Millions of small-scale farmers in Myanmar risk losing land under proposals to regulate land use which focus too much on investment and not enough on people's livelihoods, a Netherlands-based non-profit think tank warned on Thursday.
The proposed Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the European Union (EU) and Canada would grant energy companies far-reaching rights to challenge bans and regulations of environmentally damaging shale gas development (fracking), a new briefing by Corporate Europe Observatory, The Council of Canadians and the Transnational Institute shows.
Some 70 representatives of farmers’ organizations and civil society organizations from different parts of Burma gathered during a three-day meeting in Rangoon this week to hold the first of a number of discussions on the government’s new draft national land use policy.
A briefing paper jointly published earlier this month by the Netherlands-based think tank groups has asserted that new ceasefires that have been signed since 2011 have further facilitated land grabbing in conflict-affected areas where large development projects in resource-rich ethnic regions have already taken place.
About 40 ethnic activist groups are calling on the government, ethnic militias and the international community to address a surge in land-grabbing, as companies move into Burma’s ethnic regions following recent ceasefire agreements.
New data shows that less than one-quarter of the area of large-scale land concessions awarded to businesses since 2010-11 is being used for agriculture. This raises “serious questions” about the government’s land use policies.