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Myanmar working to preserve eco-system in coastal areas, improve water management

Published on 8 October 2017 Myanmar

YANGON -- As part of its environment protection efforts, Myanmar, a signatory of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, is taking measures targeting the conservation of the eco-system in coastal areas and striving to improve water resources management in the country.

Myanmar's coastal areas of Tanintharyi, Ayeyawaddy and Rakhine are abundant with coral reefs, mangroves, sea grass beds, mud flats, estuaries and sand dunes, playing an important role in environmental diversity and the sectors of agriculture, forestry, fishing and tourism.

However, part of the mangroves are being damaged by locals, who clear the areas for prawn breeding, fishing, mining, waste disposal and oil spilling, while the rainforests in Tanintharyi are also found to be damaged.

There are over 500,000 hectares of mangroves across the country in Myanmar, but the number is declining as many of the plants were cut down to be used as firewood, or to give way to fish farms.

To curb the degradation of the eco-system, forest reserves are being established in coastal areas of the southeast Asian country.

As part of its efforts in protecting local people living near the coastal areas from natural disaster, Myanmar is implementing a mangrove conservation project in Rakhine state's Sittway and Kyaukpyu, and Tanintharyi region's Myeik with the cooperation of local non-governmental organizations.

The Central Committee for Management of Natural Resources in Coastal Areas emphasized the need for cooperation among international bodies to save the delicate eco-system.

Meanwhile, the country is taking measures to improve management of water resources to prevent flooding and water scarcity.

The National Water Resources Committee stressed the need to take urgent steps to address problems facing the water sector, with priorities given to conservation of Inle Lake in Shan state and watershed areas of dams.

It also called for fighting pollution of the Ayeyawaddy River that flows through the country from north to south.

Myanmar is currently drawing a work plan to improve infrastructure and capacity related to water management as part of efforts to get financial assistance under the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation program.

The country is set to host the third Asia-Pacific Water Forum in Nay Pyi Taw in December to seek ways of better management of water resources.

The event will provide opportunities for the country to learn from international specialists about all-round management of water resources, response to natural disaster, new techniques and ideas on water resources management and achieving water sufficiency.

Moreover, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) is providing new farming techniques for Myanmar as part of a project to address climate change risk on water resources and food security in the dry zone.

The new techniques include crop spacing method, drought resistant crop selection, water conservation and environmentally sensitive livestock husbandry practices.

The project targets 250,000 people living in Shwebo and Monywa in northwestern Sagaing region, Myingyan and Nyaung Oo in northern Mandalay region and Chauk in central Magway region.

The four-year project worth 7.9 million U.S. dollars is the first of its kind in Myanmar to receive funding from the Adaptation Fund.

The project, being implemented by the UNDP in partnership with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation, began in 2015 and is set to complete in 2019. 

Source: Xinhua.Net | 8 October 2017