Cross Learning Exposure Trip to Dawei & Thilawa SEZs

Cross Learning Exposure Trip to Dawei & Thilawa SEZs October 29, 2019

A Chinese-backed Economic Development Zone is under way in Myitkyina along the China – Myanmar Economic Corridor. The Kachin State government and the Yunnan Tengchong Heng Yong Investment Company (YTHIC) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on May 2018 for implementation of the Myitkyina Economic Development Zone (MEDZ), also known as the Namjim Industrial Zone, which is 25 kilometers from the Kachin State capital of Myitkyina.YTHIC and the Myitkyina Economic Development Zone Committee (MEDZC), formed by the Kachin State government, are expected to build the massive MEDZ on approximately 4,700 acres of land along historic Ledo Road.

When the news reached,  Paung Ku’s Man_Kachin team has visited the project area instantly and spoken with the local on January 2019.  The Local mentioned that they know nothing specific about the project. While a handful of people do have official documents to prove their rights to the land, a majority do not have ownership certificates for land they have been cultivating for generations. After the visit, the team examines and identifies the regional actors who could actively monitor this Megaproject with the purpose of local people rights.

Therefore, Paung Ku’ upper and lower Myanmar teams collaboratively organized the cross-learning exposure trip to Dawei and Thilawa SEZ, conduvie to learn from Paung Ku Dawei and Thilawa partners and local communities.

During the trip, participants expressed their profound interest in learning about the strategies, the role of media, the importance of resource mapping tactics and scheme to mobilize the communities.  The respondents also stated that they came to realize the essential of capacity building for indigenous communities to have a conversation with Company and Government representatives. 

During the review session after the trip, the participants of Kachin agreed to document what they learned about their exposure trip and distribute it in their regional organizations. While youth/women will be a major force in combating possible effects of the Economic Development Zone, they also expect to invite them and spread the information and knowledge. Base on this, nessary works will be carry out such as organization of training, workshops and sutible researchs to tackle the issues that would cause in the processes of execution Economic Development Zone.