Statement by Action for Shan State Rivers: IFC must stop promoting dams on theNamtu/Myitnge river amidst conflict in Shan State

We, Action for Shan State Rivers, oppose the International Finance Corporation (IFC)’s Cumulative Impact Assessment in the Namtu/Myitnge river basin, which is promoting dam-building, and refuse to participate in their “stakeholder” meeting in Taunggyi today.

The IFC is holding the meeting at Mountain Star Hotel in Karn Shey Quarter of Taunggyi, the capital of Shan State. It will be chaired by a state level representative of the Ministry of Electricity and Energy (MOEE) or Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation (MONREC).

The IFC has stated clearly in their Strategic Environmental Assessment of the Myanmar Hydropower Sector in 2018, that the Namtu/Myitnge is a “priority” for hydropower development, even though war is raging along the river and local communities are strongly opposed to any new dams.

“The IFC meeting in Taunggyi is just a box-ticking exercise in preparation for dam-building on the Namtu/Myitnge river, and we want no part of it” said Sai Khur Hseng, Shan Sapawa Environmental Organization.

The IFC’s assessment of the Namtu/Myitnge basin is being funded by Australian Aid, and implemented by the Swedish engineering consultancy company SWECO.

Four large dams are being planned on the mainstream Namtu-Myitnge river, including the Upper Yeywa dam, involving companies from Switzerland, Japan and China, which is under construction in Kyaukme township.

Another planned dam is the 735 Megawatt Middle Yeywa Dam in Nawng Khio township, a project of Norway’s state-owned SN Power. On August 29, the Chairman of SN Power Mr. Oystein Oyehaug visited Burma and met with State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in Naypyidaw on August 29, 2019, to discuss hydropower development.

We reiterate our call for a moratorium on all new dams in ethnic areas until the civil war is ended, and there is a federal constitution allowing ethnic peoples the right to protect their natural resources, including rivers.
· All new dams on the Namtu/Myitnge – whether under construction or under survey – must be stopped immediately.
· Switzerland, Japan, China, Norway and Austria must end their companies’ involvement in dam building on the Namtu/Myitnge.
· The IFC must stop promoting dams on the Myitnge/Namtu.

Contact:

Sai Khur Hseng +95 (0) 926 436 2973
Nang Charm Tong +66 (0) 87-658-9551
Sai Hor Hseng +66 (0) 63-389-5088
Sai Yord Luen +66 (0) 97- 173-1530

Action for Shan State Rivers is a coalition of community based groups committed to the protection of rivers in Shan State

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