Peace and Security in Myanmar: Study on Corporate Security Responsibility and the Yadana Pipeline

Nina Leth Friis

Student thesis: Master thesis


Myanmar is currently emerging from decades of military dictatorship. Though the transformation is still in its infancy, the new quasi-civilian government has embarked on an impressive reform agenda to transform the country into a democratic nation with a market driven economy. This has resulted in an easing of US and EU sanctions, leaving western businesses impatient to tap into the opportunities this new emerging market has to offer. However, the country still suffers from the legacies of being brutally oppressed by the military rule that has left the country in an extremely poor state, with severe weak governance structures and on-going violent intra-state conflicts. Given Myanmar’s rich endowment in natural resources, there is a high risk that the country will remain entrapped in its ‘resource curse’ unless proper actions are undertaken. The literature on the role of business in conflict zones has primarily focused on corporations’ contributing role in causing and/or prolonging conflicts. However, this also presents a selection bias that doesn’t fully explain the possible positive role that corporations can have in conflict zones (Wolf 2007). Moreover, the literature on the political aspect of CSR tends to focus on corporate governance contributions in ‘low politic’ issues, while the issue of corporate contributions to peace and security still remains rather undiscovered (Deitelhoff & Wolf 2010). In response, the Corporate Security Responsibility (CSecR) research agenda recently developed, but needs further empirical investigation and testing of variables. The objective of this study is thus to provide a constructive addition to this literature, by investigating how corporations can positively contribute to peace and security as a public good in Myanmar. This will be achieved through an empirical analysis of Total E&P Myanmar and Unocal/Chevron’s engagement in the Yadana pipeline project, which will hopefully contribute to a ‘closing of the gap’ in the existing literature that has left the potential contribution of business to peace largely ‘untapped’ (Wenger & Möckli 2003; Deitelhoff & Wolf 2010).

EducationsMSc in International Business and Politics, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2015
Number of pages97