The Myanmar Norway bilateral Environmental Agreement proceeds to phase two
Myanmar has placed high priority on enhancing the protection of its biodiversity and habitats to conserve its natural heritage. However, ongoing deforestation and forests degradation have resulted in decreased forest cover, destruction of habitats and ecosystems, and loss of biodiversity. Norwegian institutions and Myanmar authorities are collaborating for improved environmental management. After four years, The Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA) has been given the responsibility for coordinating the second phase of the program.
The Environmental Program, financed by the Norwegian embassy, includes three projects: a project on Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) led by NIVA, a project on protection of biodiversity led by the Norwegian Environment Agency, and a project on management of hazardous waste, led by the Norwegian Environment Agency and SINTEF. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation (MONREC) with underlying agencies, The Department of Forestry, and The Department of Environmental Conservation, are collaborating partners on the Myanmar side.
Good relations between Myanmar and Norwegian project partners, and the good project evaluation by KPGM for phase I (2015-2018) of the Environmental Programme, provided the basis for developing the programme document for phase II (2019-2023).
Phase I of the program contributed to:
The IWRM project piloted the river basin management approach in line with the Myanmar National Water Framework Directive in the Bago Sub-basin, established ecological water quality criteria, developed a database, and rehabilitated and supplied instrumentation for the FRI water quality laboratory (NIVA and Watershed Management Division Forest Department). The Biodiversity project provided and implemented an Action Plan for Improved Wetland Management, and ensured development of a National Wetland Policy for Myanmar, management plans for protected areas were developed, in addition to capacity building and training of staff (Norwegian Environment Agency and in Nature and Wildlife Conservation Division Forest Department). The Hazardous Waste Project prepared a draft regulation on transboundary movement of hazardous waste, a draft regulation on hazardous waste management; conducted first-generation inventory on hazardous waste and technical feasibility, prepared a Master Plan for hazardous waste management; and carried out capacity building activities for various stakeholders (Norwegian Environment Agency, SINTEF and the Environmental Conservation Department).
Phase II of the environmental program (2019-2023) aims to contribute to:
• IWRM II: Knowledge based decision-making by focusing on providing data on environmental status of waters; coordinated, transparent decision-making with input from and involvement by Non-governmental Stakeholders within basins (Myanmar National Water Framework Directive).
• Biodiversity II: Training courses, educational programs, implementation of measures of the national wetland strategy, implementation of management plans for conservation areas, and focus on species management - including endangered species.
• Hazardous Waste Project II will build on the momentum created in Phase I to continue to strengthen the role and capacity of ECD and other relevant institutions on technical capabilities of hazardous and industrial waste management.