The Greening of a Dictatorship
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Thursday, December 09, 2021


The Greening of a Dictatorship

By Zao Noam OCTOBER, 2004 - VOLUME 12 NO.9

(Page 3 of 4)

A few months later the Burma Army launched a military offensive that captured land controlled by the indigenous Karen to include it in the reserve and to grant logging concessions.


That action provides an idea of what could happen in the world’s largest tiger reserve in Kachin State, where the Burma Army, in cooperation with the WCS, has taken over KIO-controlled Kachin land, in the name of conservation.


In addition to the mining and logging concessions that followed the ceasefire in Kachin State, the Burmese government is using “conservation” as a tool to acquire territory and weaken ethnic-political organizations. At the same time, the regime is exploiting natural resources within park borders to fund state coffers.


The junta’s conservation policies at work in the Pegu Yoma.


The Burmese government uses international environmental organizations and treaties in order to gain “green money” and recognition as an “environmental steward”. However, a Burmese signature on an international environmental agreement does not commit the regime to specific actions. It is one thing to create new domestic laws under the provision of international treaties, but another matter altogether to democratically implement them.


International environmental organizations continue to endorse the protected area system in Burma, yet they are not allowed to discuss the political ramifications of establishing conservation parks under the control of the Burmese government. For these reasons, in 1997, Aung San Suu Kyi spoke out against doing conservation work in Burma.


A recent Global Witness report critical of the logging industry in northern Burma provoked numerous official Burmese government responses.

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