As Myanmar seeks to make significant gains on its seven priority areas which includes the development of agriculture and tourism sectors, cooperation with regional and international partners is critical, a minister said.
Time has never been “more opportune” to intensify the collaboration further, U Win Tun, minister for environmental conservation and forestry, said at an event organised by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and the ministry.
“Today’s event, Myanmar-ICIMOD Day, reflects one of our international collaborations to fulfil our endeavor, determination, and commitment to conserve biodiversity and ecosystem services as well as to support development and climate change mitigation,” he said.
The minister pointed out that approximately 42 percent of Myanmar is mountainous, and many mountain-specific issues transcend local and national boundaries requiring a broad regional approach and transboundary collaboration to find effective solutions.
“In this context, collaboration with ICIMOD provides a great opportunity to strengthen our efforts on sustainability of mountain environment as well as to address problems facing the mountain areas, which are mostly transboundary in nature.”
Myanmar is a founding member of ICIMOD, while the Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry is the nodal ministry and the Department of Forest represents Myanmar in ICIMOD’s Board of Governors.
ICIMOD’s Director General Dr David Molden said there is immense potential in the work for mountains and people for Myanmar, and it is important for the national partners to provide critical inputs into ICIMOD’s programs.
“I am pleased with the progress, but not yet fully satisfied, that’s why we must connect with partners and deepen our relation in Myanmar,” he said.
Molden pointed out that ICIMOD has been expanding its activities in Myanmar in the recent years. Myanmar hosted the annual Board Meeting in 2012 where ICIMOD’s Strategic Framework and the Medium Term Action Plan were endorsed.
Today, there are five major programmes of cooperation between ICIMOD and Myanmar, while the NGO also supported the development of Myanmar Ecotourism Policy and Management Strategy.
ICIMOD’s Director of Strategic Cooperation Basanta Shrestha said partnership is key to ICIMOD to reach its impact on the ground.
“We want to strengthen existing partnerships and build new ones in order to synergise our efforts to raise the voice of mountain people given that mountains are often marginalised,” he said.
Shrestha added that the intensity of programs in Myanmar is growing, and synergy among partners must be developed at multiple levels recognising the many actors. Equally important, he said, is to address cross-linkages with different agencies in Myanmar.