Across the open door of the immigration office, a black dog sleeps, his ears twitching. It is a slow day at the border, under the tropical afternoon sun.
There is a lone white concrete marker at Dawei’s Kilometre Zero, where storms come ashore from the Andaman Sea and where the long, unpaved road to Thailand begins.
There is little now auguring that the white marker will one day be at the centre of Dawei special economic zone (SEZ), a mammoth project more than one-quarter the size of Singapore. In its entirety it will cost billions of dollars to build, potentially creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and generating up to 5 percent of Myanmar’s GDP.
The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has signed to advise the government on environmental and social risk management for hydropower projects nationwide.
Ambitious plans to turn Dawei, on the Myanmar-Thai border, into a special economic zone and industrial park, meet with resistance from the locals
The Grand Opening Ceremony of the phase one of Thilawa Special Economic Zone was held Wednesday at the zone which is 20 kilometers from the commercial city Yangon. The opening ceremony was attended by Vice President U NyanTun and the deputy prime minister of Japan Taro Aso and other officials from both countries.
Minority groups, which make up 40 percent of Myanmar’s population and are represented by their own political parties, have not been under effective state control since Myanmar’s independence 67 years ago. Despite the ceasefire agreement, fighting between ethnic armed groups and the Myanmar Armed Forces has continued in several states. One of their grievances is the damming of the Salween river in their controlled territories. Proper accommodation of the interests of minority groups in this matter is crucial for ensuring that a peaceful post-election period and transition towards true democracy.
Dawei SEZ project has resumed its operations. However, there are still lots of problems to solve. “Most of the villagers have got land compensations and they have used it for rebuilding of their houses in new places and some has used for their children education. Most of them cannot afford to buy new land for their livelihoods. (Burmese language video)
Japanese agricultural equipment firm Kubota is set to construct a machinery assembly plant in the Thilawa, according to Japanese financial journal Nikkei Asian Review. The move continues the company’s expansion in the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) at Thilawa port, located some 25 kilometres southeast of Rangoon.
On 16 September, the European Union (EU) and EU Member States met with more than 50 local Civil Society Organisations for the launch of the EU Roadmap for engagement with civil society according to an EU statement on 16 September. The Roadmap is the result of an extensive and inclusive process of consultation with over 150 Myanmar Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), the EU and its Member States. At the event, CSOs, international partners and the EU discussed priorities for future action which are outlined in the Roadmap.
The Salween River meanders through pristine mountain forests before reaching a camp for internally displaced people at Ei Htu Hta, near the Thai-Myanmar border. Temporary bamboo shelters dot the hills around the camp, with small solar panels attached to the thatched roofs providing power for a few hours a day. There is no government electricity supply to the camp and many of the people displaced by the fighting between the Burma Army (BA) and ethnic armed forces believe there never will be, despite seven dam projects proposed for the Salween. They also believe that the recent outbreaks of fighting between the BA and Karen forces are part of a master plan to ensure the dam projects, many of which will supply cheap energy to Thailand, go ahead.
The winners of the 2013 offshore round are preparing for large energy exploration programs this year, as the process of signing production sharing contracts is now finished. While falling energy prices may slow the overall pace of exploration in Myanmar, there is expected to be a burst of exploration on the 20 newly-awarded offshore blocks.
Villagers and CSOs from Shan State and Karen State on 10 March protested against the Mong Ton hydropower project during the first public consultation meeting held by the Australian consulting firm, the Snowy Mountain Engineering Corporation (SMEC) in Taunggyi, Shan State.