Energy Projects and Environmental Governance in Burma: The Role of Transnational Activism |

Energy Projects and Environmental Governance in Burma: The Role of Transnational Activism

Synopsis:

Governance of transnational energy projects is traditionally undertaken by a variety of administering bodies attached to the governments of the states involved in the projects. As well as trying to influence public opinion within these states, social and environmental activists often lobby these governments directly to achieve their goals. This strategy is most efficacious within liberal democracies but on occasions it can also sway authoritarian regimes. Despite opposing often powerful business interests, activists see this direct lobbying as a potentially significant tool in influencing government decision making. In the case of military regime ruling Burma (Myanmar), however, activists hold no hope of directly influencing government policy so they have focused almost entirely on transnational modes of governance. This is especially relevant for exiled activists who have removed themselves from the military’s sphere of influence into Burma’s borderlands, particularly the Thai-Burmese border region. This seminar examines the strategies and tactics that these activists have deployed in the campaigns against energy projects such as gas pipelines and hydro-electric dams, which are used to export energy to neighbouring countries, such as China and Thailand. It finds that while the option of local activism is largely closed within Burma itself, an exiled ‘activist diaspora’ has
developed expertise and skills in these campaigns which may make a broader contribution to more democratic and just forms of governance in the country’s future.

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Speaker(s):

Adam Simpson, Lecturer in International Studies and a Key Researcher in the Centre for Peace, Conflict and Mediation within the Hawke Research Institute, University of South Australia

Date:
Thursday, 15 April 2010
Time:
12.15 p.m. - 1.30 p.m.
Venue:

Seminar Room 3-1
Level 3, Manasseh Meyer
Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy
469C Bukit Timah Road
Singapore 259772

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