lo Lhe reglme because lnLernauonal Lrade ls almosL excluslvely conducLed
ln hard currency, usually u.S. dollars. 8y buylng umber from omclal SÞuC
sources, even umber produced ln accordance wlLh 8urma's foresL laws,
BURMA’S ENVIRONMENT: PEOPLE, PROBLEMS, POLICIES
65
companles are conLrlbuung dlrecLly Lo Lhe ñnances of Lhe mlllLary reglme
wlLh all Lhe consequences LhaL LhaL enLalls. 1he llnk beLween umber revenue
and Lhe reglme's vlolenL represslon on clvlllans wlll only be broken once Lhe
human rlghLs abuses sLop.
269
 
1he counLry's foresLs have become a source of slgnlñcanL lncome for Lhe governmenL and
armed opposluon groups, where boLh legal and lllegal logglng ls sull ongolng. Slnce Lhe
erupuon of clvll war ln 8urma, all parues lnvolved ln Lhe currenL conßlcL have relled on Lhe
exLracuon of naLural resources, prlmarlly logglng and mlnlng, Lo fund Lhelr armles. 1he
scale of logglng rose dramaucally aûer Lhe SLaLe Law and Crder 8esLorauon Councll (SLC8C)
emerged ln 1988, and agaln aûer eLhnlc pollucal groups slgned ceaseñres wlLh Lhe [unLa.
1he mosL serlous desLrucuon from logglng has occurred ln eLhnlc areas along Lhe borders
wlLh Chlna and 1halland, namely, kachln SLaLe, Shan SLaLe, karennl SLaLe, karen SLaLe, and
1enasserlm ulvlslon.
270
Chlna, 1halland, and lndla are 8urma's blggesL umber lmporLers.
271
Þrevlously, Lhese areas conLalned unLouched foresL reserves wlLh a varleLy of hardwood
and Lroplcal ralnforesLs and lncluded many lmporLanL waLershed areas. uozens of logglng
concesslons were sold by Lhe SLC8C Lo numerous 1hal logglng companles ln Lhe early 1990s,
and logglng was Lhe governmenL's prlmary source of galnlng long soughL-aûer forelgn
currency. 8evenue from logglng was exLremely lucrauve, averaglng aL LhaL ume $200 mllllon
uSu a year.
272
 
AL Lhe same ume, logglng has also provlded lncome for eLhnlc armed opposluon groups.
Many of Lhe logglng concesslons sold were locaLed ln areas conLrolled by Lhese armed
groups, lncludlng Lhe karen nauonal unlon (knu), Lhe new Mon SLaLe ÞarLy (nMSÞ), Lhe
karennl nauonal Þrogresslve ÞarLy, and Lhe Mong 1al Army.
273
Aûer Lhe slgnlng of ceaseñre
agreemenLs, logglng radlcally lncreased ln kachln SLaLe and ln norLhern Shan SLaLe, as
ceaseñre groups llke Lhe kachln lndependence Crganlzauon (klC), Lhe unlLed Wa SLaLe
Army (uWSA), Lhe Shan SLaLe Army-norLh (SSA-n), and Lhe new uemocrauc Army-kachln
(nuA-k) began predomlnanLly relylng on selllng umber Lo conunue Lo fund Lhelr armles,
admlnlsLrauon and developmenL programs.
274
lor example, Lhe klC losL Lhelr LerrlLorlal
conLrol over PpakanL [ade mlnes as condluonal under Lhelr 1994 ceaseñre agreemenL wlLh
Lhe reglme. 1hey Lhen Lurned Lo Lhe oLher valuable Lradable resource under Lhelr conLrol -
umber.
Aûer Lhe llLany of ceaseñre agreemenLs wlLh eLhnlc pollucal groups operaung along Lhe
Chlna border, Chlnese companles Lhen [olned 1hal loggers ln vlgorously cumng down foresLs,
lncludlng hlghly-prlzed Leak.
275
ln 2004, !ohn 8uckrell, Lhen Lhe spokesperson from Clobal
WlLness's 8urma program, sLaLed, ºLogglng ln Lhe kachln SLaLe ls severe and chaouc, and
lL ls clear LhaL local populauon has beneñLed llule ln economlc Lerms."
276
ln norLhern Shan SLaLe, SÞuC mlllua groups and abouL seven ceaseñre groups are lnvolved
ln logglng.
277
lndlscrlmlnaLe logglng has desLroyed many of Shan SLaLe's foresLs, and only a
few sLrands of Leak sull remaln.
278
lrom mld 2008 Lo !uly 2009, Lhe 8urmese governmenL sold logglng concesslons Lo 11
8urmese umber ñrms ln knu-held 1enasserlm ulvlslon.
279
1he knu has also granLed logglng
The Burma Environmental Working Group (BEWG)
66
rlghLs Lo 1hal and 8urmese companles. Whlle Lhe general consensus ls LhaL Lhe knu does
noL wanL Lo allow furLher logglng ln Lhelr areas, Lhey relucLanLly conceded Lo a few of Lhese
companles due Lo economlc necesslLy.
Accordlng Lo MlnorlLy 8lghLs Croup lnLernauonal, ln karennl SLaLe ºlogglng of Leak and
oLher umbers ls oûen elLher done lllegally, or permlued by 8urmese auLhorlues ln compleLe
dlsregard of any pre-exlsung land or usage rlghLs of Lhe lndlgenous karennl."
280
5.4.2 Case Study: Logging in Kachin State
Logglng buslness conunues ln kachln SLaLe wlLh llule or no beneñL Lo local people. 8ecenL
ñeld research conñrmed LhaL a few Chlnese buslnesspeople, some hlgh ranklng klC omclals,
and some well-connecLed kachln and 8urmese buslnesspeople geL Lhe mosL beneñL from
Lhe logglng Lrade. klC omclals oûen glve concesslons, wlLh brlbes glven Lo SÞuC's area
mlllLary commanders Lo faclllLaLe Lhe deals. Chlnese buslnesspeople Lhen faclllLaLe gemng
Lhe logs Lo Chlna by worklng wlLh local vlllagers and Lraders Lo LransporL Lhe logs across
Lhe border. 1eak and oLher hlghly valuable hardwoods, such as lronwood and rosewood,
ln kachln SLaLe have all buL gone Lhrough selecuve logglng for Lhese deslred expenslve
specles. now some local people have sLarLed cumng less valuable wood Lo produce charcoal
Lo supplemenL Lhelr meager lncome, along wlLh selllng blg banyan Lrees whlch are belng
replanLed along Lhe road ln Chlna. As a resulL, many areas ln kachln SLaLe have become
I|gure S Aher dep|enon of the ma[or|ty of |arge trees, sma|| trees are be|ng cut down
by local business people and exported to China, Kachin state. Local researcher 2010.
BURMA’S ENVIRONMENT: PEOPLE, PROBLEMS, POLICIES
67
deforesLed. 1he ñeld research showed LhaL compared Lo 2002-2007, logglng buslness
decreased ln Mal !a ?ang by 2010 because Lhere are no more blg and valuable Lrees leû
Lhere. Powever, Lhe logglng Lrade has exLended Lo n'man ?ang, Mambaw, and Slnbo and
beyond, especlally areas under road consLrucuon, oûen by Chlnese companles.
281
As easLern kachln SLaLe becomes more deforesLed, companles are golng furLher wesL, such
as ln Lhe 1rlangle Area and ln Sagalng ulvlslon, Lo ñnd remalnlng valuable Lrees. Some Lrees
are also comlng from Pugawng valley from ?uzana's masslve agrlculLural concesslon. 8uL
as Lhe governmenL as greaLer conLrol over kachln SLaLe, even logs LhaL are cuL Lhere oûen
go Lhrough SÞuC-conLrolled border check polnLs or down Lo 8angoon for exporL. 1hese
new developmenLs have come aL Lhe expense of Lhe klC Laxlng boLh Lhe cumng and Lhe
cross-border Lrade of logs, leavlng Lhem wlLh Lhus funds Lo conunue Lhelr sLruggle.
 282
5.4.3 Rotational Agriculture and Fuel­wood Demand
Whlle logglng ls Lhe prlmary reason for foresL loss and fragmenLauon ln 8urma's mounLalnous
border reglons ln Lhe norLh and LasL, foresL converslon, charcoal producuon, and fuel-wood
collecuon are leadlng causes for deforesLauon ln Lhe lowlands of cenLral and souLhern
8urma. 1he World 8ank esumaLes LhaL Lhree-quarLers of 8urma's energy needs are meL by
fuel-wood and charcoal Lo meeL such needs as cooklng, llghung, and heaung. Whlle some
lndlgenous peoples llke Lhe karen clalm Lo pracuce Lradluonal agrlculLural meLhods LhaL
do noL desLroy foresLs, Lhe roLauonal farmlng sysLems of karen and oLher eLhnlc groups
llke Lhe karennl, kachln, Chln, and Shan are largely-and perhaps unfalrly-blamed by Lhe
8urmese governmenL for conLrlbuung Lo heavy foresL loss.
283 
Accordlng Lo 8urma's loresLry
ueparLmenL, ln 1998 almosL 23° of Lhe LoLal land area was añecLed by shlûlng agrlculLure.
284
 
Cmclally, Lhe governmenL regards such deforesLauon caused by swldden agrlculLure Lo be
a manlfesLauon of ºsoclal dlsadvanLages" and poverLy, and does noL recognlze Lhe susLalnable
llvellhood and land managemenL Lechnlques of rural communlues ln eLhnlc areas.
285
ln facL
swldden culuvauon, dependlng on how lL ls pracuced and populauon levels ln Lhe area,
can conLrlbuLe Lo blologlcal dlverslLy and enrlch Lhe ecosysLem. 1hls sclenuñc evldence,
however, ls overlooked as parL of Lhe governmenL's alm Lo eradlcaLe shlûlng culuvauon ln
order Lo reseule upland subslsLence communlues lnLo mlllLary-survelllance lowland vlllages.
Cne of Lhe clear ob[ecuves of Lhe MlnlsLry of AgrlculLure and lrrlgauon (MoAl) ls Lo end
toooqyo culuvauon ln favor of permanenL agrlculLure.
286
5.4.4 Mangrove deforestation
Cûen domlnaung Lhe coasLllnes of Lroplcal and subLroplcal areas, mangroves are a brldge
beLween LerresLrlal and marlne envlronmenL provldlng perfecL condluons for exLremely
dlverse and producuve ecosysLems. 1he mangrove foresLs Lransfer organlc mauer and
energy from Lhe land Lo Lhe sea, formlng Lhe base of marlne food webs. 1hey are also home
Lo a wlde varleLy of marlne and LerresLrlal llfe, and serve as nurserles for coral reefs and
commerclally lmporLanL ñsh specles. ln addluon, mangrove foresLs play a vlLal role ln Lrapplng
sedlmenLs, Lhereby sLablllzlng coasLllnes and proLecung coral reefs and seagrass meadows.
1he Lhree maln areas of mangrove foresLs ln 8urma are locaLed ln Arakan SLaLe, lrrawaddy
(Ayeyarwady) ulvlslon and 1ennasserlm ulvlslon. Mangroves can also be found on Lhe
coasLllnes of Mon SLaLe and 8angoon ulvlslons.
The Burma Environmental Working Group (BEWG)
68
1he Myanmar LnvlronmenLal Þerformance AssessmenL (LÞA) deLalls LhaL slnce Lhe early
1920s, as one of Lhe maln 8rlush colonlal developmenL pollcles, wlde swaLhes of mangrove
foresLs have been ellmlnaLed for paddy farmlng, and laLer shrlmp farmlng. 1he foresLs also
provlde ñrewood for local communlues, and a source of charcoal for Lhe populauon. ln
1924, Lhere were 233,018 hecLares of mangroves ln Lhe delLa foresL reserve, buL Lhls was
dwlndled down Lo [usL 111,939 ha by 2001.
287
ln Lhe 1980s, fuel wood exLracuon for charcoal
producuon began Lo Lake lLs Loll on mangroves, and was subsequenLly banned ln Lhe 1990s,
alLhough Lhe pracuce conunues. PablLaL desLrucuon reached lLs peak ln 2001, wlLh 33,836
hecLares losL LhaL year, an amounL equlvalenL Lo 24° of Lhe LoLal mangrove foresL area ln 2000.
288
Þrevlously Lhe maln cause of mangrove deforesLauon (parucularly ln Lhe delLa area) was
rlce culuvauon. Accordlng Lo Lhe Mangrove Acuon Þro[ecL, 83° of mangroves ln Lhe
lrrawaddy uelLa have been losL Lo rlce farmlng.
289
Shrlmp farmlng ls now consldered Lhe
leadlng cause of mangrove deforesLauon along Lhe coasLllne. 1he LÞA sLaLes LhaL ºshrlmp
farmlng ls Lhe maln conLrlbuLor Lo Lhe loss of mangrove ln Lhe delLa area". 1he neLwork on
LnvlronmenLal and Lconomlc uevelopmenL (nLLu) esumaLes LhaL abouL 63° of Arakan
SLaLe's mangroves have been cuL down Lo make room for commerclal shrlmp farms, and
Lo a lesser exLenL, brlck-maklng for 8urma Army bauallons.
290
Along 8urma's Andaman coasLllne, Lradluonal ñshlng communlues are becomlng furLher
enLrenched ln poverLy as Lhelr means of llvellhood and nourlshmenL ls belng wlped ouL.
291
 
I|gure 6 Conhscated |and for shr|mp farm|ng caus|ng mangroves to d|e, kathedaung
township, Arakan state. NEED‐Burma 2011
BURMA’S ENVIRONMENT: PEOPLE, PROBLEMS, POLICIES
69
A case sLudy Myebon 1ownshlp, Arakan SLaLe showed LhaL Lhe llvellhoods of local people
who Lradluonally farmed shrlmp ln mangrove foresLs have been añecLed by Lhe lncrease
ln commerclal shrlmp farmlng. 1hey now have Lo apply for permlLs, whlle Lhelr caLchlng
areas have also been llmlLed by Lhe encroachlng commerclal shrlmp farms, whlch clear
large areas of mangrove Lo esLabllsh ponds LhaL are lnLenslvely farmed. Many vlllagers now
work on 1hal Lrawlers or have leû Lo ñnd [obs ln nelghborlng 1halland.
292
Aûer Cyclone nargls Lhe un lood and AgrlculLure Crganlzauon sLaLed LhaL parLs of 8urma's
coasL had been largely cleared (for ñsh ponds, agrlculLural land and esLabllshmenL of
seulemenLs, and over-explolLauon of Lhe mangrove resource) ln recenL decades and LhaL
Lhls leû coasLal communlues more exposed Lo cyclone damage as Lhe coasLllne lacked a
proLecuve foresL buñer.
293
 
1he governmenL and nCCs have embarked on a number of mangrove reforesLauon lnluauves
over Lhe pasL 10 years. Aûer nargls Lhese eñorLs were sLepped up and recenLly a new
neLwork called Mangrove LnvlronmenL 8esearch neLwork (ML8n) composed of 17 local
nCCs was formed Lo co-ordlnaLe Lhese eñorLs wlLh a focus on aquaforesLry. 1he neLwork
focuses on conservauon and llvellhood lmprovemenL lnluauves. lor example, as parL of
Lhe aquaforesLry program ln lrrawaddy ulvlslon, farmers wlll breed ñsh, prawn and mud
crabs.
294
5.4.5 Impacts of Deforestation on Local People and the Environment
unabaLed and wldespread foresL loss ls a source of much suñerlng for local communlues,
Lhe ecosysLems Lhey rely upon for Lhelr llvellhoods, and Lhe surroundlng wlldllfe.
ueforesLauon LhreaLens Lhe llvellhoods and culLural pracuces of lndlgenous peoples who
depend on foresLs. Logglng, mlnlng, hunung, and oLher exLracuve lndusLrlal acuvlues LhaL
Lake place ln Lhe foresL do noL LoLally ellmlnaLe all Lree cover, buL lnsLead sLrlp Lhe foresL
of deslred Lree specles and leave behlnd soûwoods, malformed and dlseased Lrees, easy-
Lo-burn foresL slash
xxxv
, sLrangllng vlnes, and fasL-growlng lnLroduced weeds. Local blodlverslLy
ls furLher degraded, as umber companles desLroy and fragmenL several of Lhe lasL known
exLenslve ralnforesLs of SouLheasL Asla, home Lo many endangered specles. Logglng has
also been shown Lo be dlrecLly responslble for ßoods, soll eroslon, landslldes, sedlmenLauon
bulld-up behlnd dams, rlver sllLauon, lncreased dry season waLer shorLages, sLunLed farm
producuvlLy, and decllnlng Lopsoll ferullLy.
Whlle 8urma's valuable foresLs are belng explolLed, very llule beneñL, economlc or oLherwlse,
are shared wlLh local communlues.
295
ln addluon, depleLed foresLs are generally lgnored
and noL reforesLed. 
5.5 Large Scale Agricultural Concessions
Cver Lhe pasL decade, and especlally slnce 2008, Lhe 8urmese governmenL has promoLed
Lhe esLabllshmenL of large-scale monoculLure planLauons ln 8urma. MosL governmenL
lnluauves promoLe lndusLrlal crops such as Iottopbo, palm oll and rubber, as well as annual
xxxv
loresL slash refers Lo Lhe unusable resldue leû on Lhe land aûer logglng operauons. 1hls lncludes Lree
branches, Lops, bark, unusable logs, uprooLed sLumps, and broken or uprooLed Lrees.
The Burma Environmental Working Group (BEWG)
70
crops such as cassava, sugarcane, and paddy rlce. 1hese governmenL-led lnluauves are
channeled Lhrough mlllLary-favored companles such as ?uzana, PLoo 1radlng, uagon, Max
Myanmar, and are LhreaLenlng human securlLy, ecologlcal lnLegrlLy, land Lenure and food
securlLy, and Lhe overall llvellhoods of local farmers. 1hls ls parL of a wlder Lrend LhroughouL
Lhe Mekong reglon over Lhe lasL decade of forelgn-lnvesLed planLauon developmenL.
AgrlculLural developmenL ln 8urma has recelved a new boosL wlLh Lhe governmenL's parual
llberallzauon of Lhe agrlculLural secLor. lollowlng Lhe 1991 WasLelands Law, a prlvaLe
company ls able Lo lease up Lo 3,000 acres for up Lo 30 years (wlLh a posslble exLenslon),
or up Lo 30,000 acres for perennlal crops. ln reallLy, however, land blocks oûen are glven
all aL once, and someumes far exceedlng Lhe 30,000 acre max. Whlle mosL of Lhe agrlculLural
lnvesLmenL ls ln governmenL-conLrolled areas, ln some cases agrlculLural concesslons are
granLed by a ceaseñre group wlLhln lLs seml-auLonomous LerrlLory.
nearly Lhree-fourLhs of Lhe counLry's populauon llve ln rural areas, and almosL Lhe same
percenLage of people are dependenL on land as Lhe prlmary means for llvellhood.
296
 
ln governmenL-conLrolled areas, 40-60° of farmlng households rely solely on small farms
under 3 acres or 2 hecLares (under mlnlmum subslsLence levels), wlLh some areas (such as
easLern Shan SLaLe) recordlng much hlgher percenLages.
297
AbouL one-quarLer of all
households ln non-conßlcL areas (SÞuC-conLrolled) ln 8urma are landless, buL LhaL focuses
mosLly on 8urmese lowlands. Cne reporL examlnlng land Lenure lnsecurlLy ln upland eLhnlc
areas found beLween 8-30° landlessness ln souLhern Shan SLaLe and 33° ln parLs of kachln
SLaLe.
298
See Lable below for governmenL daLa. Landlessness varles greaLly wlLh geographlcal
area and soclo-economlc sLandlng, wlLh slgnlñcanL dlñerences beLween rural-urban, lowland-
upland, and wealLhy-poor, among oLher facLors.
No. of nn-based Land no|d|ngs by S|ze of no|d|ng.
S|ze of Land no|d|ng 1993  % 2003 % Growth (%)
unlon 1oLal 2,729,238 100° 3,338,132 100° 22°
1 under 1 Acre 187,494 7° 471,782 14° 132°
2 1 Acre and under 3 713,889 26° 766,422 23° 7°
3 3 Acres and under 3 363,173 21° 633,806 19° 13°
4 3 Acres and under 10 739,028 28° 796,439 24° 3°
5 10 Acres and under 20 413,693 13° 304,426 13° 22°
6 20 Acres and under 30 90,997 3° 137,943 3° 74°
7 30 Acres and Cver 986 0° 3,332 0° 441°
5ootce. kepott oo Myoomot ceosos of Aqtlcoltote 200J (uoloo), p J8.
MoAl ls followlng llberallzauon Lrends ln allowlng prlvaLe enuues Lo lease agrlculLural land
ploLs. As such ºnauonal companles and assoclauons ln Lhe prlvaLe secLor are encouraged
and granLed rlghLs Lo develop Lhese areas for Lhe culuvauon of paddy, pulses, ollseeds,
lndusLrlal crops, rubber, oll palm, eLc."
299
ln 2001 more Lhan one mllllon acres were allocaLed
BURMA’S ENVIRONMENT: PEOPLE, PROBLEMS, POLICIES
71
Lo nearly 100 enLerprlses and assoclauons (CSC 2003). 8y 2008, almosL 200 companles
were granLed 1.33 mllllon acres for commerclal farmlng. And by 2010 Lhe LoLal concesslon
area has expanded furLher Lo nearly 1.73 mllllon acres allocaLed Lo 216 dlñerenL prlvaLe
8urmese buslnesses (nauonal only, noL forelgn). Whlle nearly half of Lhe LoLal acreage
allocaLed was ln 1enasserlm ulvlslon (ln supporL of oll palm planLauon developmenL), Lhe
nexL hlghesL amounL of acreage alloued by sLaLe/dlvlslon was kachln SLaLe wlLh 11 companles
recelvlng nearly 400,000 acres. ln souLhern Shan SLaLe, over 63,000 acres were allocaLed
Lo 12 companles, and over 40,000 acres Lo nlne companles ln norLhern Shan SLaLe.
300
1he
followlng Lable llsLs Lhe number of companles and LoLal acreage awarded for each sLaLe/
dlvlslon, as provlded by MoAl.
Granted Area for Large‐scale Commercial Farming, updated Jan 31, 2010.
State/Division No. of companies Granted Area (acre)
kachln 11 393,292
kayln 1 2,161
Sagalng 27 93,337
1anlnLharyl 37 671,033
8ago (LasL) 9 3,839
8ago (WesL) 7 13,913
Magwe 38 202,492
Mandalay 16 10,300
?akhlne 14 2,602
8angoon 7 30,978
Shan (SouLh) 12 63,772
Shan (norLh) 9 40,937
Ayeyarwady 28 193,333
Total 216 1,728,269
Source: uAÞ, Myoomot Aqtlcoltote lo 8tlef, 2010:82.
CovernmenL daLa lllusLraLes Lrends ln lncreaslng acres of land belng Lransferred from
smallholder farmers Lo prlvaLe companles. WhaL ls Lermed ºnon-household speclal land
holdlngs" (l.e. land owned by prlvaLe companles) lncreased by 900 percenL from Lhe mld-
1990s Lo mld-2000s, and 323 percenL for LoLal area of prlvaLe landholdlngs.
301
Large land holdlngs has clearly lncreased, whlch can be accredlLed Lo Lhe expanslon of Lhe
culuvauon of whaL Lhe governmenL now labels as 'wasLelands' under Lhe 1991 WasLeland
Law. 1he 'wasLelands' are farmlands wlLhouL governmenL reglsLrauon uLles, whlch very few
farmers can obLaln, ln eñecL Lhen cusLomary farmland ls forclbly conñscaLed and granLed
Lo Lhe prlvaLe company. 1he Lable below lllusLraLes Lhese worrylng land prlvauzauon Lrends.
 
The Burma Environmental Working Group (BEWG)
72
No. of HH and non HH‐based Holding.
Holdings 1993 2003 % change
1. 1oLal number of Land Poldlngs 2,729,820 3,343,793 22
1.1 Pousehold 8ased Land Poldlngs 2,729,238 3,338,132 22
1.2 non PP 8ased Speclal Land Poldlngs 562 3,641 904
5ootce. kepott oo Myoomot ceosos of Aqtlcoltote 200J.19
WlLhouL Lhe sysLemauc mapplng of lands sulLable for large-scale lndusLrlal agrlculLural
concesslons and LransparenL allocauon of Lhls land, Lhls conLenuous and lll-concelved
program ls open Lo abuse by omclals and lnfrlnglng on farmers' llvellhoods and cusLomary
land rlghLs. 1here ls a compleLe lack of Lransparency and accounLablllLy wlLhln Lhe Lop-down
land allocauon process, sldellnlng Lhe farmers and oLher sLaLe llne agencles ln place of
mlllLary auLhorlues.
ln 8urma, cropplng lnLenslLy and ylelds ls hlgher for smallholders compared Lo large
concesslons, desplLe governmenL rheLorlc on leaslng wasLelands Lo prlvaLe companles Lo
reach food surplus quoLas. Lven a governmenL documenL recognlzes LhaL ºnon-household
based land holdlngs such as prlvaLe companles who applled for large amounLs of land areas
for culuvauon had noL yeL uullzed Lhe whole area for culuvauon".
302
1hls ls because many
of Lhe large 8urmese companles have been coerced by Lhe reglme leaders lnLo developlng
Lhe concesslon, desplLe noL wanung Lo geL lnvolved ln Lhls campalgn because of Lhe very
hlgh lnlual lnvesLmenL cosLs born enurely by Lhe company. ln Lhls sense, Lhe companles do
'fooL-dragglng' sLraLegles Lo avold lnvesung more caplLal lnLo developlng Lhe concesslon.
lL ls also well known LhaL some companles lnvolved ln Lhe logglng buslness who recelve
agrlculLural concesslons log Lhe land, sell Lhe umber on Lhe black markeL, and Lhen vacaLe
Lhe land wlLhouL ever planung any crops. Companles LhaL have Lhe ñnanclal resources and
connecuons Lo poLenually make large proñLs Lry Lo develop Lhelr enure concesslon.
ConflscaLlng smallholder cusLomary farms Lo make way for large-scale prlvaLe land
concesslons has a Lremendous lmpacL on Lhe soclo-economlc condluons of Lhe surroundlng
area, aL Lhe reglonal scale, and even aL Lhe nauonal level. larmers who are forclbly evlcLed
from Lhelr famlly farms oûen go furLher añeld Lo look for new ñelds Lo culuvaLe, whlch Lhey
clear on foresLed hlllsldes or use an exlsung swldden from a relauve, elLher for free or wlLh
an arranged paymenL. 1hese new farmlng ploLs are oûen aL leasL a half's day walk from Lhe
vlllage, requlrlng LhaL Lhe culuvaLors sLay aL Lhe ñeld slLe for long perlods durlng planung
and harvesung ume, creaung whaL local researchers call 'saLelllLe vlllages'.
lood securlLy ls belng rapldly eroded from land conñscauons. lf a household cannoL ñnd a
new ploL of land Lo farm nearby, Lhen Lhey musL become wage laborers, boLh for on- and
oñ-farm labor. Whlle new land concesslons requlre wage laborers Lo prepare Lhe ñeld, planL,
weed and harvesL, companles oûen do noL hlre local farmers - who were klcked oñ Lhelr
cusLomary land - ln eLhnlc areas. lnsLead Lhey oûen hlre labor mlgranLs mosLly from Lhe
CenLral ury Zone and Lhe cyclone-añecLed delLa area. lew locals are hlred for Lhese [obs,
Lhus mlnlmlzlng any local economlc beneñLs. 1hls ls causlng hosullLy wlLh Lhe local eLhnlc
populauons, who feel Lhe concesslons and assoclaLed labor mlgrauon as parL of a posL-war
mlllLary sLraLegy.
BURMA’S ENVIRONMENT: PEOPLE, PROBLEMS, POLICIES
73
1here are ma[or envlronmenLal concerns wlLh regard Lo monoculLure agrlculLural planLauons.
Land managemenL sysLems LhaL malnLaln blodlverslLy are Lhe mosL eñecuve sLraLegy Lo
adapL Lo cllmaLe change and enhance food securlLy. Mono-planLauons degrade Lhese soclo-
ecologlcal beneñLs. An agrlculLural concesslon enLalls clear-cumng Lhe land and Lhen
bulldozlng Lhe area Lo prepare for planung Lhe seedllngs, whlch oûen lnvolves burnlng any
remalnlng unmarkeLable woods. 1he burnlng, churnlng of soll, and lack of Lrees has
deleLerlous eñecLs on Lhe local cllmaLe and conLrlbuLes Lo global warmlng by releaslng,
lnsLead of absorblng, carbon dloxlde. CLher concerns lnclude dlsrupuon of naLural waLer
cycles, overuse of waLer for lrrlgauon, soll and waLer polluuon as well as human polsonlng
from chemlcal lnpuLs, and loss of wlldllfe from hablLaL desLrucLlon, lnfrasLrucLure
developmenL, and lncreased hunung pressures from mlgranLs.
5.5.1 ProñIed AgricuIturaI Commodities
Rubber plantations
8ubber ls now Lhe mosL wldely planLed lndusLrlal crop ln 8urma Loday. 1he 8urmese mlllLary
governmenL has a 30-year rubber crop developmenL goal of 1.3 mllllon planLed acres. lrom
[usL over 330,000 acres planLed ln 2003-06, sown acreage [umped up Lo over 723,000 acres
Lhe followlng year when Chlnese subsldles were avallable. ln [usL under ñve years - from
2004-03 Lo 2008-09 - Lhe acreage of sown rubber ln norLhern 8urma more Lhan doubled
from [usL over x mllllon acres Lo 1.037 mllllon acres.
303
1oLal acreage planLed Lhen lncreased
Lo 1.14 mllllon acres ln 2009-10 and expecLed Lo reach 1.23 mllllon ln 2010-11.
304
Whlle mosL of 8urma's rubber producuon sull cenLers on Lradluonal rubber-growlng areas
ln souLhern 8urma, especlally Mon SLaLe (ñrsL promoLed by Lhe colonlal 8rlush), Lhere has
been a ma[or expanslon of large-scale rubber planLauons ln easLern kachln SLaLe as well as
norLhern Shan sLaLe lncludlng Lhe Wa auLonomous reglon. 8ubber planLauons ln governmenL-
conLrolled LerrlLorles are more concenLraLed along roads, such as on Lhe old 8urma 8oad
ln norLhern Shan SLaLe. 8uL ln Wa AuLomous 8eglon Lhe Wa auLhorlues have covered whole
mounLalns ln rubber, maklng Wa LerrlLory Lhe ºcenLer of Lhe rubber revoluuon ln norLhern
8urma".
303
AbouL 90 percenL of Lhe rubber produced ls exporLed Lo Chlna and ñve ASLAn
counLrles-Malaysla, Slngapore, vleLnam, 1halland and lndonesla.
306
 
Chlna ls a ma[or player ln Lhe counLry's rubber secLor ln Lhe norLh - boLh ln Lerms of ñnanclng
and overland lmporLs. lnvesLors from oLher counLrles are also showlng recenL lnLeresL,
especlally for land ln Lhe souLh. Chlnese lnvesLmenL ln planLauons of rubber and oLher
crops such as corn, cassava, rlce, Lea, sugarcane and waLermelon ln 8urma has been
underway slnce Lhe mld-2000s, largely ñnanced Lhrough Chlna's nauonal Cplum Crop
SubsLlLuLlon pollcy. 1he Chlnese naLlonal program ls lmplemenLed Lhrough Chlnese
buslnessmen who recelve sLaLe-backed funds. Zao noam clalms ln hls arucle LhaL ºChlnese
companles someumes [operaung ln 8urma] work wlLh a 8urmese company whlch ls elLher
owned dlrecLly by a governmenL mlllLary omclal or an armed eLhnlc group omclal, or has
very good connecuons Lo mlllLary omclals. A Chlnese company normally provldes Lechnlcal
experuse along wlLh seedllngs, ferullzer and caplLal expendlLures, whlle Lhe local governmenL
and/or cease-ñre group auLhorlues provlde land, oûen conñscaLed from farmers, and labor,
The Burma Environmental Working Group (BEWG)
74
oûen forced. Chlnese buslnessmen usually pay for labor Lhrough local auLhorlues raLher
Lhan dlrecLly Lo Lhe farmers, who usually earn only a fracuon of whaL ls pald"
307
1he crop subsuLuuon program ls lnLended Lo subsldlze farmers' non-poppy llvellhoods buL
ls acLually desLroylng Lhose alLernauve llvellhoods ln rubber producuon areas.
308
1he manner
ln whlch Chlna's oplum crop subsuLuuon pollcy ls belng lmplemenLed ls noL aldlng local
alLernauve llvellhoods as lnLended. lurLhermore, and more worrylng, lL appears Lo acLually
be parLly conLrlbuung Lo Lhe recenL splke ln oplum poppy culuvauon ln norLhern 8urma.
8ural upland farmers whose land was conñscaLed and wlLhouL employmenL opuons are
perhaps someume resorung Lo one of Lhe few opuons remalnlng - culuvaung poppy aL
hlgher elevauons unsulLable for rubber.
Chlnese are noL Lhe only lnvesLors. ln Aprll 2010 Lhe vleLnam governmenL slgned agreemenLs
ln Lwelve key lnvesLmenL areas ln 8urma aûer a bllaLeral vlslL. As parL of Lhe governmenL
deals, a Mou was slgned for a 120,000 acre rubber concesslon locaLed beLween 1aungup
1ownshlp and Ma Ll Sub-1ownshlp ln SouLhern Arakan SLaLe.
309
Large scale rubber planLauons are dlsplaclng small-scale farmers from Lhelr uplands, where
food crops are grown and whlch slnce Lhe bannlng of poppy producuon has become Lhe
sole source of household lncome. ulsplaced local farmers and Lhelr famllles are faclng
serlous food lnsecurlLy and are noL belng hlred back as laborers. lnsLead, parucularly ln
kachln sLaLe, laborers from oLher parLs of Lhe counLry are hlred. Accordlng Lo buslnessmen,
8urmese wlLh prevlous experlence Lapplng rubber are preferred - so LhaL 8urman 8urmese
from Lhe souLh are mlgraung lnLo norLhern 8urma for seasonal work, causlng hosullLy wlLh
local eLhnlc farmers.
310
ln oLher cases, especlally ln Wa AuLonomous 8eglon where rubber
planLauon developmenL as parL of Lhe oplum crop subsuLuuon pollcy ls mosL lnLense, local
farmers are oûen used as seasonal labor. Powever, Lhere are allegauons LhaL Lhls ls elLher
forced labor as dlcLaLed by Lhe local Wa army omclal overseelng Lhe planLauon, or a very
small paymenL ls oñered whlch only covers food and clgareues for Lhe day.
311
 
312
1he workers
are pald, on average, 2,300 8urmese kyaL ($2.30 uSu) per day.
313
1he resL of Lhe money
pald by Lhe Chlnese buslnessman ls pockeLed by Lhe local mlllLary omclals overseelng Lhe
concesslon.
314
uue Lo sLrong 8urmese mlllLary and ceaseñre group conLrol over Lhe rubber concesslon
alloLmenLs, poor farmers are leû ouL of Lhls poLenual new opporLunlLy for small-holder
rubber planLauons llke LhaL ln Mon SLaLe. Powever, farmers ln kachln and norLhern Shan
SLaLe lack credlL and loan opporLunlues, as well as secure land rlghLs Lo economlcally and
soclally beneñL from Lhe recenL rubber boom, whlch Lakes aL leasL seven years before Lrees
produce laLex.
315
1he lnablllLy for rural farmers Lo beneñL from rubber ls summarlzed by
noam: ºA hlgh lnlual lnvesLmenL ls requlred wlLhouL any reLurn for aL leasL seven years
when Lhe rubber Lrees are Lapped, and small-scale farmers are unable Lo recelve loans,
because wlLhouL poppy culuvauon Lhey no longer have any collaLeral. ln addluon, rubber
growers depend on Chlna for Lhe volaule cash crop markeL, leavlng farmers exLremely
vulnerable Lo Lhe ßucLuaung and unpredlcLable Chlnese domesuc rubber markeL-as
evldenced by Lhe Lemporary rubber prlce crash aûer Lhe recenL global markeL melLdown".
316
BURMA’S ENVIRONMENT: PEOPLE, PROBLEMS, POLICIES
75
A recenL documenLary by kwekalu, a karen medla group, exposed ln uecember 2009 over
230 acres of land were Laken ln Ler Þa uoh vlllage, kaserdoh Lownshlp, 1ennasserlm ulvlslon
for a rubber planLauon. 1he documenLary reveals LhaL a 8urmese company, 8l Þwo 1we,
forced vlllagers Lo sell Lhe land aL a below-markeL, company prlce. lf vlllagers dldn'L sell Lhe
land Lhey feared LhaL Lhe land would be Laken by force. ConsequenLly, Lhe land was sold
under lLs value and many vlllagers had Lhelr land (whlch was prlmarlly orchards) Laken [usL
when Lhe Lrees were bearlng frulL. Cne vlllager explalned: ºCn my land Lhe Lrees had already
bared frulL. 1hey Lold me lf l don'L sell Lhe land Lhen l would have Lo leave. 1hey sald Lhey
would Lake and pay for 3 acres buL Lhey Look more Lhan 3 acres." AnoLher vlllager complalned:
º1hey dldn'L pay up Lo Lhe value of my land€" vlllagers are now dlsplaced and llvlng ln
Lemporary huLs on upland farmland near Lhelr former orchards. 1he company plans Lo
conñscaLe more land, and vlllagers are concerned Lhey wlll become refugees as Lhey have
no place Lo go.
317
Jatropha 
ln uecember 2003 8urma's mlllLary governmenL began Lo lmplemenL a nauon-wlde crop
campalgn Lo planL ñve mllllon acres wlLh Iottopbo cotcos for blodlesel producuon. Iottopbo
cotcos ls one of a serles of feed sLocks such as soy, palm oll, sugar cane whlch can be
processed lnLo blodlesel. 1he oll from lLs nuLs can be mlxed wlLh dlesel, and used as a low-
grade fuel, buL noL unul Lhe 3
Lh
year or laLer can Lhe Lrees oñer commerclal use. 1here ls
I|gure 7 kubber p|antanon, near Lash|o, northern Shan state. Loca| researcher,
December 2010. 
The Burma Environmental Working Group (BEWG)
76
uncerLalnLy surroundlng Lhe envlronmenLal and economlc feaslblllLy of Iottopbo as an
energy crop as Lhere has noL been any comprehenslve research conducLed.
318 
neverLheless,
each sLaLe and dlvlslon was ordered Lo planL 300,000 acres of Iottopbo, Laklng oñ 2 mllllon
from Lhe nauonal LargeL Lo accommodaLe LhaL lL ls an lmposslble quoLa for smaller sLaLes/
dlvlslons, some of whlch are only nomlnally conLrolled by Lhe governmenL. Slnce 2006,
Leachers, sLudenLs, chlldren, farmers, nurses, clvll servanLs, and prlsoners have been forced
Lo planL Lhe Lree along roadsldes, aL schools, hosplLals and rellglous compounds, lncludlng
on Lhelr own farmlands.
319
lurLher, 8urmese companles are lnvolved ln large-scale jottopbo
planLauons much llke for rubber.
Iottopbo can be planLed on marglnal solls and does noL have Lo compeLe dlrecLly wlLh food
crops, however ln 8urma lL ls belng planLed on farm land whlch Lhen dlrecLly lmplnges on
people's food securlLy. 1he Iottopbo nauonal campalgn has resulLed ln forced labor for
planung and conñscauon of farmlands. larmers are bound Lo producuon quoLas enforced
by sLrlcL laws. lnLervlews reveal LhaL people have been ñned, arresLed, and LhreaLened wlLh
deaLh for noL meeung quoLas, damage Lo planLs, defylng orders, or crluclsm of Lhe campalgn.
Cver elghL hundred º[aLropha refugees" have already ßed Lo 1halland from souLhern Shan
SLaLe alone.
320
Large scale planLauons (of up Lo 2,300 acres) have lgnored local cllmaLe and
soll condluons and been planLed haphazardly, wlLh poor Lechnlques and bad seed sLock,
resulung ln crop fallure raLes ranglng from 23-73°.
321
Accordlng Lo lnLervlews, 8urmese companles are only exporung Lhe nuLs lnsLead of uslng
lL as a domesuc blodlesel source as a subsuLuLe for lmporung oll. lorelgn lnvesLmenL ln
Iottopo has also been noLed ln lnLervlews, orlglnaung mosLly from Malayslan Chlnese,
malnland Chlnese, Slngapore and 1halland - buL Lhe planLauons are managed by 8urmese
companles.
322
 
323
Palm Oil
Cll palm ls no excepuon Lo Lhe governmenL's recenL push for furLher developlng Lhe counLry's
agrlculLural secLor hand-ln-hand wlLh Lhe prlvaLe secLor. 1he oll palm secLor has speclñcally
been LargeLed because Lhe governmenL wanLs Lo decrease Lhelr rellance on edlble oll palm
lmporLs from Malaysla, whlch amounLs Lo over 20,000 Lons per monLh. So Lhe 8urmese
governmenL now encourages Lhe counLry's prlvaLe secLor Lo boosL domesuc producuon so
Lo decrease lmporLs and assoclaLed cosLs. Cll palm ln 8urma ls so far used as a much more
añordable edlble oll, whlch cosLs abouL half Lhe prlce of oLher cooklng olls, such as sesame
and groundnuL. no plans currenLly exlsL Lo use lL as a blofuel, however.
1he counLry's oll palm lndusLry ls cenLered ln 1ennasserlm (1anlnLharyl) ulvlslon sLarung
souLh of 1avoy (uawel), whlch ls mosL sulLable for Lhe preferred cllmaLe of oll palm. 1hls
souLhern exLenslon of 8urma ls also where Lhe world's lasL remalnlng lnLacL lowland
ulpLerocarp ralnforesLs reslde, lncludlng Lhe lnfamous Curney's Þlua blrd. 1hls ls perhaps
Lhe mosL LhreaLened ecosysLem ln SouLheasL Asla as Malaysla and lndonesla have already
converLed Lhelr ralnforesLs lnLo oll palm esLaLes. ln order for Lhe companles Lo develop
Lhelr oll palm esLaLe, Lhey musL clear-cuL Lhe land, selllng Lhe larger valuable logs on Lhe
black markeL, and burnlng Lhe resL. Someumes Lhe companles never even planL oll palm,
Lhe concesslon awarded belng [usL a cover for very lucrauve logglng operauons.
BURMA’S ENVIRONMENT: PEOPLE, PROBLEMS, POLICIES
77
Accordlng Lo governmenL ñgures, 300,000 acres of oll palm concesslons had already been
awarded Lo 8urmese companles ln 1ennasserlm ulvlslon by 1999. 8y 2009-10, Lhe LoLal
concesslon area had doubled Lo [usL over 1 mllllon acres Lo abouL 40 prlvaLe 8urmese
companles, alLhough Lhe ma[orlLy of concesslon areas are conLrolled by only a handful of
companles. Powever, only a fracuon of Lhe LoLal awarded concesslons have acLually been
planLed. Accordlng Lo governmenL sLausucs, abouL 230,000 acres have acLually been planLed
slnce 2008-09, whlch represenLs a 23 percenL lncrease slnce 2006-07. 1here has been a
sLeady lncrease ln oll palm every year Lhls decade wlLh an overall 230 percenL lncrease
slnce 2000-01.
324
1he vasL ma[orlLy of Lhe oll palm planLauons are owned by 8urmese buslnessmen, wlLh
only a small percenLage owned by Lhe governmenL. 1he mlllLary and smallholder farmers
also culuvaLe a much smaller acreage of oll palm.
1he maln 8urmese company developlng Lhe lndusLrlal oll palm secLor ls clearly PLay MylnL's
?uzana Cll Þalm Culuvauon Company, a subsldlary of Lhe lnfamous ?uzana Company. Pe
was Lhe ñrsL Lo be awarded a prlvaLe oll palm concesslon ln 1999, now LoLallng 120,000-
130,000 acres ln 1anlnLharyl ulvlslon. ?uzana Co. ls already harvesung and processlng oll
palm from Lhelr planLauons wlLh Lhelr hlgh-capaclLy crude and reñned processlng facLorles
ñnlshed a few years ago ln Lhe area. 1he oLher companles already harvesung palm oll also
sell Lhelr producL Lo ?uzana Company, who has now eñecuvely monopollzed Lhe domesuc
oll palm secLor.
Companles make conLracLs wlLh 8urman labor from mosLly Lhe cenLral ury Zone, shlpplng
Lhem Lo 1ennasserlm ulvlslon uslng Lhe governmenL-owned Myanmar SLar Shlpplng.
Powever, abouL falr percenLage of Lhem only Lhen sllp across Lhe border lnLo 8ayong,
1halland - a common lllegal enLry polnL for 8urmese mlgranLs.
lL ls unclear Lhe degree Lo whlch 8urmese companles are self-ñnanclng Lhelr oll palm
lnvesLmenL. ln Lhe mld-2000s Lhe Myanmar Lconomlc 8ank gave a blg loan Lo 8urmese
companles lnvesung ln Lhe oll palm secLor buL Lhe condluons were noL overly favorable.
Slnce Lhen no more loans have been provlded Lo companles lnvesung ln oll palm.
ApparenLly Lhere ls no formal forelgn lnvesLmenL ln 8urma's oll palm secLor, alLhough lL ls
suspecLed LhaL some of Lhe 8urmese companles wlLh exLenslve oll palm concesslons are
ñnanclally backed by forelgn lnvesLors, parucularly Malayslan Chlnese. lL ls belleved LhaL
forelgn lnvesLmenL wlll soon ßood lnLo Lhe counLry's oll palm secLor, however. Already Lhere
ls speclñc lnLeresL already expressed from 1halland, Malaysla, korea and Chlna, wlLh pendlng
conLracLs for several forelgn companles belng dlscussed. 1he 8urmese governmenL now
encourages such forelgn lnvesLmenL as Lhey wlll obLaln good proñL from Lhe hlgh Laxes
charged Lo forelgn companles, as well as help reach Lhelr exporL quoLas.
Agrlbuslness as now pracuced ln 8urma employs desLrucuve proñL-maxlmlzlng farmlng
Lechnlques only beneñung mlllLary-favored 8urmese companles, forelgn lnvesLors, and
governmenLs, buL whlch serlously lmpacLs on local food securlLy and llvellhoods as well as
Lhe envlronmenL. Companles do noL have Lhe resources capable of produclng conslsLenLly
hlgh ylelds on such large expanses of land, whlch ls evldenced by Lhe slump ln agrlculLural
producuvlLy desplLe mllllons of acres now alloued Lo companles. Smallholder farmers are
The Burma Environmental Working Group (BEWG)
78
regarded as uslng land mosL emclenLly, and are besL sulLed Lo worklng approprlaLely ln any
glven envlronmenL, unllke nauonal agrlculLural programs wlLh sLaLe quoLas.
5.5.2 Case Study: Degradation of Inle Lake  
1he second largesL freshwaLer lake ln 8urma, lnle Lake, ls a famous LourlsL desunauon [usL
souLh of 1aunggyl ln Shan SLaLe. lL ls locaLed 890 meLers above sea level ln Lhe 8alu Chaung
valley beLween Lhe Slnduang (Lo Lhe easL) and LeLmaunggwe, 1handaung and udaung
mounLaln ranges (Lo Lhe wesL).
325
 
326 
1hlrLy sLreams feed lnLo lnle Lake, whlch Lhen head
downsLream evenLually reachlng Lhe Mobye uam and Lhe LawplLa Pydropower ÞlanLs. Lake
depLh varles wlLh Lhe season and ls sald Lo lle somewhere beLween seven meLers and four
meLers alLhough one more recenL esumaLe puLs lL Lwo meLers lower Lhan any prevlous
esumaLe.
327
 
328
 
329
LnvlronmenLal and culLural slgnlñcance of lnle Lake has long been recognlzed. lnle Lake
and lLs surroundlngs became a legally proLecLed blrd sancLuary ln 1983. 1he governmenL
seL up Lhe SLeerlng Commluee of lnle Lake Conservauon ln 1992.
330
ln 1998, lnle Lake was
named one of Lhe represenLauves of Lhe LarLh's 200 mosL valuable eco-reglons.
331
lnle Lake
ls also home Lo Lhe Þhaung uaw Co Þagoda and Lhe lnLha people, famous for a sLyle of
boaL rowlng LhaL uses Lhe leg, Lhe hallmark of Lhe LourlsL lndusLry Lhere. ln 2006, lnle Lake
and lLs surroundlngs were named home Lo nlne lndlgenous ñsh specles lncludlng Lhe locally
prlzed lnle Carp (locally called ºnga-pheln"), a nesung place of Lhe Sarus Crane and hablLaL
for a wlde dlverslLy of mlgraLory and resldenL blrd specles.
ln Lhe pasL LwenLy years Lhe populauon ln Lhe 360m
2
Lake lnle area has grown by nearly
40° Lo over 140,000 ln 2003.
 332
8esldes Lhe lnLha eLhnlc populauon, Lhe area also has
many communlues of Shan, Þa'oh, uanu, 1aungyo and 8urmans. Llvellhoods ln Lhe reglon
lnclude agrlculLure, ñshlng, Lexule couage lndusLrles, Lourlsm, ñsh farms, meLal smlLhlng
and moLor drlven LransporLauon. 1radluonal ßoaung gardens are also a unlque llvellhood
pracuce ln Lhls ecosysLem.
333
 
334
 
335
 
336
 
337
1he presence of wldespread hydroponlc agrlculLure on lnle Lake has glven rlse Lo an
economlcally lmporLanL LomaLo crop wlLh a dlsLrlbuuon chaln reachlng lnLo 1halland.
338
uesplLe Lhe lmplemenLauon of a wlde varleLy of lmprovemenL and rehablllLauon pro[ecLs
slnce 1992, Lhe lake ls shrlnklng every year.
xxxvl
lurLhermore, ln 2010 Lhe waLer level of Lhe
lake dropped Lo lLs lowesL level ln 30 years.
339
Low lake waLer levels and shrlnklng open
lake area dlrecLly lmpacL lake ecologlcal sysLems and Lhe ablllLy of local people Lo carry ouL
lake based llvellhoods. Lake waLer quallLy ls also degradlng due Lo Lhe use of chemlcal
ferullzers and pesucldes for hydroponlc agrlculLure. Lake waLer ls no longer safe for drlnklng
and lake-borne ecologles are sLruggllng Lo ad[usL Lo hlgh chemlcal and nuLrlenL levels.
1wenLy years of exposure Lo Lhe neuroLoxlns ln chemlcal pesucldes and ferullzers and a
lack of knowledge on how Lo safely use pesucldes are dlrecLly añecung local people's
healLh.
340
 
341
 
xxxvl
8easons for shrlnklng are debaLed. 1here ls speculauon LhaL lL has malnly has Lo do wlLh Lhe ßoaung
gardens and less wlLh upsLream sedlmenLauon and general waLershed lssues, CLhers argue LhaL ºupsLream"
LhreaLs ln Lhe waLershed are malnly Lo blame - shlûlng culuvauon, lrrlgauon and deforesLauon. Changlng
cllmaLe change pauerns are also anoLher posslble facLor.
BURMA’S ENVIRONMENT: PEOPLE, PROBLEMS, POLICIES
79
´lole loke Jetetlotouoo ls tbe setloos cooceto fot tbe locol people, bosloess
meo ooJ otbet Jl[eteot stokebolJets. . noqe ptoblems lle obeoJ ooJ tbe
wotet level bos qooe Jowo polte steep. . 1be ptoblem ls otqeot lt wlll oot
qo owoy sooo. 1be ptoblem tepoltes mosslve loftosttoctote tesootces oot
jost mooey bot tecbolcol ooJ fot tbose of os wbo belleve loJlvlJool ooJ
collecuve to moke tbe Jl[eteoce ooJ Jo tbls toqetbet ftom Jooots to ptlvote
sectot, NCOs ooJ qovetomeot.´ - lo opeoloq temotks J0 Ioly 2010 meeuoq
of 1be íovltoomeot 1bemouc wotkloq Ctoop Meeuoq.
un agencles, governmenL and nauonal conservauon nCC l8LuA have seL up an envlronmenL
sLeerlng commluee. Cne of Lhe lnluauves ls Lo Lo co-ordlnaLe Lhe ldenuñcauon of envlronmenLal
proLecuon acuvlues Lo lmplemenL around lnle Lake wlLh local communlues. 1he Clobal
LnvlronmenL laclllLy wlll fund 0.3 mllllon for 10 pro[ecLs around Lhe lake.
342
 
343
 
344
5.6 Illegal Wildlife Trade 
lllegal Lrade ln wlldllfe ls rampanL
ln 8urma. Many wlldllfe specles,
ofLenLl mes endangered, are
smuggled Lhrough 8urma's porous
borders, especlally along border
wlLh ?unnan Þrovlnce, Chlna. Cne
of Lhe mosL charlsmauc specles
smuggled ls Lhe Aslan elephanL,
whlch are especlally prlzed for
Lhelr lvory. up Lo 230 elephanLs
have been smuggled Lo 1halland
Lo work ln Lhe Lourlsm secLor ln
Lhe pasL decade, malnly Lhrough
1hree Þagodas Þass.
345
 
A recenL reporL by Lhe nCC 18AlllC
observes LhaL non-governmenL
conLrolled areas ln Lhe norLh of
8urma borderlng Chlna, lndla and
1halland, play a ma[or role ln
faclllLaung reglonal Lrade ln blg
caLs and oLher endangered
specles: ºÞarLs and derlvauves of
blg caLs and llve anlmals are
sourced ln Myanmar, 1halland,
Lao Þu8, Malaysla and lndla and
Lramcked across nauonal borders
l nLo Lhese non-governmenL
conLrolled areas where Lhey are
sLored, wholesaled and reLalled Lo
local and lnLernauonal buyers"
346

Figure  8  Black  Bear  being  traded  at  Sop  Lwe, 
Mekong river, Shan State. Wild animals are sold 
and sent through Lao to China and Vietnam. LNDO 
2010.
The Burma Environmental Working Group (BEWG)
80
ln Lhe Chlnese border Lown of Mong La ln Shan SLaLe, specles for sale ln Lhe markeL lncluded
black bears, macaques, small prlmaLes, pangollns, and rare blrds.
347
Pldes, leopard and uger
sklns, deer horn, and llve 8urmese sLar LorLolses and cobras can also be found Lhere. Some
of Lhese llve anlmals are on Lhe lnLernauonal unlon for Lhe Conservauon of naLure's º8ed
LlsL" of crlucally endangered anlmals.
348
CLher wlldllfe from Shan SLaLe bound for Chlna
lncludes ouers, chameleons, grass llzards, snakes, crlckeLs, dung beeLles and geckos.
349
Such
black markeL goods can also be found ln many of 8urma's border markeLs.
5.7 Climate Change
Accordlng Lo a recenL Au8 reporL, Lhe SouLheasL Asla reglon ls hlghly vulnerable Lo cllmaLe
change ºwlLh lLs exLenslve, heavlly populaLed coasLllnes, large agrlculLural secLors, and
large secuons of Lhe populauon llvlng under $2 or even $1 a day."
330
ln recenL years Lhere
has been an lncrease of droughLs, ßoods, Lroplcal cyclones and heaL waves, lf no acuon ls
Laken Lhe people and envlronmenL ln Lhe reglon are llkely Lo suñer (on average) more Lhan
Lhe resL of Lhe world.
351
1he lnLergovernmenLal Þanel on CllmaLe Change (lÞCC) reporLs LhaL
low lylng coasLal areas, small lslands and delLas llke Lhose of Lhe lrrawaddy, Salween, Sluaung
and kaladan rlvers ln 8urma are aL serlous rlsk of sea level rlse, especlally durlng cyclones
and ßoods. Sea level rlse wlll evenLually dlsplace mllllons from Lhe densely populaLed and
ferule plalns and coasLal communlues.
CllmaLe change ls also expecLed Lo lncrease waLer shorLages and droughLs ln some areas.
1here ls evldence LhaL Lhe Plmalayan glaclers LhaL feed 8urma's maln rlvers are slowly
melung.
352
1hls means LhaL over ume 8urma's rlvers wlll soon lose slgnlñcanL amounLs of
waLer ßow and volume. Comblned wlLh Lhe ßow-changlng eñecLs of dozens of dams ln
8urma and Chlna, waLer wlll become lncreaslngly scarce, resulung ln more damage Lo boLh
blodlverslLy and local llvellhoods.
1he 8erlln-based cllmaLe waLchdog, CermanwaLch, ranked 8urma as Lhe second worsL
counLry añecLed by exLreme weaLher evenLs caused by cllmaLe change from 1990 Lo 2008.
1he group sald LhaL ºpoorer developlng counLrles are oûen hlL much harder •Lhese resulLs
underscore Lhe parucular vulnerablllLy of poor counLrles Lo cllmauc rlsks, desplLe Lhe facL
LhaL absoluLe moneLary damages are much hlgher ln rlcher counLrles."
353
1he reporL also
ranked 8urma as Lhe worsL-hlL counLry ln Lhe world ln 2008 due Lo Lhe lmpacL of Cyclone
nargls, whlch devasLaLed Lhe lrrawaddy delLa ln early May LhaL year, kllllng an esumaLed
130,000 people. AbouL 2.3 years laLer, Cyclone Clrl hlL Lhe wesLern coasL of Arakan SLaLe
on CcLober 22, 2010 whlch ls consldered Lo be Lhe second worsL damaglng cyclone aûer
nargls ln 8urma on record. AL leasL 43 people dled, 70,973 leû homeless, 13,000 houses
compleLely desLroyed wlLh a LoLal of aL leasL 200,000 people añecLed and 7,081 hecLares
of agrlculLural land desLroyed.
354
8urmese weaLher experLs polnL ouL LhaL cllmaLe change has been shorLenlng and shlûlng
8urma's monsoon pauern slnce 1977.
355
8educed raln brlnglng sLorm acuvlLy ln Lhe 8ay of
8engal and lncreased frequency and lnLenslLy of exLreme weaLher evenLs has led Lo an
lncrease ln heaL lndlces and a decrease ln annual ralnfall.
356
 
357
8eLween !anuary and !uly
2010 souLhern and easLern Shan SLaLe, karen, Mon and karennl SLaLes, as well as lower
BURMA’S ENVIRONMENT: PEOPLE, PROBLEMS, POLICIES
81
Sagalng, souLhern Þegu, lrrawaddy and 1ennasserlm ulvlslons had abouL 20° less raln Lhan
ln an average year.
358
ur. 1un Lwln, a former dlrecLor general of Lhe ueparLmenL of MeLeorology and Pydrology,
says hls analysls shows LhaL exLreme weaLher evenLs, such as Lornados, sLorms and llghLnlng,
have lncreased ln frequency slnce 2006. 1here was noL a slngle Lornado ln almosL 30 years'
ume slnce 1938. 8uL ln Lhe perlod from 2006 Lo 2009 Lhe number of Lornadoes was 16,
11, 8, and 16 ln Lhe respecuve consecuuve years. AnoLher lndlcaLor of exLreme weaLher ls
LhaL Lhe number of llghLnlng-caused deaLhs lncreased Lo as hlgh as 100 beLween 2006 and
2009.
 359
1he weaLher experL explalned LhaL Lhe maln cause of exLreme weaLher evenLs ls
LhaL Lhe monsoon perlod has shorLened, Lhe pre-monsoon and posL-monsoon perlods have
become longer, Lhe llkellhood of cumulonlmbus clouds Lo form ls hlgher whlch ln Lhe end
creaLes Lornadoes, sLrong wlnds, llghLnlng and lsolaLed heavy raln.
360
1he Myanmar 1lmes
also reporLed LhaL 2010 summer seL new heaL records ln some areas of Lhe counLry because
of Lhe eñecL of Ll nlno ln 2009-2010.
Compared Lo lndusLrlallzed counLrles, and even developlng counLrles, 8urma's carbon
fooLprlnL ls mlnlmal, mosLly because of Lhe lack of lndusLry and very few cars on a per caplLa
basls. Wldespread deforesLauon ln Lhe counLry, however, means LhaL lL has conLrlbuLed Lo
large volumes of carbon, an lmporLanL facLor ln global warmlng. ln addluon, Lhe large
shallow reservolrs of Lhe dams produce meLhane, whlch ls a powerful greenhouse gas.
361
 
8lce culuvauon ln ñelds LhaL are kepL ßooded Lhrough Lhe whole growlng perlod also
produces meLhane gas.
362
 
AlLhough 8urma ls noL a blg conLrlbuLor Lo greenhouse gases, Lhe counLry could play an
lmporLanL role ln cllmaLe change mlugauon, for example Lhrough 8Luu mechanlsms.
Powever lnluauves such as Lhese are conLroverslal. 8Luu, or reduced emlsslons from
deforesLauon and degradauon, developed ln 2003 from a group of counLrles called Lhe
Coalluon for 8alnforesL nauons.
363
lL ls based on Lhe ldea maklng paymenLs Lo governmenLs,
companles, and foresL owners ln Lhe SouLh Lo dlscourage deforesLaLlon and foresL
degradauon.
364
ln 2007 aL Lhe Conference of Lhe Þarues Lo unlCCC ln 8all (CCÞ-13), an
agreed LexL on 8Luu was ouLllned, known as 8Luu+. 8Luu+ lncludes noL [usL dlscouraglng
deforesLauon and foresL degradauon buL 'conservauon', 'susLalnable managemenL of foresLs',
and enhancemenL of carbon sLocks.
xxxvll
 
As explalned earller ln Lhls reporL, ln 2010 Lhe 8urmese governmenL expressed lnLeresL ln
8Luu+ buL lL was muLually agreed LhaL Lhey would noL formally proceed wlLh an appllcauon
Lo [oln aL Lhls ume. un-8Luu ls however currenLly supporung represenLauves from clvll
socleLy organlzauons and MlnlsLry of loresLry omclals Lo auend 8Luu+ Lralnlngs and
workshops (see secuon 3.6.3).
1here ls much debaLe surroundlng 8Luu programs. 8Luu-MonlLor, a webslLe LhaL shares
lnformaLlon abouL how 8Luu ls developlng explalns LhaL 8Luu ls one of Lhe mosL
xxxvll
 Þollcy approaches and posluve lncenuves on lssues relaung Lo reduclng emlsslons from deforesLauon and
foresL degradauon ln developlng counLrles, and Lhe role of conservauon, susLalnable managemenL of foresLs
and enhancemenL of foresL carbon sLocks ln developlng counLrles", see unlCCC CCÞ 13, hup://unfccc.lnL/
resource/docs/2007/cop13/eng/06a01.pdf•page=8
The Burma Environmental Working Group (BEWG)
82
conLroverslal new lssues ln Lhe cllmaLe change debaLe, and LhaL 8Luu+ has acuvlues LhaL
could have negauve lmpacLs on lndlgenous people, local communlues and foresLs:
º1. ºconservauon" sounds good, buL Lhe hlsLory of Lhe esLabllshmenL of
naLlonal parks lncludes large scale evlcLlons and loss of rlghLs for
lndlgenous peoples and local communlues.
2. ºsusLalnable managemenL of foresLs" could lnclude subsldles Lo
commerclal logglng operauons ln old-growLh foresLs, lndlgenous peoples'
LerrlLory or ln vlllagers' communlLy foresLs.
3. ºenhancemenL of foresL carbon sLocks" could resulL ln converslon of land
(lncludlng foresLs) Lo lndusLrlal Lree planLauons, wlLh serlous lmpllcauons
for blodlverslLy, foresLs and local communlues."
365
 
ÞolnL 3 was addressed ln a safeguard ouLllned ln Lhe Cancun agreemenL aL Lhe unlCCC
CCÞ 16 ln Cancun ln 2010.
xxxvlll
lf Lhere are adequaLe safeguards and pollucal wlll Lo lmplemenL
8Luu+, Lhen communlues may beneñL from Lhe program. Powever, so far lndlgenous
peoples rlghLs have noL been adequaLely recognlzed or proLecLed ln any agreemenLs on
REDD.
366
 
367
 
6. CONCLUSION
ln order Lo Lake sLeps Lowards ecologlcally and soclally responslble developmenL ln 8urma,
8urma musL have a sound pollcy framework for envlronmenLal proLecuon and susLalnable
developmenL LhaL enables cluzens Lo Lake parL ln declslon maklng abouL Lhelr own
developmenL, and ensures responslble prlvaLe secLor lnvesLmenL. unul Lhen, new forelgn
lnvesLors lnvesung ln energy, exLracuve and planLauon secLors should refraln from lnvesung.
Lxlsung lnvesLors should lmmedlaLely cease all pro[ecL-relaLed work - parucularly ln sensluve
areas LhroughouL 8urma - unul adequaLe safeguards are ln place Lo ensure lnvesLmenL does
noL lead Lo unnecessary desLrucuon of Lhe naLural envlronmenL and local llvellhoods. AL
Lhe same ume, lnLernauonal nCCs and un agencles should ensure people are recognlzed
as key acLors ln Lhelr own developmenL, raLher Lhan passlve reclplenLs of commodlues and
servlces, and clvll socleLy organlzauons should empower communlues LhroughouL 8urma
Lo undersLand Lhelr rlghLs.
xxxvlll
ºAcuons are conslsLenL wlLh Lhe conservauon of naLural foresLs and blologlcal dlverslLy, ensurlng LhaL
acuons referred Lo ln paragraph 70 of Lhls declslon are noL used for Lhe converslon of naLural foresLs, buL are
lnsLead used Lo lncenuvlze Lhe proLecuon and conservauon of naLural foresLs and Lhelr ecosysLem servlces,
and Lo enhance oLher soclal and envlronmenLal beneñLs", see annex 1 paragraph 2 (e), unlCCC CCÞ 16 hup://
unfccc.lnL/ñles/meeungs/cop_16/appllcauon/pdf/cop16_lca.pdf
BURMA’S ENVIRONMENT: PEOPLE, PROBLEMS, POLICIES
83
1
unuÞ, ºPuman uevelopmenL lndex 2010 ranklngs", hup://hdr.undp.org/en/sLausucs/, lasL accessed 28
november 2010.
2
Sean 1urnell, º8urma's Lconomy 2010: A lresh Look aL Some LlemenLal lssues", 8urma Lconomlc WaLch,
Macquarle unlverslLy, SepLember 2010.
3
8urma Þro[ecL, Cpen SocleLy lnsuLuLe. ºLLhnlc Croups", hup://www3.soros.org/burma/C8lSlS/eLhnlc.
hLml, lasL accessed 2 !uly 2009.
4
ShanLa loundauon,ºMyanmar 1oday", lasL updaLed 2008, hup://www.shanLafoundauon.org/pages/
myanmar.hLml, lasL accessed 19 May 2009.
5
8eglonal Cmce for SouLh-LasL Asla, World PealLh Crganlzauon. ºMyanmar and 8lrLh Spaclng: An Cvervlew",
hup://www.searo.who.lnL/llnkñles/famlly_plannlng_facL_sheeLs_myanmar.pdf, lasL accessed 19 May
2009.
6
ºCopenhagen ueclaraLlon", 22 SepL. 2002, hLLp://www.Lnl.org/deLall_page.phLml‚page=asem-
copenhagen_burmadecl, lasL accessed 14 May 2002.
7
8urma Þro[ecL, Cpen SocleLy lnsuLuLe, ºLLhnlc Croups", hup://www3.soros.org/burma/C8lSlS/eLhnlc.
hLml, lasL accessed 2 !uly 2009.
8
Conservauon lnLernauonal, º8lodlverslLy PoLspoLs", hup://www.blodlverslLyhoLspoLs.org/Þages/defaulL.
aspx, lasL accessed 18 May 2009.
9
Mllleudefensle-lrlends of Lhe LarLh neLherlands, Sancuoned buL noL SLopped: 8esearch on 1lmber 1rade
beLween Lhe Luropean unlon and 8urma, lebruary 2009, hup://www.foeeurope.org/acuvlues/foresLs/
Mllleudefensle°2008-20-1736°208apporL°208lrma°20M°20lowres.pdf.
10
Adrlan Levy, CaLhy Scou-Clark, and uavld Parrlson. ºSave Lhe 8hlno: klll Lhe Þeople: Creaung a 8urmese
naLure 8eserve", LnvlronmenLal uemocracy, Mlchael Mason, LarLhscan, 1999, hup://www.earLhscan.
co.uk/ÞorLals/0/llles/Sample°20ChapLers/9781833836176.pdf, lasL accessed 19 !un. 2009.
11
Andrew W. 1ordoñ, eL al., unuÞ and 8lrdllfe lnLernauonal, Myanmar: lnvesLmenL CpporLunlues ln
8lodlverslLy Conservauon, 2003.
12
Au8, CreaLer Mekong Subreglon ALlas of Lhe LnvlronmenL, Aslan uevelopmenL 8ank, 2004.
13
SmyLhles 1986, clLed ln Myanmar: lnvesLmenL CpporLunlues ln 8lodlverslLy Conservauon. unuÞ and
8lrdLlfe lnLernauonal, 2003.
14
unuÞ and 8lrdllfe lnLernauonal, Myanmar: lnvesLmenL CpporLunlues ln 8lodlverslLy Conservauon, 2003.
15
Myanmar nauonal Commlsslon for LnvlronmenLal Añalrs, Myanmar: nauonal LnvlronmenLal Þerformance
AssessmenL (LÞA) 8eporL,CMS, 8angkok, 2006.
16
u Chn lnLervlew, º1he Mangrove loresLs: 8urma's 8esL 8lodefense", 1he lrrawaddy, SepL. 2008, vol. 16
no. 9, hup://www.lrrawaddy.org/arucle.php‚arL_ld=14163, lasL accessed 22 CcL. 2008.
The Burma Environmental Working Group (BEWG)
84
17
karen LnvlronmenLal and Soclal Acuon neLwork. khoe kay: 8lodlverslLy ln Þerll, 1halland, !ul. 2008, hup://
www.salweenwaLch.org/lmages/sLorles/downloads/brn/2008_009_24_khoekay.pdf, lasL Accessed 9
lebruary 2009.
18
All Arakan SLudenLs' and ?ouLhs' Congress, Supply and Command: naLural Cas ln WesLern 8urma SeL Lo
LnLrench MlllLary 8ule, !ul. 2006, hLLp://www.shwe.org/medla-releases/publlcaLlons/flle/
SuÞÞL?AnuCCMMAnu.pdf, lasL accessed 2 !uly 2009.
19
8urma 8lvers neLwork, ºMekong 8lver", hup://www.burmarlversneLwork.org/burmas-rlvers/mekong.
hLml, lasL accessed 2 !uly 2009.
20
Wllllam 8ooL, ºÞlpellne Þollucs", 1he lrrawaddy, vol. 13. no. 10., CcL. 2007, hup://www.lrrawaddy.org/
arucle.php‚arL_ld=8903, lasL accessed 13 !un. 2009.
21
1homas Pogue, AssoclaLed Þress. ºCll Companles luelllng 8urma !unLa", 1he SLar, 2 CcL. 2007, hup://
www.LhesLar.com/arucle/262493, lasL accessed 2 !uly 2009.
22
ClA World lacLbook - 8urma, hLLps://www.cla.gov/llbrary/publlcaLlons/Lhe-world-facLbook/geos/
bm.hLml•Lop.
23
8rlush ÞeLroleum ÞLC, SLausucal 8evlew of World Lnergy, !une 2010, hup://www.bp.com/llveasseLs/
bp_lnLerneL/globalbp/globalbp_uk_engllsh/reporLs_and_publlcauons/sLausucal_energy_revlew_2008/
S1AClnC/local_asseLs/2010_downloads/naLural_gas_secuon_2010.pdf , lasL accessed 16 leb. 2011.
24
ClA World lacLbook - 8urma hLLps://www.cla.gov/llbrary/publlcaLlons/Lhe-world-facLbook/geos/
bm.hLml•Lop, lasL accessed 20 lebruary 2011.
25
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