Natural Resources


Local people in Kayah (Karenni) State have owned and managed the natural resources in their region by their customary practices. The natural resources in the region include forest, minerals, water springs, fish, animals and rock formations. Within each village, the villagers define their own rules for protecting their forest and have a management plan for protecting the natural resources within it.



Under Myanmar’s laws and policies, indigenous people are unable to access the required documentation for government recognition of their natural resources. Thus, they cannot access the benefits of their natural resources that they have protected and maintained by their customary practices since their ancestral period. The lack of protection for indigenous people’s natural resources provided by these laws and policies is damaging their environment and extinguishing their customary natural resource management systems.



These natural resources need to have documentation and their accompanying management plans must receive recognition from the government so they can continue to manage and own the natural resources that they have preserved for generations.


Kayah Earthrights Action Network (KEAN) is empowering communities to understand clearly the process of protecting their natural resources and organizing communities to recognize neighbor’s boundaries, develop their natural resource management plans and create exact boundaries and natural resource maps in consultation with other neighboring villages. Recognizing each other’s boundaries and natural resources at the community level is an effective solution for protecting their natural resources and advocating to the government to recognize their community’s natural resources and management plan. Through better relationships between the villages, it is easy for the communities to organize and ask the government and investors for things they want or refuse things that they do not want in their community.

Indigenous People’s Source of Life: The Forest

by Good Willer

Kayah (Karenni) state is a small state known for its abundance of natural resources. I would like to share about one of these natural would like to share about one of these natural resources: The Forest. Indigenous people in Kayah (Karenni) State have relied on, valued and worshiped the Nats of their natural forest for generations. This local governance of the forest has allowed the natural environment to flourish for the local people but it has not yet received protection in the national laws. Read More