The streets of Pianma are lined with sawmills. They’re also lined with logs as big as cars: Teak, Rosewood, and Golden Camphor — all of them felled illegally across the border in Burma from old growth forests and brought to the Chinese side to be cut down into furniture.
US State Department Must Renew and Strengthen Reporting Requirements for Companies Investing in Myanmar
EarthRights International (ERI) urged the State Department to renew and strengthen the Reporting Requirements for Responsible Investment in Burma (Myanmar), which require U.S. companies making significant new investment in Myanmar to report on their operations and explain their due diligence policies and procedures on human rights, the environment, corruption, and labor. New investors are also required to provide information on their land acquisitions and disclose payments to the government and contacts with the military and other armed groups. In a submission to the State Department as part of the U.S. Government’s review of the Reporting Requirements, ERI reiterated the importance of ensuring that new U.S. investment in Myanmar does not undermine the reform process.
Myanmar ‘is losing its beaches,’ report claims
Booming construction fuels sand mining, and threatens coastal environment and tourism, writes Denise Hruby in Earth Island Journal, February 4.
Faces of Dawei, Faces of Change
Dawei is a seaside community of less than 5,000 families, in one of the world’s least developed corners. Myanmar’s ever widening borders, however, have lured investments here on a scale beyond anything ever conceived within Southeast Asia.
The Dawei Special Economic Zone environs nearly 200 square kilometers of industrial development, a deepsea port and associated road, rail and pipeline links to neighboring Thailand and beyond.
Photojournalist Taylor Weidman captures the faces of Dawei as they they contemplate what lies ahead. Will their fisheries and betel nut farms still provide viable livelihoods? Will new jobs actually be available to them and their children or largely to higher skilled prospects from abroad? Will environmental controls be sufficient and sufficiently enforcement to protect the community, and the natural resources that now sustain it?
Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) shines light on resource sector
Myanmar’s first report under the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) has provided levels of disclosure on companies’ activities “unthinkable” just a few years ago, NGOs and civil society organisations said. But they also see it as only a first step in pulling back the curtain on how Myanmar’s natural resources are managed.
Risks loom for Myanmar’s Kyaukphyu Economic Zone
The end of 2015 saw a series of major announcements and decisions regarding Myanmar’s latest special economic zone (SEZ) in Kyaukphyu township of Rakhine State. In late December, Myanmar’s government approved the demarcation of land for the SEZ and awarded tenders to develop the SEZ to a CITIC Group-led consortium.
Energy crisis predicted after 2020
Myanmar may face an energy crisis after 2020 as oil and gas production has declined and the newly discovered sites are not ready to fill the gap, according to Than Tun, an adviser to Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprises under the Ministry of Energy.
“We cannot expect what will happen beyond 2020. The newly discovered Shwe Yee Tun block has good prospects. There may be a gap beyond 2020,” said Than Tun, who is also a retired director from the energy ministry. He was speaking at a conference called Changes for Myanmar Oil and Gas Sector, 2016-21 at the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry in Yangon.
Gold mining, conflict threaten Myanmar’s Indawgyi Lake
Khaung Tong Creek was a 1.5-meter deep, pristine creek some 10 years ago, but these days this important tributary of Kachin State’s famed Indawgyi Lake is just a little stream some 10 cm deep, filled with red-brownish mud.
Local villagers said years of unregulated gold mining several kilometres away has caused the environmental degradation as dumped waste and chemicals has flowed into the stream.
Chinese mine firm promises to respect residents
Official Chinese representatives from the Shwe Htun Pauk company have said that they will stop their operations if they face continued opposition from residents.
The company, officially licensed to mine gold and other minerals at the Tanintharyi River near Maw Hta village, held a meeting about water pollution with around 40 residents, Dawei-Myeik representatives of the Karen National Union and regional civil groups.
Is SEZ on Boon Reung forest; destroying Chiang Khong and Mae Kong River?
There is high possibility that the Special Economic Zone will take away more than 1,190 acres of Boon Rueng forest from the community. There is also equally possibility that the Mekong River ecosystem will be destroyed if Boon Rueng forest transform into Special Economic Zone according to Thailand’s Prime Minister Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha’s vision. The abundant Boon Rueng forest in this wetlands is currently being nominated for SEZ consideration by Joint Public Private Committee, Office of the Permanent Secretary of Interior. If approve, half of the forest will be replaced with factories. According to the survey, there are more than 60 species of plants and 211 species of animal, especially endangered species such as Fishing Cat in Boon Rueng forest. Obviously, Boon Rueng forest is not ‘degraded forest’ as it was claimed.