Myanmar: Oxfam report identifies possible environmental and social challenges of Kyauk Phyu SEZ with recommendations to support responsible investment

Author: Oxfam, Published on: 1 March 2018

"RESPONSIBLE INVESTMENT IN MYANMAR: Lessons from experiences of SEZ developments", Oxfam, 7 February 2017

As Myanmar continues to navigate its rapid economic expansion triggered by the end of military rule in 2010, the development of SEZs forms a key element of the country’s industrialisation plan. …This report draws on evidence from the South-East Asia region to explore the wider social and environmental impacts of SEZs, with case studies from Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia and Vietnam. … Oxfam has been providing humanitarian assistance and working with local communities to improve livelihoods and reduce poverty in Kyauk Phyu township – one of the sites of Myanmar’s three SEZs. Based on experience of SEZ developments in the region, this report identifies issues and lessons with relevance to the Kyauk Phyu context.

Key factors for a successful SEZ include (but are not limited to): a clear vision and objectives; the location, depth and skill levels of local labour markets; linkages to domestic markets; and strong coordination and consistent support for policies across central and local government.  Transparent and accountable planning, decision making and implementation are also crucial. The context in Kyauk Phyu and available information about the SEZ development indicate that there are many risks to be mitigated and challenges to overcome if it is to succeed, while avoiding serious environmental damage and bringing greater prosperity to local communities. …Oxfam proposes…recommendations to support responsible investment, maximise positive opportunities and minimise any potential negative impacts.

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Related companies: China International Trust and Investment (CITIC)