Opening Remark at the Consultation Workshop on the National Environmental Policy, Taunggyi City, Shan State

Dec 2, 2016

Myanmar has long been recognised for its rich natural capital, which provides critical benefits to its people. From the dominant agricultural sector to livelihoods dependent on natural resources, much of Myanmar’s society and economy requires clean, healthy and functioning ecosystems. Yet many of the country’s natural resources and environmental assets are under pressure from a number of different causes. There are existing problems that could be further exacerbated by rapid, unmanaged economic development.  At the same time, Myanmar is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change, with widespread natural disasters caused by extreme weather events already occurring and future dramatic climate change predicted.

We all realize the pressure that the rapid transformation of Myanmar is putting on the natural resources and environment, and the need to wisely utilize the rich resources of Myanmar. The Government of Myanmar has done much to promote sustainable development over the last several years in active cooperation with international communities. Many of the national plans and strategies and policies aim at achieving this. Realizing the need to better manage the environmental and social risks of economic development activities, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation is developing the National Environmental Policy which will serve as a guiding policy framework to incorporate environmental conservation in relevant sectors.

UNDP has been closely working with the Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry to improve environmental governance in Myanmar. UNDP as a partner has been supporting its technical assistance to the Ministry while the Finland Government has given its financial contribution to this policy development process.

The purpose of this National Environmental Policy is to provide long-term guidance for government, civil society, the private sector and development partners in Myanmar on environment and sustainable development objectives in Myanmar. The Policy will guide detailed strategic frameworks and action plans for the environment sector, including green economic development, climate change and waste management strategies, as well as provide guidance for the mainstreaming of environmental considerations into all other plans and policies developed in Myanmar.

This Policy document reaffirms and builds on the 1994 National Environmental Policy, the environmental responsibilities in the 2008 Constitution of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, and the obligations contained in the 2012 Environmental Conservation Law. The Policy recognizes Myanmar’s commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and integrates these goals into the nation’s environmental policy objectives.

The national Environmental Policy would reflect the country’s highest aspiration. It would include the shared objectives and statements and would be reached by consensus of all relevant sectors. We acknowledge the importance of all stakeholders; government agencies, INGOs, NGOs, CSOs and private sector to participate in the National Environmental policy development process. The consultation process at the national and regional level is also aimed to provide the platform to encourage the dialogue among the stakeholders. We understand that it is promoting the mutual understanding among the stakeholders and their environmental awareness through the exchange of views and experiences related to environmental conservation. Throughout this consultation process, UNDP makes its effort to encourage the participation of local CSOs, NGOs and women networks.

Today, it is a great opportunity to have may representatives from State Government, relevant department, private sectors, International and local Non-Government Organizations and CSOs and I really appreciate for your participation in this consultation workshop and for your open and honest discussion that would be invaluable inputs in finalizing the National Environmental Policy.

I would like to wish you a very successful workshop and fruitful discussions!

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