Karen indigenous rights defender receives Goldman environmental prize

December 1, 2020

We are proud to celebrate the awarding of the 2020 Goldman Environmental Prize to Saw Paul Sein Twa, Kaw K’sa of the Salween Peace Park and founding member of KESAN. The Goldman Prize recognizes individuals for their sustained and significant efforts to protect the natural environment.

A native of Mutraw and a bastion of Karen indigenous culture, Paul has spent more than two decades supporting communities and nourishing their visions for a peaceful life in harmony with nature. At the local, national, and international level Paul has brought together diverse stakeholders to tirelessly fight for environmental justice, Indigenous rights, and peace. These grassroots coalitions are building a better future that embraces peace, and conservation for the benefit of all.

A shining example of this is the Salween Peace Park (SPP), a 5400km2 Indigenous Karen territory in the lush jungles of Mutraw. Founded upon Karen culture, and built around close cooperation, mutual trust and respect between local people, government and civil society, the SPP is an Indigenous Karen response to conflict, mega-dams, and the global climate emergency. Communities are becoming more resilient to these multiple threats through the revitalization of traditional knowledge and practices, which have been shared through many generations. The communities of Mutraw present the Salween Peace Park to the world both as an approach to bringing an end to over 70 years of conflict in Myanmar, and as a demonstration of the central and invaluable role that Indigenous peoples and local communities play in combatting climate change and achieving the global sustainable development agenda.

KESAN is grateful for the Goldman Environmental Foundation’s recognition of the achievements of Paul and the many communities and allies with whom he continues to work closely. We will channel this energy into our work for a better life for Indigenous communities in Burma and across the world, and for a peaceful and sustainable future for all.

For more information please contact:

Hsa Moo :  +66 : 979958177

Alex :  +959959170667


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