Coastal areas need balance between development and conservation

Photo Vice President U Myint Swe addresses the 4th meeting of the national-level Central Committee for the Administration and Management of Natural Resources in coastal area. Photo: MNA

​17 May 18 - Vice President U Myint Swe has called for negotiation and cooperation between development and conservation groups when infrastructure is built in coastal areas and in other parts of the country.

He made the remark in his address at the fourth meeting of the national level Central Committee for the Administration and Management of Natural Resources in coastal areas held at the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday. "When we build infrastructures for sustainable development in coastal areas, we should go through 'negotiation'", said Vice President U Myint Swe.

He also called for carrying out Environmental Impact Assessments on the country's coastal areas, which stretch up to 2,832 kilometers, abounding with important natural ecosystems in the environs of the Indian Ocean, and to draw up plans based on the findings of the assessment. The development work being carried out in coastal areas should be in conformity with the rules drawn for conservation of the coastal areas, he added.

Local authorities and local people in the coastal areas are urged to cooperate with each other in carrying out environmental conservation to prevent damage to the ecosystems, which include mangrove forests, coral reefs and marine grasses. The central committee was formed on 30 November 2016, with 19 members.

It made 23 resolutions related with conservation of coastal areas in its previous three meetings. Out of the 23 resolutions, eight have been implemented.
The country's mangrove resources are declining because of the proliferation of fish farms and because the mangrove trees are being used as firewood, according to environmentalists.

There are over 500,000 hectares of mangroves along the coast of Myanmar. According to the 2014 census, half of the population of Myanmar are living in coastal areas and depend on the coastal ecosystems which serve them in many ways through marine products and environmental services, said the Vice President.

"The lack of systematic management of coastal ecosystems can lead to deterioration of the ecosystem due to extra extraction of the natural resources and it would result in decreasing marine products and environmental services," said U Myint Swe.

The meeting was also attended by Union Ministers U Ohn Win, U Aung Thu, Joint Secretary-2 of the committee Director-General of the Fisheries Department U Khin Maung Maw, chief ministers of regions and states connected with coastal areas and other officials.

They discussed measures being taken for conservation of coastal areas, research, illegal fishing and conservation of mangrove forests in coastal areas.

​Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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