Myanmar is blessed with diverse ecosystems, rich biodiversity and bountiful natural resources. The health of these ecosystems is essential for the country's development and the people's wellbeing, given that all economic and social sectors depend on its natural capital. Yet many of our country's natural resources and environmental assets are under pressure due to a number of different causes. Deforestation, mangrove loss, illegal wildlife trade, unregulated mineral extraction and environmental quality deterioration are just some of the ongoing threats to Myanmar's natural capital. Without sound environmental governance, rapid economic development could further exacerbate these existing environmental problems. As a result of the opening of the country's economy, increasing foreign and domestic investment is contributing to an intensification of industrial activity and rapid urban expansion. This brings additional environmental challenges such as air and water pollution, land contamination and hazardous waste. Furthermore, Myanmar is one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change. Widespread natural disasters caused by extreme weather events and predicted future dramatic climate change are major challenges for the country's economic and social development.
The Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar has responded to these challenges by adopting this new National Environmental Policy with the aim of mainstreaming environmental considerations into economic and social development. The Policy will provide long-term guidance for government organizations, civil society, the private sector and development partners on the achievement of environmental protection and sustainable development objectives in Myanmar. Along with this Policy, the Government emphasises the importance of placing environmental considerations at the centre of efforts to promote economic and social development, reduce poverty, mitigate and adapt to climate change, and minimize natural disaster risks.