Toily Kurbanov: Address at Second Consultation Workshop on National Environmental Policy, Nay Pyi Taw

Dec 18, 2015

-    Your Excellencies U Aye Myint Maung and Dr. Daw Thet Thet Zin, Deputy Union Ministers for  Environmental Conservation and  Forestry,
-    Senior officials from government ministries,
-    Representatives from development partners, UN agencies, and NGOs,
-    Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen:

Mingalarbar, and a very good morning!
It is a great honour for me to be here with you today on this important event:  Consultation Workshop on “National Environmental Policy”. UNDP is very pleased to have this opportunity to provide our support to the Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry in developing the National Environmental Policy, and facilitate the consultation process, as we see the importance of this policy, in particular in this important moment of Myanmar in accelerating its human development and economic growth.

Ladies and gentlemen,
On 25 September 2015, the Republic of the Union of Myanmar joined 192 other nations at the United Nations, New York in adopting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). All seventeen SDGs adopted are predicated on the recognition that economic, social and environmental goals are inextricably linked.

Myanmar also joined 195 nations at the Conference of the Parties Twenty-first session under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) from 30 to 12 December 2015 to reach agreement to hold the increase in the global average temperature to below 2 ˚C above pre-industrial levels by reducing its Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions.

All of these commitments highlight that Myanmar, along with the international communities, has a strong desire to ensure the sustainable development considering economic, social and environmental aspects.  The road to sustainable development is now the challenge in Myanmar as it is in other countries.  

Excellency deputy union minister just mentioned the shift in Myanmar’s economy from the agriculture-based economy towards industrialized economy with the great integration with global markets. This has prompted an increase of investments in extractive industries and in the energy sector as well.

Myanmar has accelerated the economic growth and investment along with the key additional challenges as well.

Overall the impact has been positive on global employment, but we all know the urbanization that has followed the industrialization. The lack of proper urban infrastructure, unsustainable land use practices, over exploitation of natural resources which are associated with development projects have resulted in some of the deficiencies in urban services, degradation of environment, loss of biodiversity, deterioration of rich ecosystem services and on the global scale, increase in frequencies of nature disasters. We experienced widespread floods and landslides in Myanmar just a few months ago. These all make the integration of environmental perspectives in all important sectors.

Ladies and gentlemen,
Development cannot come at the expense of future generations. We would like to take this opportunities to commend the Government of Myanmar particularly Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry for your commitment to sustainable development.
In Myanmar there are many environmentally important activities which fall under the responsibility of other Ministries, not just the Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry. Therefore the national approach requires all development approach. We had experience in other countries where weak coordination and cooperation across the government ministries left alone the private sector and civil society had a negative impact on integrating environment and social aspects into the development projects.

Therefore, the strong inter-sectoral communication, collaboration and cooperation are required to ensure equal dimension on economic development, social inclusion and environmental protection for sustainable development in Myanmar.

In this context, the sustainability of natural resources and environmental conservation and management are important considerations for the overall national planning – the planning of the national development categories for decades ahead. We recommend the Government of Myanmar with this holistic approach that has a huge decisions – taking for examples, the Framework for Economic and Social Reforms and National Comprehensive Development Plan also underline this approach of sustainable development that integrate environment in economic and social aspects in implementation of the development programmes in all sectors of Myanmar’s economy.

We very much welcome and appreciate the Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry’s determination to update the National Environment Policy (1994) to adapt the changes in the Myanmar environment, social and economic sectors, which have been rapidly developing in the last two decades.

We understand that the ultimate goal of this NEP is Sustainable development, and the overall objective of this policy is to enable the integration of social, economic and environmental issues for sustainable development. Therefore, we look forward the Environment Policy is fulfilling its large role as the overarching framework which will influence the development policies and strategies in other sectors.

We would like to acknowledge the importance of all stakeholders; this is not just the government responsibilities but everybody’s responsibilities and we welcome the consultation process. Everybody has to contribute to the development of policy - INGOs, NGOs, CSOs and private sector - so that we all feel that we have benefitted and shared the same responsibilities contributing to the development of National Environmental Policy.

Today, we all are here to discuss and provide our feedbacks on draft National Environmental Policy and make individual commitments and contributions to develop the policy that ensure environmental conservation is mainstreamed into all the sectors and followed by effective collaboration and cooperation among all the government ministries, private sector, civil societies, and development partners.

We do hope that the policy will signal the overall direction for the strategy and for action on the ground to make sure that sustainable development. Myanmar remains on the track of sustainable development in the decades ahead.

In the conclusion, ladies and gentleman, thank you very much for your attention and we very much look forward to the discussions and we wish everyone fruitful and successful workshop today.

Thank you very much! Kyae Zu Tin Bar Tae.


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