08 December 2020 - Source: Myanmar Times

Four project zones have been categorised in the Inle Lake to streamline efforts to ensure the environmental sustainability and the development of the local economy of the communities surrounding the lake.

Zone 1 includes Nyaungshwe township, Zone 2 includes Kalaw, Pinlaung and Hpekon townships, Zone 3 includes Ywarngan, Pindaya and Yatsauk townships, and Zone 4 includes Taunggyi, Hopone and Hsihseng townships.

"The plans were revealed at the online meeting held after an announcement of forming the committee to oversee the Inle Lake watershed area conservation project issued by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation at the end of November," said U Myat Min Soe, a representative of the civil society organization. "We know that it is a 30-year project."

The plans will include establishing a sustainable watershed ecosystem, planting of trees, protecting and conserving the water and soil, conducting education more, protecting and conversing birds and animals, as well as doing research.

Currently, according to the Inle Lake Conservation Law, Inle Lake Watersheds Conservation Supervisory Committee administered by the Union and Inle Lake Administrative Committee is overseen by Shan State government will be formed.

"The Inle Lake Watersheds Conservation Supervisory Committee and the Inle Lake Administrative Committee are different. The latter one seems to be closer to the ground level," said U Myat Min Soe.

"The government has planned to invite five civil organisation representatives to attend the discussions in drafting Rules on Inle Lake Protection Law. But it was cancelled in last minute. This is the second time and we raised the objection to it," he added.

Inle Lake was designated as a wildlife sanctuary on January 30, 1985, ASEAN Heritage Park on December 18, 2003, Biosphere Reserve under UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere programme on June 9, 2015, Ramsar Protected Area on August 10, 2018, and flyway network site in Myanmar of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership on February 2, 2020.

At present, there are about 40 local and foreign organisations working to preserve and protect the lake ecosystem, including the United Nations Development Programme and the Norway government.

From overdevelopment, the rapid increase of the population in communities around the lake, as well as the effects of climate change, is degrading the lake. - Translated