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Hydropower in Myanmar must be decided by priority for female workers I Asia Times

Bustling mornings on the Salween on the Thai/Myanmar frontier as ladies are selling their produce from the waterfront garden. An Environmental Strategy Review for Myanmar's hydro industry, co-chaired by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Myanmar authorities, will make its definitive recommendation in the next fewweek. The Asia Times publishes this report on 8 March, International Women's Day, to draw attention to a recent visit to the Salween River, to recall that the voice of the woman must be at the heart of the decision-making process on the importance of hydro power and wider regional and Myanmar power programming.

Rafthouses in the town of Ban Sob Moei, located in Thailand at the junction of the Salween and its affluent along the Thai-Myanmar river frontier, were revived early in the mornings during a recent writers outing. Each of the girls had already made at least 200-300 Bahts (about 8,000-12,000 Myanmar Kyats or US$6.40-$9.60) in less than an hours, which is about the approximate Thailand living wages.

The Karen have been living on the Salween River for generation. Local people, especially the elderly and elderly, have used the country along the banks of the river for gardening to maximise the nutrient-rich soil needed for farming in the arid time. The Salween, one of the last large free-flowing streams in the word, continues to soar.

It is known as the Salawin in Thai, the Thanlwin in Burma and the Nujiang in Chinese. The Salween has been a goal for the hydroelectric power generation industries for many years. Government and privately-owned enterprises from China and Thailand have actively pushed ahead with planning the building of large hydroelectric power plants.

The seven hydroelectric power plants in Myanmar include the Mong Ton, Ywathit and Hat Gyi hydroelectric power plants. The cascading hydroelectric power plant was designed with the exclusion of the affected municipalities, many of which have been displaced from their land in the Solween River basins in Myanmar in recent years due to violent wars.

In the last year and a half, IFC - the World Bank's own credit agency - has conducted a strategic review of the Myanmar hydro power industry. She suggested reserving four of Myanmar's main tributaries, among them the Salween and the Irrawaddy. It states that the main flows of these flows should be protected from the building of hydroelectric power stations, as there are serious doubts about their impact on the environment, which include dramatic changes in seasonsal runoff regulations and the blockage of migratory movements of fishery products.

Whilst this is a welcome suggestion for many, the design also suggests prioritising cascading hydroelectric power in select sub-basins, which are classified as lower-risk due to their bias. Among them are the name Teng and the farmer in the Shan and Karenni states. Among them are often ignored issues of concern to them.

Hydroelectric power and other major infrastructural ventures can have a disproportionate impact on local communities, especially peasant farmers, ethnical and tribal people. Nevertheless, gender-specific effects of reservoirs are generally not taken into account when designing consultation and assessment, as they have no relation to foundations such as discoaggregated information or a more precise analysis of gender-specific problems and weaknesses.

It documents acts of atrocity against trafficked woman during the Tatmadaw (Myanmar military) and Shanlict. "The Shan campaigner said, "Women in the region have experienced widespread violation of people' s freedoms, and the heritage of it is still there. The Salween and Nam Teng wives were evicted during the centuries of wars.

People who have escaped their home-and the country-have stayed in Thailand or elsewhere, but are still hoping to go back to their homeland, even those areas intended for the reservoir. They and their family were not taken into account when designing the hydroelectric power plants in the Salween Basin. To what degree the bequest of the dispute contains suggestions in the concluding SEA review on the further evolution of hydroelectric power in these war-torn areas is still not known.

Civic groups also fear that the erection of large hydroelectric power plants or other infrastructural complexes will re-ignite or even exacerbate the conflicts in the struggle for power over decision-making on landmass and nature's resource. Furthermore, past experiences show that the erection of hydroelectric power plants involves an increased risk of female abuse and abuse, especially in nearby villages, as a large number of men are entering the area and guarded by guns to protect the site.

It can also raise the risk of STIs, HIV/AIDS included. The Salween have escaped from their homeland from their abuses and violent attacks. If hydroelectric power is exploited on its tributaries, this is likely to worsen. Like all other groups in our societies, a woman deserves a secure and secure life, and not less.

They can only do this if they are sensibly involved in decision-making about the fate of their flows.

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