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Ayeyarwady Integrated River Basin Management Project (AIRBMP), Myanmar

The World Bank approved in 2014 a plan to study the Ayeyarwady river, the main river in Myanmar, in order to develop the area. Local communities fear that the plan will bring new development projects that will affect their livelihoods.


The Irrawaddy river, locally known in Myanmar as the Ayeyarwady, is often described as Myanmar's backbone. It originates in the northern region of Kachin and flows through the central area splitting the country into two parts, until it empties through the Irrawaddy Delta into the Indian Ocean. It is the country's largest river and the most important commercial waterway.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Ayeyarwady Integrated River Basin Management Project (AIRBMP), Myanmar
State or province:Central Myanmar
Location of conflict:Various
Accuracy of locationLOW (Country level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Water Management
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Water access rights and entitlements
Specific commodities:Water
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Approval Date by World Bank: December 9, 2014

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Level of Investment:100,000,000
Type of populationUnknown
Affected Population:unknown
Start of the conflict:09/12/2014
Company names or state enterprises:International Centre for Environmental Management (ICEM) from Australia - Consultant/research
Relevant government actors:Directorate of Water Resources and Improvement of River Systems (Myanmar), Ministry of Transport and Communications (MoTC)
International and Finance InstitutionsThe World Bank (WB) from United States of America
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:WWF Myanmar (, Natural Green Alliance (local NGO Mandalay), Renewable Energy Association Myanmar (REAM)
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLATENT (no visible organising at the moment)
Reaction stageLATENT (no visible resistance)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Local ejos
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Public campaigns
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Other Environmental impacts
Other Environmental impactsMany of the environmental impacts are still to be seen since the project is in its early stages
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Other socio-economic impacts
Other socio-economic impactsMany of the socio-economic impacts are still to be seen since the project is in its early stages
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Conflict outcome / response:Under negotiation
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The project is still at an early stage and local NGOs are just starting mobilizing.
Sources & Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

2012 Environmental Conservation Law
[click to view]

2015 Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Procedure
[click to view]

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[7] ICEM. 2017. Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) and Environmental and Social Management Plan (ESMP) for Subproject 1, Draft Scoping Report for ESIA/ESMP. Prepared for DWIR and the WB. Hanoi.
[click to view]

Myanmar Integrated Water Resources Management, Strategic Study, Research and Analysis, Strategies and Measures, produced by Consortium Royal Haskoning DHV (lead firm), Arcadis, Rebel Group, UNESCO-IHE, Dutch Water Authorities, Tygron, December 2014,
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[3] Can the new government protect Myanmar’s water resources? Myanmar Times, May 26 2017
[click to view]

[2] AIRBM Master Plan to be completed by 2020. Myanmar Times. October 18 2017
[click to view]

[4] WWF-Myanmar study aims for sustainable use of Ayeyarwady, Myanmar Times, October 24 2017
[click to view]

[6] Environmentalists Reject Irrawaddy River as ‘International’ Waterway, The Irrawaddy, May 17, 2014
[click to view]

[5] Ayeyarwady River navigation project to start in February, Myanmar Times, January 22, 2018
[click to view]

[1] Myanmar Ayeyarwady Integrated River Basin Management Project. Environmental and social management framework draft executive summary- Directorate of Water Resources and Improvement of River Systems of Myanmar
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Laura Villadiego, Carro de Combate, [email protected]
Last update25/06/2018
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