[Seminar] Investment to Myanmar and Environmental and Social Aspects “What should Japan do?: Reports from Local Residents Affected by the Thilawa SEZ”

Sep 27, 2016 (Tue) 18:30-20:30

Organized by: Mekong Watch

Cooperation by: Ayus, FoE Japan, Human Rights Now
Location: Global Environmental Outreach Centre (Tokyo)
(1st Floor of UN University, between Shibuya and Omotesando)
http://www.geoc.jp/english/contact/access/
Fee:  500 Yen (Students and Mekong Watch and cooperating organizations’ members are free)

More than 2 years have passed since residents affected by the Thilawa SEZ Development Project filed a complaint and request for investigation into JICA’s what they believed to be violations of JICA’s safeguard policies. Have there been any improvements? What are the current situation and problems? Any concerns? At the seminar, residents and local NGO staff will be reporting on recent developments.

The Japanese government and private sector are promoting the Thilawa SEZ Development Project together in Myanmar/Burma. It is a project to develop a special economic zone of around 2,400ha containing industrial and commercial areas. The project site is located about 23km from the Yangon City center. In November 2013, Phase 1 of the project was commenced by JICA with Myanmar-Japan joint ventures in which Japanese trading companies invested. In September 2015, some parts of SEZ were opened and this year, construction of some sections of Phase 2 is planned to start.

One aim of the project is promotion of economic development in Myanmar, but some 1,000 households are subject to relocation. In the Phase 1, already 68 households have been forced to resettle and they are facing difficulties due to loss of access to farmlands, grazing lands, rivers, etc. and those who are supposed to relocate in the future are anxious that they will face the same type of problems. In addition, the environmental assessment was finished even before residents were fully informed of what was being planned. Information disclosure and consultations with the affected residents are unfortunately still insufficient.

For this seminar, we have invited affected residents of the project and NGOs from Myanmar so that we can learn from them about the current living conditions and the issues around this project and think about what Japan should do for environmental and social aspects of development projects.

Seminar Program (subject to change):
1) Overview of the Thilawa SEZ Development Project
2) Report from local residents/NGOs
3) Background and Legal Aspects of Land Confiscation in Thilawa
4) Recommendations for Japanese Society
5) Q&A

*There will be consecutive interpretation for Japanese from Burmese.

To attend:
Register through Mekong Watch (in Japanese)
http://www.mekongwatch.org/events/lecture01/20160927.html
Or just show up!

Inquiries: <info@mekongwatch.org> (in Japanese or English)

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