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Siemenpuu engaged in the World-Ecology conversations on extractivisms and Myanmar

Siemenpuu engaged actively in the World-Ecology conversations in the 4th Annual WERN conference “Extractivisms, Social Movements and Ontological Formations” that was organised this year in Helsinki, 15.-17.8.2018. The conference came very close to Siemenpuu’s concerns as it discussed extractivism in its various forms, its political economy, political ecology, and how peasants, Indigenous Peoples, workers and other groups have confronted extractivist energy and agro-industrial projects.

Six conference panelists sitting in front of audience.

In an effort to connect World-Ecology discussions with experiences on movement building Siemenpuu co-organised a plenary panel “Moving beyond extractivisms: resistance, activism, and scholarly work”. The panel was devoted to a conversation between activist scholars who have worked closely with anti-extractivist movements. Speakers included Larry Lohmann (UK), Soumitra Ghosh (India), Uddhab Pyakurel (Nepal), Kyi Phyo (Myanmar), Khu Khu Ju (Myanmar) and Marko Ulvila (Finland). The panel started with a focus on Myanmar that is often called the Asia’s last frontier and where the intensive resource-making has ignited land conflicts and resistance. The discussion then moved on to reflections on the urgently important, yet hard work of political alliance building. The recorded live-stream can be watched here.

In addition Siemenpuu, together with the post-growth study group, organised a working group session with activists that try to build or support movements challenging extractivist fossil capitalism and aiming to make a post-extractivist futures possible. The session connected discussions and efforts striving for post-extractivism and post-consumerism. Outi Hakkarainen (Kepa) presented on post-extractivism in Nicaragua, Tuula Pulkki (WANA association) on extractivism in Nigeria, Uddhab Pyakurel (SADED-Nepal) on rising consumerism in Nepal and Marko Ulvila (Siemenpuu/Post-growth study group) on how to exit the plutocene.

Audience follows presentation in a modern meeting hall.
Public discussion “Conflicts and resource politics in Myanmar” at Think Corner in Helsinki (Photo: Timo Kuronen /Siemenpuu)

As one of the conference side events Siemenpuu co-organised a public discussion “Conflicts and resource politics in Myanmar” with Development Studies and Felm. The speakers (linked with their pdf presentations) of the event were Glenn Hunt (University of Bern, Land Core Group), Khu Khu Ju (Land in Our Hands, Transnational Institute), Carl Middleton (Chulalongkorn University), Kyi Phyo (Mekong Energy and Ecology Network), commented by Petri Wanner (Ministry for Foreign Affairs), David Korpela (Ministry for Foreign Affairs), Thuzar Thant (Euro-Burma Office) and Harn Yawnghwe (Euro-Burma Office). The recent opening of Myanmar for investments in extractive projects has complicated the already difficult peace process. The speakers highlighted how resource rights should be addressed as a part of conflict resolution towards sustainable peace in Myanmar.

The event also included a panel discussion on Finland’s role in Myanmar with Riikka Laatu (Finland’s Ambassador to Myanmar), Esko Korkiakoski (Geological Survey of Finland, GTK), Pasi Rajala (Finnfund), Kristiina Rintakoski (Felm), Juhani Klemetti (Siemenpuu Foundation). The whole event was live-streamed and can be watched here.

The seminar report (pdf) is available here. See also the facebook event page.

By Mira Käkönen and Marko Ulvila