Myanmar issues climate change policies as World Bank sounds environment alarm
19 June 19 - Source: National Multimedia - IN RESPONSE to emerging environmental issues caused by heavy reliance on natural resources, Myanmar has come up with new policies on national environment and climate change as well as a master plan, Kyaw Zaw, deputy permanent secretary at the natural and environmental conservation ministry, said.
The official told The Nation on Tuesday that Myanmar's efforts in conserving the environment will become more effective once the new policies and guidelines are in place.
"In the past, some of our operations were not as effective as expected because we lacked concrete policy framework and rules," he said. "Our president recently announced the national
Kyaw Zaw said the policies would be implemented through short- and long-term development plans. Also, he said,
President Win Myint announced the launch of the policies on June 5, World Environment Day. He said the aim was to ensure a clean environment with healthy, functioning ecosystems as well as a carbon-resilient, low-carbon society. He also urged investment in renewable energy.
Kyaw Zaw, meanwhile, stressed
"Whenever a development project is implemented, there can be adverse impacts – both socially and physically. As a regulator, we are trying to
On Monday, the environment ministry held talks with World Bank Myanmar to foster cooperation in conservation work. The discussion focused on investment issues, development and capacity building works in
On Tuesday, the World Bank released the Myanmar Country Environmental Analysis, which said the country's ecosystems are under tremendous pressure. The report draws on a comprehensive analysis of Myanmar's environment and natural resource challenges and also identifies strategic recommendations to address causes behind the degradation as well as to promote environmental management, investment
"Serious environmental issues are emerging, underlying the importance of transparent and robust environmental impact assessment system. Air quality is getting increasingly compromised, and urban waste brings new and increasing environmental health issues. Rapid growth in Myanmar generates additional pressures linked to solid waste generation," the report says.
Yet, the international community is confident that Myanmar will overcome these challenges.
Dechen Tsering, UNEP director for Asia-Pacific, said these new policies have equipped Myanmar to pursue sustainable development and
Bijay Karmacharya, country
"With the climate change policy, strategy and master plans in place, it is now time for implementation," he said.
Last week, some corporates in Myanmar also pledged to support the government's new policies by launching initiatives on World Environment Day. Among them is an initiative by Coca-Cola Foundation and Bringing Markets that will work closely with more than 100 businesses in the recycling value chain to connect them to growth opportunities and build their capacity. The initiative will
"By partnering with those directly involved in the recycling value chain, we will be able to provide insights and training that create lasting change throughout the entire value chain, from consumers to recycling processors," said Karen Hsu, Building Markets' country director for Myanmar.
Last week, a European Union delegation in Myanmar launched a public exhibition to raise awareness of the sources of air pollution and steps that can be taken to address them. According to the World Health Organisation, approximately 7 million people worldwide die prematurely from air pollution each year, with 4 million deaths occurring in Asia-Pacific. In Myanmar, air pollution causes some 22,000 deaths annually.
The World Environment Index ranked Myanmar among the 15 most-polluted countries in the world, with air pollution peaking every year from January to April. Nearly 80
This contributes significantly to indoor air pollution and affects the health of women and children. Meanwhile, toxic fumes from large-scale farming and burning of waste in rural landfills are the biggest causes of outdoor air pollution nationwide.
EU Ambassador Kristian Schmidt said Myanmar could beat air pollution by coming together as a community.
"We all breathe the same air. If it is polluted, we are all exposed to numerous health risks. The good news is that air pollution is preventable," he said.
"It starts with awareness; with having clean air laws and standards; with the adoption of green technologies; and more importantly, with the contribution of each and every individual towards an air pollution-free world."