YANGON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Myanmar has lost 40 days from its annual monsoon in the past 35 years, leading to severe shortages of water both for consumption and agriculture – but the government has yet to formulate a policy on how to tackle climate change, activists charged Monday.

“We are down from 145 rainy days to 105 days a year. That decrease in rainy days and rainfall has huge implications for the agricultural sector, which involves 70 percent of people this country,” Myint Zaw, an award-winning environmental activist, said on the opening day of an international media conference organised by the Hawaii-based East West Center.

Both the media and policy makers have paid little attention to the larger context of climate change in the changing water and weather situation in Myanmar, he added. That is despite the huge implications for Myanmar’s democratic transition and sustainable development, particularly as climate impacts often disproportionately affect the rural poor.

Read more: Water shortages growing in Myanmar - activist


YANGON, Jan 11 2014 (IPS) - As Myanmar nurses a fragile democracy after long years of military rule, a new danger has reared its head. Climate change, say experts, has the potential to spur migration and exacerbate conflict in the country.

NGOs point out that more than five years after Cyclone Nargis killed 146,000 people and severely affected 2.4 million, inhabitants of the Ayeyarwady Delta are yet to find their feet.

Read more: Natural Disasters Add to Myanmar’s Troubles


For decades, one of Southeast Asia's largest countries has also been its most mysterious. Now, emerging from years of political and economic isolation, its shift towards democracy means that Myanmar is opening up to the rest of the world. Myanmar forms part of the Indo-Burma biodiversity hotspot, and some of the largest tracts of intact habitat in the hotspot can be found here. With changes afoot, conservationists are looking to Myanmar as the best hope for protecting biodiversity in the region.

Read more: Myanmar faces new conservation challenges as it opens up to the world


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