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As Dawei “initial phase” 65% complete, locals left in the dark

The Dawei Special Economic Zone (DSEZ) is a major industrial project and deep sea port now at an initial phase of construction located in Taninthayri Region, Myanmar. The original plan, led by the Thai construction company Ital-Thai since 2008, was for a US$ 50 billion project that entailed a 250 kilometer square industrial zone. However, by 2012 the project was in deep trouble as it failed to attract investment and was challenged by civil society groups concerned about impact on local livelihoods and the environment, as well as the overall decision-making process around the project.

BAWAR, BURMA - AUGUST 02: Burmese fishermen prepare their nets before a voyage near the planned Dawei SEZ on August 2, 2015 in Bawar Village, Burma. The controversial, multi-billion dollar Dawei special economic zone and deep sea port has been stuck in a quagmire for years, however, three-way meetings between Thailand, Myanmar, and Japan have pushed the project closer with an agreement to develop the first stage of construction expected this week. The plan is expected to displace thousands of local residents from at least five villages and local farmers and fishermen are worried that the massive project will negatively effect their livelihoods. (Photo by Taylor Weidman/Getty Images)

By Mai Lan

Dawei, Tanintharyi, Myanmar, November 26, 2015

Mekong Commons

The Dawei Special Economic Zone (DSEZ) is a major industrial project and deep sea port now at an initial phase of construction located in Taninthayri Region, Myanmar. The original plan, led by the Thai construction company Ital-Thai since 2008, was for a US$ 50 billion project that entailed a 250 kilometer square industrial zone. However, by 2012 the project was in deep trouble as it failed to attract investment and was challenged by civil society groups concerned about impact on local livelihoods and the environment, as well as the overall decision-making process around the project. It was reformulated by the governments of Myanmar and Thailand as a Government-to-Government project in a scaled-back form, who also sought support from the Japanese government, and initial construction activities are now underway.

Despite the extensive media attention on the Dawei SEZ, apart from knowing that it is a mega project with regional impacts, many local people still know very little about the details of the project and how it could change their lives.

Read more at Mekong Commons

 

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