Natural Resources in Burma

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  • 1. Natural Resources in Burma ASEAN Peoples Forum
  • 2. Key point of presentation
    • 1. Rapid natural resource extraction in Burma done in the name of development is destroying and depleting Burma’s rich natural resources.
    • 2. Burmese people are forced to bear all of the negative impacts and are not benefiting from this so called ‘development.’
    • 3. Most of the resources are being exported for use in ASEAN countries and citizens in ASEAN countries are also forced to bear cross border negative impacts resulting from this unregulated development.
  • 3. Background Information of Burma
    • Asian Ecological & cultural zones
    • Wealth of natural resources (timber, minerals, rivers, oil and gas, fertile land, gems…)
    • Without any protection of resources
    • Brutal dictatorship
    • Worst human right violators
  • 4. The use of natural resources in Burma
    • Compared to rest of ASEAN countries still has many rich natural resources. Has some of the regions last remaining untouched ecological treasures and internationally recognized biodiversity hotspots. Endangered species, endemic plants, etc. Suffers from the ‘Resource Curse’
    • Currently natural resources rapidly being extracted to fuel economic growth in neighboring countries (Thailand, Vietnam, India and China in particular)
    • Natural resource extraction in Burma is completely unregulated
  • 5. The Important Role of Irrawaddy & Salween Rivers
    • Irrawaddy is main useful and longest river in Burma which flow through from the North to south at the central of Burma.
    • The Salween is the longest undammed river in mainland Southeast Asia and the 26 longest rivers in the world flowing across China, Burma and Thailand.
    • Millions of people depend on it as their livelihood, cultural, communication, transportation, cultivation, etc..
    • The delta of Irrawaddy is the main rice production of the country.
  • 6.
    • Proposed the Dam in Burma
  • 7. Who get the benefit from infrastructure development
    • Electricity generation authority of Thailand
    • MDX Public Company Limited
    • Chinese Company
    • Burmese Junta Government
  • 8. Overview of Impacts from rapid resource extraction
      • No Environmental Impact Assessment or Social Impact Assessment, no public participation, no information disclosure
      • Deforestation
      • Water pollution (ex. Gold mining in Kachin State)
      • Forced relocation (from infrastructure development project)
      • Plantations and mono-cropping leading to loss of biodiversity and soil degradation
      • Destruction of internationally recognized biodiversity hotspots from logging, dams (flooding), and mining
  • 9. Cross Border Impacts
      • Migration- eg. Gas pipeline and dams
      • Cross border illegal trade (gems, timber, and animals)
      • Environmental Refugees
      • Spread infection disease
      • Climate change and water/air pollution
  • 10. For majority benefit the minority have to be scarified
    • Local people have no benefit from the mega project, instead they are sitting targets for continued extortion by the authority
    • Have had to leave from their homeland
    • and field
    • Become refugee, wage labors, illegal migrant worker, Internal Displace Persons.
    • Inadequate housing, sanitation, safe drinking water, food or medical care
  • 11. Human Rights Abuse in Burma
    • Burning and looting of villages
    • Forced relocation,
    • Systematic sexual violence,
    • Extra-judicial killing
    • Forced Labour
    • Land Confiscation
    • Militarilization and oppression
  • 12. Construction of the dam and associated infrastructure is highly likely to involve the massive use of forced labor
  • 13. since 1996, over 2,500 villages totaling over 800,000 people relocated in eastern ethnic states of Burma
  • 14. Militalization
    • Even feasibility studies required an increased military presence at and around the proposed dam site.
    • Increased militarization also leads to increased instances of human rights violations
      • Over the past decade, the regime has increased the size of its army from 180,000 to over 400,000 troops
      • In Shan State alone, there are now at least 150 battalions, with well over 100,000 troops.
    • Rape and increased militarization are closely connected when more soldiers are deployed in an area
  • 15. Environmental Impacts
    • Deforestation
    • Flooding
    • Erosion
    • Physical changes of water ways
    • Loss of species ( animals and plants)
    • Climate Change
    • Disease
    • Affective to Water Diversion
    • Earthquake
  • 16. The dam project will inevitable lead to clear failure in remaining biodiversity ancient forests
  • 17. Conclusion
    • Re-state the Key Point
    • As we have seen from these examples and Dam on the Irrawaddy and other places in Burma, rapid natural resource extraction in Burma is destroying Burma’s rich natural resources and Burma’s people and people in ASEAN are forced to bear all of the negative impacts resulting from this unregulated development.
  • 18. How Can We Take Action Together
    • pressure ASEAN member governments to adopt real sustainable development policies that calculate and mitigate cross border impacts and environmental externalities
    • Lobby ASEAN member government to stop illegal cross border trade that results in natural resource degradation in the region
    • Lobby ASEAN governments to adopt policies for projects in other countries to include affected communities in the decision making process and follow international environmental and social standards
    • Lobby ASEAN governments to negotiate with the SPDC to recognize community land rights
  • 19. Recommendations to ASEAN leaders
        • ASEAN countries should work to develop policies to conserve non-renewable resources in the region
        • There should be a regional review of cross border impacts of natural resource extraction
        • ASEAN should use its function to pressure the companies and the SPDC to require Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Social Impact Assessment (SIA) for natural resource extraction projects