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30 Nov 2020

Goldman Prize

Myanmar: Land rights defender Paul Sein Twa wins 2020 Goldman Environmental Prize for Asia

Seeking to preserve both the environment and Karen culture in Myanmar, in December 2018 Paul Sein Twa led his people in establishing a 1.35-million-acre peace park—a unique and collaborative community-based approach to conservation—in the Salween River basin. The Salween River basin is a major biodiversity zone and home to the indigenous Karen people, who have long sought self-determination and cultural survival. The new park represents a major victory for peace and conservation in Myanmar... Largely isolated due to years of conflict, the Salween River basin is both a major biodiversity zone and the home of the indigenous Karen people... Today, as resource-rich Myanmar transitions from military dictatorship to capitalist democracy, there has been an increase in logging, mining, agribusiness, dams, and rubber extraction in the area. In 1998, the Burmese government proposed the $2.6 billion, 1,360-megawatt Hatgyi dam in the southern Salween basin—in the heart of Karen territory.