Friday, September 30, 2011

Myitsone Dam Suspension a Breakthrough for Burma's Civil Society

Myitsone Dam Suspension a Breakthrough for Burma's Civil Society
International Rivers, September 30, 2011

In a stunning move, Burma's President today announced that the Myitsone
dam project on the Irrawaddy River would be halted "to respect the will
of the people." International Rivers welcomes this decision as a
fantastic breakthrough for civil society groups in Burma and their
partners in China and around the world.

Grace Mang, program coordinator at International Rivers, said: "The
suspension of the Myitsone Dam is a great success for civil society
groups in Burma and throughout the world. The decision shows that dam
builders no longer can rely on dictatorial governments to push through
projects that are rejected by their populations. China Power Investment
Corporation and other dam builders should now reconsider other planned
projects on the Irrawaddy and Salween rivers."

The US$3.6 billion Myitsone hydropwer project would have submerged the
confluence of the Irrawaddy River in Kachin State and created a
reservoir the size of Singapore. The project is the central part of a
seven-dam cascade proposed to be built with US$20 billion in Chinese
investment. It is located in one of the world's top biodiversity
hotspots, would displace 12,000 people, and would irreversibly affect
Burma's central river system and rice-growing area.

The Myitsone Dam is strongly opposed by the Kachin People's
Organization, Nobel Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, civil society
organizations in Burma, and their partner groups in China and around the
world. International Rivers is supporting the Burmese NGOs through
technical analysis, corporate research and international awareness-raising.

For more background information about the Myitsone Dam, see

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