Myanmar Learns about Reducing Deforestation from BrazilJul 24, 2017
A delegation from Myanmar visited Brazil earlier this month to learn about how the country reduced deforestation in the Amazon, the largest contiguous tropical forest area in the world. While Brazil is still the country with the highest deforestation rate in the world, it has also been successful in reducing the annual rate of forest loss in the Amazon from between 0.9 - 2.2 million ha in the 1990s and early 2000s to between 0.5 - 1 million ha annually after 2008.
In Myanmar about 43 percent of the country’s total land area is covered by forests, and it has the third highest deforestation rate in the world, according to the Forest Resource Assessment, 2015.
The study visit was part of a process to develop a national programme of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) strategy for Myanmar. The REDD+ national programme, which is being supported by a UN programme (involving 3 UN agencies - UNDP, FAO and UN Environment) aims to prepare Myanmar to mitigate climate change through avoiding deforestation and forest degradation. The programme will enhance the capacities of Government departments, communities, and other actors to conserve forests and manage them in a sustainable manner and develop technical, and governance systems to support this.
H.E U Ohn Winn, Union Minister for Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation (MONREC), who led the delegation said, “Since REDD+ is linked across many sectors, we gained a lot of experiences beyond REDD+ processes from many discussions with relevant entities during this trip. For example, we learnt how the agriculture sector in Brazil boosted productivity while also helping reduce the deforestation rate, and how the private sector could help farmers to adapt to climate change related issues.”
Brazil is an interesting country example of how concerted actions, among different actors, with support from high level political authorities, can change the trends in deforestation. Actions developed from 2004 onwards and especially after 2009 when Brazil made a public commitment to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), are based on decades long ground work in institutional building and capacity development. When forests are cut down or degraded, carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, is emitted to the atmosphere and traps solar radiation. This raises temperatures on the earth and leads to climate change.
The nine-day visit in early July focused specifically on how public and private institutions in Brazil have worked together at different bureaucratic levels and across sectors to ultimately achieve their objective of reducing deforestation. During the visit the delegation met with officials from various ministries (Foreign Affairs, Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply), the National Confederation of Agriculture and Livestock, the Brazilian Development Bank, the Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA), the Secretary of the Environment of the State of Para and City of Belem, and the Regional Centre of the Amazon (CAR) of the National Institute for Space Research (INPE).
The delegation included senior officials from MONREC, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of National Planning and Finance, the State Counselor’s Office, and the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation.
The visit was supported by UNDP Myanmar, UNDP Brazil, the Brazilian Agency of International Cooperation (ABC), and funded through the UN-REDD National Programme, Myanmar.