On 17th July GEF – together with the Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry, the Tanintharyi Regional Government, Smithsonian Institution (SI), Green Economy Green Growth (GEGG) Myanmar Association, Fauna and Flora International (FFI)- was due to commence the Ridge to Reef Project, a $21 million conservation project that poses to transform 1.4 million hectares of community lands in Tanintharyi Region into Protected Areas – equivalent to 33.5% of the region.
The project has been developed without the consent of indigenous communities, and stands to violate the land and resource rights of local communities, the rights of IDPs and refugees to return to their lands, and to undermine the fragile peace process between the Karen National Union and the Myanmar Government.
With its member Kesan: Karen Environmental & Social Action Network, the ICCA Consortium is planning actions of support for the Karen communities.
Update (May 2020): Conservation Alliance Tanawthari (CAT) and indigenous communities throughout the region have developed an alternative vision for landscape conservation – the Tanawthari Landscape of Life. This vision connects up indigenous territories and Karen managed wildlife sanctuaries all the way down the Tenasserim river basin and out to the Andaman Sea to form an indigenous conserved landscape – protecting biodiversity, livelihoods, local indigenous practices and cultures, and peace throughout the region. CAT are now calling on conservation financiers and organisations to abandon top-down conservation initiatives, and support this alternative vision of conservation in the region.
Find here the complaint letter written by the Conservation Alliance Tanawthari (CAT) to the GEF Conflict Resolution Commissioner, and their cover letter.
Find here the report: Our Forest, Our Life : Protected Areas in Taninthary Region Must Respect the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Conservation Alliance of Tanawthari (2018)
Find here the report Tanawthari Landscape of Life: A grassroots alternative to top-down conservation in Tanintharyi Region. Conservation Alliance of Tanawthari (2020)
See the photo essay realized by CAT about the Tanawthari Landscape of Life (2020).