Indigenous communities in Myanmar are fighting to protect the rich biodiversity in the forests of Tanintharyi Region through an Indigenous conservation model. As lawyers working alongside these communities, Accountability Counsel is supporting their fight for an approach to conservation that respects Indigenous knowledge and upholds human rights. This project enables our lawyers to provide deep legal and advocacy support throughout this campaign for environmental and climate justice.
Enduring a 70-year civil war, the rich biodiversity in Myanmar's Tanintharyi Region now faces existential threats from the emergence of unsustainable palm-oil and rubber plantations, illegal logging, and a proposed industrial corridor. The top-down approach to conservation that Myanmar's government and international agencies are implementing in response is further paving the way for exploitation, while also violating Indigenous rights and threatening the region's fragile peace.
Indigenous communities in the region are fighting against this top-down approach and advancing an Indigenous model of conservation to protect the land and natural resources they have stewarded for generations. Accountability Counsel is supporting the campaign against one such top-down project, known as Ridge to Reef. We are helping communities advocate for their chosen path forward - re-designing the project in a way that supports the conservation efforts they have engaged in for centuries.
Re-designing Ridge to Reef in accordance with Indigenous practices will protect 1.4 million hectares of land, including national parks, rainforests, mangroves, and marine systems. These are important resources, both to local communities and in the effort to address climate change. Stopping the harmful top-down approach will also halt human rights abuses and protect the region's peace. This case is a model for how climate investors should work with communities as partners in environmental goals.