Res­i­dents protest against park’s bid for UN list­ing

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - News - MYAT MOE AUNG news­room@mm­times.com

A PE­TI­TION from res­i­dents protest­ing against the ex­pan­sion of Khak­ab­o­razi Na­tional Park and its ap­pli­ca­tion to join UNESCO’S world her­itage list will be sub­mit­ted to the gov­ern­ment and UNESCO in Oc­to­ber, res­i­dents an­nounced.

Puta-o, Machan­baw and Nawng­mun township res­i­dents protested against the proposals for the na­tional park plans and they were also against the Wildlife Con­ser­va­tion So­ci­ety (WCS), said U Phay Ram, com­mit­tee mem­ber of Rawang Lit­er­a­ture and Cul­ture Com­mit­tee.

“We signed a pe­ti­tion that will be sent to the Union Min­is­ter, the con­cerned groups and also UNESCO. Col­lect­ing sig­na­tures will take place this week,” said U Yaw Shu, chair of Rawang lit­er­a­ture and cul­ture com­mit­tee.

Lo­cals op­po­si­tion springs from their ex­ten­sive re­liance on the for­est for hunt­ing and gath­er­ing plants. They worry it may im­pact their liveli­hood.

With re­gard to the na­tional park ex­ten­sion, lo­cals were not con­sulted and only a few were se­lected as rep­re­sen­ta­tives to par­take in meet­ings, said U Zaw Yaw, a lo­cal res­i­dent and vice pres­i­dent of Jane Phaw Lit­er­a­ture and Cul­ture As­so­ci­a­tion.

The an­nounce­ment of Khakarbo­razi Na­tional Park’s ex­ten­sion was is­sued on July 28 by the Min­istry of Nat­u­ral Re­sources and En­vi­ron­men­tal Con­ser­va­tion. Cur­rently a dossier is un­der­way to in­scribe Khakarbo­razi re­gion as a UNESCO World Her­itage.

Khakarbo­razi re­gion con­sists of Khakarbo­razi Na­tional Park and its ex­tended south­ern area – where fur­ther demon­stra­tions will take place – and Phonekan­yarzi Con­ser­va­tion Area.

The con­ser­va­tion of the ar­eas aim for lo­cals to ben­e­fit from en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion, for the recog­ni­tion and pro­tec­tion of pre­served ar­eas’ ecosys­tem for fu­ture gen­er­a­tion, and to pre­vent from abu­sive ex­ploita­tion of nat­u­ral re­sources which would dam­age the en­vi­ron­ment.

Res­i­dents protest against plans for the park to be listed as a UNESCO world her­itage site. Photo: Phung Sar Aung and Aung Hkam

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