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Logging Moratorium as a Catalyst for Review & Reform

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As Myanmar continues its transition to democratic rule, a focus on the forest sector is necessary. In order to reduce conflict, attract needed investment, and improve the management of valuable natural resources the government must address weak governance and overlapping claims in the sector, including the improper allocation of licenses/concessions. Recognizing these needs, the Government of Myanmar has recently announced logging moratoria in different regions of the country. However, unless the moratoria are tied to implementing needed reforms, the government risks simply ‘hitting the pause button’ until time runs out, after which ‘business as usual’ will continue, albeit with different elite players in charge. This briefing argues that the moratoria provide an important opportunity to review the sector in order to clarify claims and to identify the reforms necessary for the good governance of the forest sector. Further, if done well, this process can have wider impacts by demonstrating a new approach to resource management and building legitimacy of the new government.