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
NameAyeyarwady Integrated River Basin Management Project (AIRBMP), Myanmar
ProvinceCentral Myanmar
Accuracy of LocationLOW country/state level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Water Management
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Water access rights and entitlements
Specific CommoditiesWater
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsApproval Date by World Bank: December 9, 2014

Closing date: September 30, 2020

Total Project Cost: US$ 100.00 million

Funding from World Bank: US$ 100.00 million

The International Centre for Environmental Management (Australia) has been appointed as consultant for the project.
Level of Investment (in USD)100,000,000
Type of PopulationUnknown
Potential Affected Populationunknown
Start Date09/12/2014
Company Names or State EnterprisesInternational Centre for Environmental Management (ICEM) from Australia - Consultant/research
Relevant government actorsDirectorate of Water Resources and Improvement of River Systems (Myanmar), Ministry of Transport and Communications (MoTC)
International and Financial InstitutionsThe World Bank (WB) from United States of America
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersWWF Myanmar (http://www.wwf.org.mm/en/), Natural Green Alliance (local NGO Mandalay), Renewable Energy Association Myanmar (REAM)
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LATENT (no visible organising at the moment)
When did the mobilization beginLATENT (no visible resistance)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Local ejos
Fisher people
Forms of MobilizationMedia 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
OtherMany of the environmental impacts are still to be seen since the project is in its early stages
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Other socio-economic impacts
OtherMany 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)
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseUnder negotiation
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.The project is still at an early stage and local NGOs are just starting mobilizing.
Sources and Materials

2012 Environmental Conservation Law
[click to view]

2015 Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Procedure
[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]

[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]


[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]

[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]

[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]

Other Documents

Irrawaddy River Map of the Irrawaddy river. / Source: Wikimedia Commons
[click to view]

Affected villages in the subproject 1 of the AIRBM Affected villages in the subproject 1 of the AIRBM. / Source: AIRBM
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorLaura Villadiego, Carro de Combate, [email protected]
Last update25/06/2018