Karen communities located in the areas close the proposed Bawgata Hydropower Project are designated as ’primary stakeholders’ in the Pre-Feasibility Study, according to the International Finance Corporation Standards that govern this project. The project will not proceed without the authorisation of local communities and other concerned stakeholders, who will have many opportunities for consultation and to participate in decision-making. The KNU wishes to demonstrate to communities that it can manage development in a way that listens to communities’
wishes and makes sure they benefit when projects do proceed.
Karen Civil Society Organisations (CSOs)
Karen CSOs play an important role in representing the views of Karen people in relation to social, environmental, and economic issues, as well as the peace process. The KNU wishes to work closely
and build trust with Karen CSOs throughout this process, demonstrating that development can take place transparently, with respect for social and environmental impact, and with real benefit
sharing for Karen people.
The Karen National Union (KNU)
The KNU is the owner of Thoolei Company, which is a registered company under the Myanmar Companies Act. The KNU is the ultimate decision-maker on this project, provided local communities
approve. The KNU wishes to use this project to help strengthen its ability in economic and natural resource governance, to build trust with local communities and CSOs, and to provide models of resource sharing that can feed into peace process negotiations. The KNU’s Economic Committee and Economic Secretariat provide regulatory oversight of this project and make sure it is consistent
with KNU policies and procedures, and the people’s wishes. The KNU Economic Secretariat has a community liaison officer, who can be reached via the contacts page for questions related to KNU economic policy more broadly.
ThooLei Company was established as a representative of the Karen National Union. It was formed in 2013. Its vision is to empower local communities and rural development through sustainable and responsible business solutions. The KNU is exploring possible models for Thoolei Company that would allow the assets and revenues the company generates over time to be shared with Karen communities for the purpose of long term, responsible development.
The Pre-Feasibility Study for the proposed Bawgata Hydropower Project is being conducted according to the highest IFC Standards for environmental and social responsibility. To our knowledge, this project will be the first of its size conducted to meet these standards in Myanmar. The Norwegian consultancy company Norconsult, and the Norwegian Government’s Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) are providing international experts to conduct technical, environmental, and social assessments.