SEA Of The Hydropower Sector In Myanmar Resources

SEA – Final Report For Stakeholder Review

The SEA Final Report recommends a balance between hydropower development and natural resource protection in each major river basin in Myanmar, contributing to the healthy functioning of these rivers for the next century and beyond. It also recommends implementing basin zoning to improve project siting; improving sustainable hydropower project design; improving environmental and social impact assessment and management planning; and obtaining essential baseline data required for hydropower and basin planning.

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1. Sub-Basin Evaluation

An evaluation of baseline environmental and social conditions in Myanmar's eight basins including the Ayeyarwady, Thanlwin, Mekong, Myit Mo Hka and Bago, Sittaung, Bilin, Tanintharyi, and Rakhine was undertaken to provide an overview of natural and social resources potentially affected by medium and large scale hydropower development. The country-wide evaluation provides information on features that enable whole-of-basin hydropower planning and GIS layers that provide an overview of basin conditions.

2. Stakeholder Engagement Plan

A stakeholder engagement plan was conducted at the start of the SEA to outline consultation and communication activities; identify key stakeholder groups; and identify resources needed and length of time to achieve effective participation in each stage of the process. Stakeholder engagement was delivered through consultation events including regional engagements, workshops and meetings with government and civil society groups, and expert and advisory group committees. A map illustrating SEA stakeholder engagements is available here.

3. Regional River Basin Consultations

Regional river basin consultations engaged and kept stakeholders informed of the SEA process. This summary report presents the results of participatory stakeholder mapping and analysis at the river basin level; and key environmental and social issues and opportunities identified by stakeholders. Participants were encouraged to discuss values and uses of the river, and development issues facing the basin or region.

4. Baseline Assessments

Divided into 8 chapters, SEA Baseline Assessments provided the foundation for the SEA Final Report:

5. Hydropower Database 

6. Stakeholder Feedback: (1) SEA Baseline Report Comment Matrix & (2) SEA Final Report Comment Matrix

1 June 18 - Led by Myanmar's Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation (MONREC) and the Ministry of Electricity and Energy (MOEE) with support from IFC and the Australian government, the Strategic Environmental Assessment of Myanmar's hydropower sector will provide, once completed, an informed hydropower pathway for each major basin that takes a balanced approach, aiming to replace piecemeal project-by-project planning.

Drawing on stakeholder views, advice and recommendations the SEA provides a deeper understanding of the importance of Myanmar's values and reliance on riverine resources.

For the Ayeyarwady, the recommendations for hydropower development are a practical, sustainable vision for the sectors contribution to energy supply, key features: 

(1) potential to increase large hydro capacity from 2,100MW (existing) to 3,895MW, primarily through consolidating cascades around existing projects. 

(2) a free-flowing Ayeyarwady mainstem from Myitsone to the sea

(3) free-flowing rivers in 5 high risk sub-basins 

(4) preservation of 7 intact rivers with unregulated connection to the sea 

(5) no direct or indirect impacts on 5 Protected Areas and 7 KBAs in the basin.

These recommendations allow hydropower to play a strategic role in Myanmar's urgent electrification agenda but avoid the mistakes and issues that the Mekong has experienced through its unplanned proliferation of damaging hydro over the past 20yrs.

Credit to Tarek Ketelsen 

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