Greater state-regional effort against climate change urged

Photo People wade along a flooded street in Mawlamyine township in Mon State in June. Photo - Khan Ti

​22 Oct 18 - Myanmar Times - While Myanmar has drafted policies and initiated projects to address climate change, more needs to be done at the state and regional level, said U Than Aye, retired deputy director general of the Department of Environmental Conservation.

Projects have been drawn up with the aim of reducing carbon emissions and making Myanmar better able to withstand the effects of climate change while still developing the country.

The Myanmar Climate Change Alliance (MCCA) was launched in June 2013 with funds from the European Union and technical support from the UN. Also, the 2030 Strategy, which contains policies to deal with climate change, has been drafted, said U Than Aye.

"All this is at the national level, so we will work at the regional and state level with local people to mitigate the environmental damage from climate change," he said.

Myanmar has signed the 1992 World Climate Change Convention, 1997 Kyoto Protocol, 2013 Doha Protocol and 2015 Paris Agreement to combat climate change.

U Than Aye said that, as a member country, Myanmar is firmly committed to combating climate change.

Workshops have been held in Yangon, Ayeyarwady, and Mandalay regions by Department of Environmental Conservation and MCCA officials to share knowledge about the country's strategy.

The workshop in Mandalay on Friday was attended by officials from Magwe, Sagaing, Chin, Kachin, Kayah, and Shan states and regions, said U Than Aye.

"The strategy was drawn up after talks with regional organisations and residents and with the approval of the President's Office. For regional and state officials, we are trying to clarify projects and educate them about climate change reduction," he said.

Speaking at the opening of Friday's workshop, Mandalay Chief Minister U Zaw Myint Maung said: "To reduce threats to water resources and food security, the government has been carrying out a five-year project in Mandalay, Sagaing and Magwe since 2015 with aid from the United Nations Development Programme."

"Soil and water conservation work, and distribution of weather-resistant crops, breeding systems and information about climate change are being carried out in 280 villages throughout Shwebo, Monywa, Myingyan, Nyaung-U and Chauk townships," he said.

"In Mandalay, I worry about Singu and Yamethin because these areas are frequently flooded and bridges are destroyed after heavy rain. The region is also prone to earthquakes. So plans to address climate change are a must in these places," he said.

"Myanmar's climate change policy prioritises agriculture and livestock, aquaculture, transportation, energy, public health, and urban development. There are short-term and long-term projects in each area," said MCCA Senior Officer Shashank Mishra.

"As the country's population increases, natural resources are used very quickly, resulting in disrupted ecosystems, less biodiversity, forest depletion and less water. As the number of factories increases, climate change is hastened by water, land and air pollution. This must be addressed," U Than Aye said.

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