A Chance for Green Growth in Myanmar

Photo: Alliance/ Arco Imagesgmbh
Photo: Alliance / Arco Imagesgmbh

When it comes to the environment, Myanmar has the opportunity to learn from others’ mistakes, environmental experts said during the last week of November at the Green Growth and Green Economic Forum in Nay Pyi Taw and Yangon.

“Myanmar has the chance to do things differently,” said the World Wildlife Fund’s Greater Mekong representative Stuart Chapman. “The government is thinking of different ways towards green growth.” Dismissing rapid development as “a short-term game”, Mr Chapman said, “Green growth means being careful about … minimising impact on natural capital. The more conservative approach, being careful about building infrastructure, gives longterm opportunities and benefits.”

He said climate change, which is already affecting Southeast Asia, is another factor that could affect natural capital.

“Parts of Southeast Asia will get hotter and wetter. It will be more subject to large-scale climatic variation. The approach to energy, security and food security will be hugely different,” he said.

Daw Lat Lat Aye, UNDP team leader for disaster risk reduction and the environment, said achieving sustainable development depended on the balance between economic, environmental and social systems. The impact of Cyclone Nargis, which left a swathe of death and destruction in 2008, was exacerbated by the loss of natural forest cover and coastal vegetation due to the conversion of the land for paddy cultivation and the over-exploitation of fisheries, she said. more…