A conflict of interests: the uncertain future of Burma's forests | Land Portal

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Date of publication: 
janvier 2004
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Burma is resource rich, and principal among these resources is timber. This report, based on research and fieldwork carried out by Global Witness in Burma, Thailand and China, examines the roots of the civil war and how conflict and an authoritarian regime (the State Peace and Development Council - SPDC) have been sustained through the exploitation of Burma’s natural resources.The paper argues that Burma is the epitome of unrealised potential - a poor country rich in natural resources and social capital. Historically struggles over the control of natural resources have been a primary cause of war in Burma and addressing both ethnic concerns and the manner in which natural resources are exploited will be pivotal for the future of peace and development in the country.The report makes a number of recommendations to key players, including action points for the international community:increase the provision of aid directly to the people of Burma, following stakeholder consultation, in a way that prevents its diversion and that does not perpetuate military rule and human rights abuseprovide support for Burmese independent NGOs, in the form of technical assistance, to raise their capacity to administer their humanitarian programmes and to manage increasing levels of foreign funding.To achieve equitable and sustainable management of Burma’s forests, the International Community should:ensure that timber imported from Burma does not fund conflict, or lead to human rights abuse or increased poverty, and that it is harvested from a legal, sustainably managed source and produced in accordance with Burma’s international obligationsmake all data relating to the importation of timber from Burma publicly available; including volumes, value, and originFacilitate a forest sector review and forest value assessment, to determine how to protect and sustainably manage all of Burma’s forests in the best interests of the people of Burma. This should include a forest cover survey and meaningful public consultation.In relation to the equitable and sustainable management of Burma’s forests, the SPDC should:implement the results of the proposed forest sector review and forest value assessment, increase transparency and accountability. This should include the cessation of all unsustainable logging practices and logging that is detrimental to the best interests of the peoples of Burmaensure the formal participation of local communities in the decision-making process relating to forest conservation and exploitation.[adapted from author]

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Global Witness exposes the hidden links between demand for natural resources, corruption, armed conflict and environmental destruction


Many of the world’s worst environmental and human rights abuses are driven by the exploitation of natural resources and corruption in the global political and economic system.  Global Witness is campaigning to end this. We carry out hard-hitting investigations, expose these abuses, and campaign for change.  We are independent, not-for-profit, and work with partners around the world in our fight for justice.

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