The first resources federalism national forum was successfully held with 150 representatives from ethnic political parties, civil society organizations, and ethnic armed organizations on 29 -30 August, 2019 at Park Royal Hotel, Yangon. Centralized ownership, decision-making and management of land and natural resources under the 2008 Constitution have caused human rights violations and environmental degradation including escalation of armed conflict.
This was discussed during the forum, as well as proposed political arrangements regarding natural resources and federalism during the interim, transition and implementation period of the peace process and political reform period. To facilitate an end to over seven decades of internal armed conflict and build a new sustainable federal democratic system, the following common agreements of ethnic groups on land and natural resources were issued
1. Ownership of land and natural resources: The ethnic people living in States and Regions must be the ultimate owner of all the land and natural resources above and below the ground, above and beneath the water and in airspace.
2. Control and management of natural resources: According to federal principles, State and Region governments must have the power to manage and control land and natural resources.
3. Natural resource revenue management: According to federal principles, the governments of States and Regions must have the power to manage revenues and benefits from the use and sale of natural resources.
4. A moratorium on new and incomplete large-scale natural resource investment projects by all stakeholders is needed in the current process of seeking national equality, justice and self-determination.
5. All operational large-scale investment projects and contracts made with domestic and international investors need to be disclosed to the public and reviewed.
6. Existing ethnic natural resource administrative structures and customary land tenure systems should be legally recognized and protected.
7. The rights to ownership, control and management of natural resources must be formalized and women’s participation and input into the drafting of central, state, and region policies, constitutions, and legislation must be ensured.
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