Dawn Del Rio: Remarks at the Validation Workshop on the Strategic Framework for the National Environmental Policy

May 19, 2017

Your Excellency U Ohn Winn, the Union Minister for Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation

Permanent Secretaries,

Director Generals,

Members of Parliament,

The representatives from National Environmental Conservation and Climate Change Central Committee,

Officials from different government departments,

Representatives from UN agencies, international and local NGOs, Civil Society Organizations,

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

A very good morning to you all.

First, I would like to congratulate the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation in its capacity for taking lead in developing the National Environment Policy Strategy Framework.  UNDP is very proud to be part of this collaboration, along with the Government of Finland and the government and non-government agencies who are here today.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has been assisting countries in building their capacity in the integration of environmental concerns into planning and strategic development and at the same time promoting sustainable development and improving livelihoods.

Over the last 5 years UNDP has been supporting Myanmar with biodiversity conservation and natural resource management and, since 2015 in the formulation of a national environmental policy that ensures that environmental concerns are taken into consideration in the socio- economic development, poverty reduction as well as in the mitigation and adaptation to climate change and disaster risk reduction.

Excellency, Ladies and gentlemen,

The fact that the Government of Myanmar has adopted a national economic policy which includes environment conservation as one of its underlying objectives, demonstrates the commitment of this country towards sustainable development and to the conservation of its abundant environmental resources. The national economic policy will be supplemented by the national environmental policy.

Natural resource conservation and the participatory planning of its equitable distribution can contribute towards democratic citizenship. The highly participatory consultation process of the National Environmental Policy and Strategic Framework allowed to gather valuable inputs from the sub-national level and understand the concerns and issues at the sub-national level relating to Natural Resources Management, cultural heritage and ethnic communities’ rights which are some of the key areas in the peace talks. They are important to build a peaceful and democratic nation.

Excellency, Ladies and gentlemen,

The National Environmental Policy will be implemented through the Strategic Framework and its guidance will be relevant to the whole government system of Myanmar.

This Strategy will also have implications to the private sector in terms of compliance with regulations as well as in terms of incentives to adopt business practices that are sustainable.
There will be also opportunities for the civil society to became more involved in environmental management, advocacy monitoring and research and adopt sustainable consumption patterns in Myanmar.

The strategic framework provides the new portfolio of environment-related policies and strategy documents including Climate Change Policy, Strategy and Action Plan, Green Economy Policy Framework, Action Plan for Disaster Risk Reduction and National Waste Management Strategy and Action Plan which are designed to guide Myanmar’s sustainable development and future wellbeing.

The commitment towards the Sustainable Development Goals has been reflected in the National Environmental Policy and integrated in this Strategy. For example, contributing towards SDG Goal 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere. By integrating poverty reduction and environmental policy it will ensure that local communities will benefit from natural resources through sustainable income generating activities. Another example is SDG Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. Promoting a healthy and safe environment, without pollution and contamination, with clean air and potable water and soils that are healthy, and which contribute to people’s wellbeing, in particular children and senior citizens
The eleven key thematic areas identified under the strategic framework consultation process reflect the most significant challenges in Myanmar in terms of sustainable development and environment conservation.

Excellency, ladies and gentlemen,

Before I conclude, I would like to convey the appreciation from our key partner, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland, who unfortunately were unable to participate in today's workshop. The Government of Finland is very pleased for this fruitful cooperation between the Government of Myanmar, the Finnish Environment Institute and UNDP. The foundation for the framework being discussed today was laid through the Needs Assessment for Effective Implementation of the Environmental Conservation Law - which provided a roadmap and a joint agenda for the way forward.

Finland is impressed by how the process has moved forward and has been able to engage relevant stakeholders - by broadening the discussion way beyond the 'traditional' environmentalists and highlighting the fact that ensuring environmental sustainability is a responsibility of everyone. At the same time, we see the value of the process as such - the consistent efforts that have been made to improve consultation processes and mechanisms, aiming to ensure that all voices can be heard.

Globally, one of Finland's development policy goals is to support its partner countries to better manage their natural resources - promoting a whole-of-society approach, where all actors have a role to play and responsibilities to fulfil.

This policy covers three strategic principles: 1 - clean environment and healthy, functioning ecosystems; 2 – sustainable economic and social development and; 3 – mainstreaming environmental protection and management. We also look forward continued and closer collaboration with the Ministry and Finland for implementation of the National Environment Strategic Framework.

Excellency, Ladies and gentlemen,

This workshop provides a unique opportunity to gather useful inputs from the different stakeholders into the finalization of the Strategic Framework. I would like to thank you for your open and honest participation and contribution to this validation workshop.

I wish you a successful workshop and fruitful discussions.

Thank you.


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