Category Archives: Environment

Myanmar Decides to Import Timber to Save its Forests

wood

Myanmar has been a timber producing and exporting country for decades but now this nation has decided to start importing timber in order to protect its diminishing forests. Mr. Kyaw Aw, the Long a timber-producing and exporting country, Myanmar will start importing wood to protect its forests while allowing local timber companies to continue operating, the government has decided. U Kyaw Zaw, Director of the Office of the Minister for Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation has stated that a plan permitting the import of raw timber from other countries has been approved. Myanmar stopped exporting timber to other countries earlier in the financial year 2014-15 though logging operations within the country were continued.

For the current financial year, logging has been temporarily banned and domestic demand for timber will be met through existing teak and hardwood stocks. The local timber traders are in favor of importing logs as the existing stock is not going to be sufficient to meet their needs. Additionally, some of the timber bought from other countries is cheaper than the domestically produced logs. Myanmar Government has considered their demands and is willing to import timber from overseas. This ban on logging is only temporary though and is expected to resume in the 2017-18 financial year.

6.9 Magnitude Earthquake Rocks Myanmar

6.9 MAGNITUDE EARTHQUAKE ROCKS MYANMAR

An earthquake rocked Myanmar late at night on 12 April, 2016. It was a strong earthquake measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale but as it took place at an intermediate depth of around 140 km not much damage was done. The epicentre was in north-west Mandalay 396 km north of Naypyidaw. The tremors spread throughout the region and were felt as a far as eastern parts of Bangladesh and India. Prince William and his Wife Kate, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, are currently visiting Indian state of Assam. The tremors were felt at their place of stay in Kaziranga National Park as well but they are both safe and completely unharmed. Many people in eastern Indian states as a well as Bangladesh fled outside their homes fearing their safety and some were even injured as a result of the damage caused.  Some injuries and damage to property has been caused but no deaths have been reported so far.

Can You Tell Women When to Have Babies? Myanmar Says Yes

Myanmar's Rohingya Population Struggle On After Mass Exodus

If mother of two Sandar Myat Min chooses to have another child, Myanmar’s government could decide when she can become pregnant.

A law enacted last month by the quasi-civilian government allows officials in the Buddhist-majority nation to order women to wait three years between births. Rights groups say the changes, which are backed by ultra-nationalist Buddhist groups, target Muslim women.

“People have their rights regardless of their religion,” said 33-year-old Sandar Myat Min, a Muslim whose youngest daughter is four months old. “If the population were too high like China, I accept that we should control it. But here it’s not like that.”

The law is the first in a series of so-called race and religion protection bills that risk driving a bigger wedge between the faiths, threatening a repeat of sectarian attacks that have flared across Myanmar since the end of junta rule in 2011.

Coming ahead of November’s general election, the changes add to uncertainty for investors, from General Electric Co. to Coca-Cola Co., who are expected to bring $8 billion into the country this fiscal year, up from $1.4 billion when sanctions were eased in 2012.

“The optimism otherwise apparent in the last few years risks being displaced by a feeling that, deep down, not that much has changed in Myanmar,” said Sean Turnell, an associate professor of economics at Macquarie University in Sydney who has advised the U.S. Congress on the country. “These laws add to perceptions of political and social instability. Never good news for investors of course.”

MYANMAR SIGNS ENVIRONMENTAL PACT WITH SOUTH KOREA

The Government of South Korea and Myanmar’s Ministry of Environmental Conservation recently signed an environmental protection agreement in Yangon.With an exponential increase in pollution, deforestation and increasing resource extraction due to a phase of rapid economic development in Myanmar, the two sides signed the agreement to carry out environmental policies, prevent the degradation of bio-diversity and climate change and reduce the impact on the environment and local ecosystems. The agreement also helps share information on how to control and supervise air pollution, manage water quality control and underground water supplies and conduct environmental research.

BIODIVERSITY HOTSPOT: NEW FRAMEWORK FOR INDIA- MYANMAR-CHINA

Representatives from the governments of India, China and Myanmar, in collaboration with the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), met in Nay Pyi Taw, to develop a framework for regional cooperation for promoting conservation and sustainable development in the Brahmaputra-Salween Landscape (BSL).The landscape includes parts of Namdapha National Park and Tiger Reserve in India, parts of northern forest complex and six townships of Kachin state and Sagaing region in Myanmar, and Gaoligongshan region in Yunnan, China.

The landscape unit lies at the junction of three global biodiversity hotspots and is one of the areas with the richest biodiversity in the world, between two important river systems, the Brahmaputra and the Salween.

MYANMAR AND NORWAY TO COOPERATE ON ENVIRONMENT CONSERVATION

REPRESENTATIONAL IMAGE - MANGROVES IN MYANMAR
REPRESENTATIONAL IMAGE – MANGROVES IN MYANMAR

With Myanmar being faced with problems of mangrove forests disappearing at an alarming rate, the Government of Myanmar is in the process of cooperating with Norway to initiate a mangrove forest conservation plan.

Myanmar’s Minister of Environmental Conservation and Forestry U Win Tun and visiting head of Norwegian Parliament’s Standing Committee for Energy and the Environment Ola Elvestuen, recently had a meeting wherein the two sides discussed cooperation with international non- governmental organizations in rehabilitation programs, mangrove forest conservation activities between the Ministry and the Worldview International Foundation. A Memorandum of Understanding in this regard is expected to be signed.

In May this year, Myanmar and Norway sought cooperation in environmental conservation sector as part of their bilateral cooperation, initiating a letter of intent on the move in its latest development.

The Myanmar Government and Norway’s Ministry of Climate and Environment initiated a letter of intent on cooperation in undertakings also covering water resources preservation in Sittoung and Bago river basins, development of world-famous tourist site of Inlay Lake in Shan state and betterment of social economy of ethnic minorities residing around the lake. Besides these, implementation of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+), promoting cooperation with NGOs in environmental conservation tasks, development and poverty alleviation schemes were also covered by the two countries’ intention.

POWERING MYANMAR: FOREIGN INVESTMENT AND RISK PROFILE

YANGON SKYLINE PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT ECONOMY
YANGON SKYLINE PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT ECONOMY

While residents of Myanmar protest over electricity – sometimes on pricing, other times on access and most recently on environmental concerns and Chinese involvement – foreign investors are watching Myanmar’s opening economy with hungry eyes. It’s a country with a huge population, low electrification rates and a robustly growing GDP that desperately needs more reliable energy. Myanmar allows power producers to export the bulk of the power produced domestically to neighboring countries, despite its own unmet demand. But legal roadblocks, opaque regulatory structures, a highly subsidized electricity program and an angry populace only boost the risk profile for independent power producers (IPPs) and foreign investors.

With the loosening of sanctions, interested investors are arriving from outside Myanmar’s neighborhood. In April of last year, after opening its Asian operations, Florida-based APR Energy identified Myanmar as a key area for growth. This is the first American power company to enter since the sanctions were eased APR Energy is building a 100MW gas-fired power plant about 50 kilometers (31 miles) outside of Mandalay making it one of the largest thermal power plants in the country.

While investments from China, Thailand, Japan and South Korea remain strong – and analysts say interest is as much about a geopolitical play for dominance in the region as it is about financial returns and producing power

 

Myanmar is under tremendous pressure to get the frame work and laws right. Not only that, but the
government body in charge of investments – the Myanmar Investment Commission – is bombarded with projects from small-scale timber mills to big oil and gas projects. Still, the government has a powerful ally with the World Bank working on an investment prospectus. Of the two billion dollars the World Bank committed to the country, half is earmarked for electricity.

 

FISHING IN MYANMAR: A WONDER OR A WOE

TRADITIONAL FISHING AT INLE LAKE, MYANMAR
TRADITIONAL FISHING AT INLE LAKE, MYANMAR

Against the backdrop of the Shan Hills, Inle Lake fishermen, have a curious and unique rowing style, which consists of standing on one leg on the extreme of the boat and wrapping their other leg around the oar. The reason for this way of paddling is because there are many reeds and water plants in the lake, and if they row sitting down in the boat they can’t see them. Standing on the end of the boat they have a great view and can lead the way better. Also, they have their hands free to collect the fishing net whilst propelling the boat.

Overfishing on Myanmar’s coastline  and damage to marine life cannot  be estimated.

Along western Myanmar’s coastline thousands of people make their living from fishing. Crews of fishermen prepare to spend a night at sea as they sort through nets and ropes. A night on the water, however, could mean running into one of the many commercial and foreign fishing boats that operate in the area. The local fishermen’s complaint is their inability to compete with the foreign boats.
Overfishing on Myanmar’s coastline and damage to marine life cannot be estimated. However, there seems to be hope on the horizon for local fishermen, as Myanmar attempts to ease overfishing, by banning foreign fishing vessels from its waters. Fishing companies also have to reduce their operations by 35 percent during April and May to allow fish stocks to replenish. Enforcement of the new rule is something only the government can ensure. Another growing epidemic in Myanmar is dynamite fishing. This practice of detonating bombs at night in the water destroys the seabed and sterilizes the sea for at least three years, killing every single fish, mollusk, coral and plant in a radius of 3 nautical miles.

The Government of Myanmar could greatly help the fishing community by facilitating the development of the tourist and diving industry. The more stakeholders that are interested in protecting the environment, the more likely the practice will be reported and tackled by the authorities.

CRITICALLY ENDANGERED MYANMAR SNUB-NOSED MONKEYS: CAUGHT ON CAMERA

RARE SNUB NOSED MONKEY FOUND IN CHINA AND MYANMAR
RARE SNUB NOSED MONKEY FOUND IN CHINA AND MYANMAR

The critically endangered Myanmar snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecusstrykeri), a species that was only discovered in 2010, was captured by KaungHaung, a member of the local Law Waw tribe in Myanmar. He works with Fauna & Flora International (FFI), a non-governmental organization, to monitor camera traps set up to photograph the monkeys. As an FFI press release recounts, “Full of excitement and with shaky hands he filmed the large band of snub-nosed monkeys leaping through the canopy up above him.”

The organization has been working to conserve the monkey’s habitat in northern Burma and establish a community ranger program and other alternative livelihoods for the people who live in the area and hunt wild animals for food. The species is also threatened by illegal loggers from China who are cutting down the forest habitat and have in the past engaged in armed combat with local peoples. FFI is trying to get the area where the monkeys live declared a national park, which could ease many of those pressures.

Myanmar snub-nosed monkeys are geographically separated from other snub-nosed species, all of which are also endangered. It has black fur, a tail 140 percent the length of its body and an upturned nose that collects water when it rains, causing the animals to sneeze.

As well as taking the world’s first photographs of the Myanmar snub-nosed monkey, the camera traps set up by the team also captured images of other rare animals, including the red panda, takin, marbled cat and Malayan sun bear.

The video can be seen, by clicking on the following link-                                                        http://youtu.be/J9maq4OYBgE