The Myanmar’s National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) was first drafted in 2011 to provide a national strategy for the conservation and sustainable use of nature. The NBSAP is now being updated with new information and including national counterparts to the global Aichi Biodiversity Targets. These targets designed to mainstream biodiversity and sustainable use across all sectors and to address both the direct and underlying drivers of biodiversity loss and degradation. It includes sustainable forestry, agriculture, and fisheries, industrials development, policy incentives, protected areas and species conservation, incorporation of traditional practices and knowledge in conservation, and maintenance of ecosystem services fundamental for human well-being.
The NBSAP is very important as a major guiding document and for planning biodiversity conservation in Myanmar, as well as providing a strategic planning-policy framework for the effectiveness on conservation and management of biodiversity and natural resources.
I recently participated in workshops organized by the Forest Department and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to review the draft 2015-2020 NBSAP. These workshops were held on 9-10 June in Myanmar’s capital city, Nay Pyi Daw and on 12 June in Yangon. Participants were representatives from governments, the Global Environment Facility, the United Nations Environment Program, NGOs, and academicians. Based on the consultations, discussions, comments, suggestions and updated information of biodiversity and natural resources in the country, the NBSAP will be prepared and approved by national stakeholders.
These consultation-workshops provided an overview of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and existing NBSAP with the following objectives:
● to introduce the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and the Myanmar NBSAP update process;
● to review the draft national targets, suggest revisions and additions, and share information;
● to ensure the relevant existing processes, action plans and targets in each sector are reflected in the updated NBSAP and national targets;
● to indentify key topics for further discussion on next steps of the drafting process, and identify interesting participants.
I have the opportunity to discuss and give technical reviews on key national targets in the Plan, among others:
● 30% of Myanmar’s coral reefs are considerable to conserve within marine protected areas by 2020 (target #10.1);
● destructive fishing practices in coral reef areas will be banned and effectively enforced by 2018 (target #10.2)
The participants at the workshop unanimously accepted my proposed points to establish Myanmar Biodiversity Research Journal (MBRJ) and National Red List Data Base to highlight some reptile species’ population status in decline and impacted by illegal trade demands and other human activities within Myanmar. This proposal will be implemented under the management of Nature and Wildlife Conservation Division (NWCD) and Ministry of Environment Conservation and Forestry (MOECAF).
As conclusion, participation on the national workshop as an ASEAN-U.S. Science and Technology Fellow was a great achievement and will support my Fellowship’s action plan to (i). Develop new syllabus for biodiversity for undergraduate course (ii). Extend the new protected area for global threaten marine turtle species and (iii). Maintain the population of rat snake species (Ptyas sp.) by implementing an effective wildlife law.
Indeed, these action points will potentially assist Myanmar’s national biodiversity conservation and management plan. Thus, the outcomes of the plan (NBSAP) will be helpful in coordination work within the country and sharing of updated information within the ASEAN network in the policy implementation and to develop and enhance regional biodiversity conservation and sustainable use.
About the Writer: Ko Myint, a Fellow under the ASEAN-U.S. Science and Technology Fellowship, is a Lecturer at Zoology Department in University of Yangon, Myanmar. He received his B.Sc in 2000 and M.Sc in 2002 from the University of Yangon, and continued his Ph.D study with a specialization on “Herpetology”. His dissertation title was “Ecology and Nesting Behavior of Sea Turtles in Ayeyawady Delta Region, Myanmar” and was awarded with a partial grant by the NEF (Nagoya Natural Environment Foundation, Japan) through a local NGO, Forest Resources Environment Development and Conservation Association (FREDA), Myanmar. After finishing his Ph.D in 2007, he teaches and conducts research on biodiversity conservation. He believes that reptiles and amphibians diversity and population study is interesting as venerable and lesser known species. Under the Fellowship, he is currently assigned to work with the Nature and Wildlife Conservation Division, under the Ministry of Environment Conservation and Forestry (MOECAF). Ko Myint believes that the Fellowship is a great opportunity for him; not only to improve his knowledge and expertise but also to better understand the policy making process and to network within the ASEAN and the US scientists and policy makers.