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Webinar Series: Listening to Voices from Myanmar

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Webinar Series: Listening to Voices from Myanmar

Session 3:  Rivers at Risk: Hidden Costs of Development Projects Amidst Conflict in Myanmar

March 13, 2024 (Wednesday) 19:00-20:30 JST

Since the military attempted a coup in Myanmar on February 1, 2021, the country has been thrown into chaos with over 2.6 million internally displaced persons as the military’s oppression and escalating conflicts with ethnic revolutionary organizations intensifies. The death toll from the military crackdown has already exceeded 4,500 people. While Japan is the largest aid donor to Myanmar, it has not exerted its influence in the correct manner, while continuing its Official Development Assistance (ODA) after the coup attempt and supplying public funds to businesses related to the military. Moreover, the situation in regions inhabited by ethnic minorities who have long sought autonomy and the voices of people with diverse backgrounds have not been well understood in Japan.

This webinar seminars is co-hosted by the #NoMoreBusinessWithJunta campaign organizers (Mekong Watch, ayus:Network of Buddhists Volunteers on International Cooperation, Friends of the Earth Japan, Japan International Volunteer Center (JVC), and Network Against Japan Arms Trade (NAJAT)) with Progressive Voice. The webinar series intends to amplify voices of the people of Myanmar to Japan. We will discuss and hear ground updates, historical background of conflicts, situation in ethnic minority areas, and what the civil society from Myanmar expects from the Japanese government and society, featuring Myanmar activists and NGO staff as guest speakers.

Session 3:  Rivers at Risk: Hidden Costs of Development Projects Amidst Conflict in Myanmar

Despite the serious and irreversible effects dams have on both the environment and the local communities, widespread myths about the national benefits of large-scale dams prevail. Often hailed as a source of clean, green energy, dams have actually negatively impacted river’s ecosystems and destroyed the livelihoods of people around the world who rely on natural resources. Similar issues are arising in the basin of the Namtu River, a tributary of the Irrawaddy River. There, the concerns of local communities forced to endure these consequences may be silenced by the interests of distant urban and international beneficiaries.

Our third session of the webinar series “Listening to Voices from Myanmar” coincides with the International Day of Action for Rivers, a day dedicated to saving, celebrating, and raising awareness about the importance of rivers. We invite Nang Mo Hsai*, an ethnic women activist from Northern Shan State, Myanmar, to share her unique insights on the overlooked environmental ramifications resulting from the Myanmar military’s coup attempt, with a particular focus on her community’s efforts to stop dam construction along the Namtu River, some of which have involved Japanese businesses. She will also share with us the current situation in Northern Shan State as the Myanmar military intensifies its attacks against civilians, fostering an environment that makes it even harder for local communities to raise their voices against exploitative business ventures.

Join us to explore the hidden social and environmental costs of dams, as we amplify the voices of those fighting to protect Myanmar’s rivers.

*Nang Mo Hsai is using a Pseudonym to protect her safety and security.

Date and Time

March 13, 2024 (Wednesday) 19:00-20:30 JST

Where

Online Event (Zoom Webinar)

Language

English (with simultaneous Japanese interpretation)

Registration Form

https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_To1cnz63S0iJ6vWwIAbRLg

Speaker

Nang Mo Hsai

Speaker Profiles
Nang Mo Hsai is an environmental activist from northern Shan State, Myanmar. She is the spokesperson for Namtu River Protectors, a grassroots community alliance in Shan State. Her commitment to environmental and human rights issues began in 2018, focusing on combating unsustainable developments threatening the Namtu River and communities that live alongside it. Her leadership has not only spotlighted the ecological challenges in Shan State but also mobilized a broad base of support, leading to several companies withdrawing from harmful development projects. Her efforts epitomize a resilient stand against environmental degradation, inspiring collective action to safeguard the natural heritage in Myanmar.

Co-organized by

#NoMoreBusinessWithJunta campaign organizers (Mekong Watch, ayus:Network of Buddhists Volunteers on International Cooperation, Friends of the Earth Japan Japan International Volunteer Center (JVC), and Network Against Japan Arms Trade (NAJAT)) with Progressive Voice

Contact

Mekong Watch [email protected]