23rd November 2020 - Source: Myanmar Times

The new Shan State government and local organizations will cooperate closely to protect and conserve Inle Lake, one of the most famous destinations in the country.

U Myat Min Soe, an Inle conservation activist, said there are already efforts on both sides to find ways of cooperating to conserve the lake from overdevelopment.

The lake is the second largest freshwater lake in Myanmar located in Nyaungshwe township in Shan. It is about 880 metres above sea level and an estimated surface area of 116 square kilometres. Its clear and slightly alkaline water is home to a diverse fauna and many species found nowhere else in the world, including 17 species of fish that can be found only in the lake.

"There are programs where local organizations and government will cooperate for Inle Lake conservation after the election," U Myat Min Soe said. "The Forest Department has 10-year conservation and protection plan. The agency is preparing to invite civil organizations to join in the conservation efforts. There will be a meeting in December."

The Inle Lake Watershed Project Management Committee with 14 members from the Forest Department and the Shan State authorities was established on November 5 to intensify cooperation among government agencies.

"Every Government has protected Inle Lake and so does the international non-government organizations," U Myat Min Soe said. "We need to change the approach for Inle Lake conservation. People come and conserve the area then left after a certain period of time."

We need locals who will live here forever for Inle Lake conservation," he added. "The Inle Lake Conservation Law has been enacted over one year ago. But Inle Lake Administration Team hasn't been established yet. There are many missed opportunities like we can't clear the hyacinths. Organizations must be established but we couldn't do it. We had to use both time and financial resources for the law," he said.

At present there are over 40 organisations working for Inle Lake conservation.

The United Nations Development Programme and the government of Norway are among those who are supporting efforts to conserve Myanmar's most scenic late.

Aside from overdevelopment, the rapid increase in population in the communities surrounding the lake, as well as the effects of climate change, are degrading the environment of Inle Lake. - Translated