Environmental Governance

With recent announcements about the extension of Thilawa to Zone B and the planned construction of a fourth Special Economic Zone in the Yangon Region, it is important for Myanmar to draw on lessons learned and avoid negative repercussions on local communities. A new report by HBS Myanmar assesses social impacts entailed by the initial construction stages in Thilawa and Dawei, where thousands of villagers lost their land and livelihood opportunities.

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Myanmar, being a member of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), is a net exporter of energy to its neighbors like China who get the lion‘s share of the country’s generated power. Energy production has so far been more harmful than helpful especially to people who live close to the production-sites. Plans from 2011, making the Thanlwin River a source of hydropower, now offer a chance to the NLD-led government to perform good governance.

The Myanmar Office of Heinrich Böll Foundation is seeking to the next possible date a full-time Program Coordinator Resource Governance and Development (natural resource governance; environmental and social justice; impact of FDI and ODA in Myanmar’s development) to join our Yangon team.

There is no doubt: Myanmar’s economic development requires energy. Only one third of the country’s population has access clean and reliable energy sources today. Thus, energy policy plays a key role in achieving sustainable development in Myanmar. But the recent energy master plan adopted by the government focuses on big hydro and coal power projects, largely neglecting the potential of alternative renewable energy source available in the country.

What we do

Myanmar is a country rich in natural resources including oil, gas, minerals, gems, an abundance of water, fertile land and forest resources. Despite its resource wealth, the country is ranked among the poorest in the region with about a quarter of the population living in poverty. The recent opening up of the country has sparked great interest by international investors to exploit those resources. The large-scale investments in the oil, gas and energy sectors, as well as the agricultural and mining sector often focus on the ethnic border areas which have experienced decades of conflict and war economies. If the increasing foreign direct investment, particularly in the resource rich border areas, is not properly managed or regulated, it could deteriorate the situation of the regions surrounding these resources and increase pressure on already vulnerable local communities. The Heinrich Böll Stiftung, together with its local partners, seeks to promote a fair, transparent and sustainable management of Myanmar’s natural resources.

German Energiewende

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