SEI has signed an agreement with Myanmar’s Directorate of Water Resources and Improvement of River Systems (DWIR) and Myanmar Environment Institute (MEI) to build on its continuing work on environmental issues in Myanmar.

The agreement, signed by DWIR’s Deputy Director General Mr Thaung Lwin, MEI’s Chairperson Dr Win Maung, and SEI Asia’s Centre Director Mr Niall O’Connor, aims to bridge the gap between research, science, and policy implementation on environmental and water resources management issues.

The agreement seeks to strengthen “collaboration on the development and implementation of joint programmes, projects and activities to support sustainable development, climate change adaptation and environmental management in Myanmar through an evidence-based multi-stakeholder engagement process”.

The partnership will catalyze research and assessments on critical environmental issues in Myanmar, and help to train the next generation of researchers on climate change risks and tools for water management. The collaborative agreement will be effective until 31 December 2020.

Deputy Director General Mr Thaung Lwin welcomed SEI’s partnership in Myanmar’s water sector as “it will provide capacity building of DWIR staff, and provide them an opportunity to learn advanced technology for climate risk assessments”.

The agreement was signed by Deputy Director General Mr Thaung Lwin (6th from right), Dr Win Maung (7th from right), and Mr Niall O’Connor.

Mr Niall O’Connor affirmed the ties would support Myanmar’s sustainable development: “This partnership will help in many ways by bringing together the local capacity of MEI, with the critical leadership and governance of DWIR, supported by the science to policy approach of SEI”.

Dr Win Maung said this partnership was key for bridging research with policy-making: “DWIR can mainstream the work into the policy-making process of the Myanmar National Water Resources Commission (NWRC)”. NWRC is the apex policy-making body for water resources management in Myanmar.

Since 2013, SEI has been working in Myanmar on water, climate and development issues using evidence-based multi-stakeholder engagement in the Ayeyarwady River Basin with a special focus on the Chindwin River Basin under three projects: Ayeyarwady Futures (AF) (Nov 2013-Dec 2014), Chindwin Futures (CF) (Jan 2015-Dec 2017), and Chindwin Biodiversity and Ecosystem Service (CBES) (April 2017-March 2019).

DWIR, under the Ministry of Transport and Communications, has the mandate of: improving navigation channels and to stabilizing the inland river ports, protecting against river bank erosion, and cooperating with other organizations in demarcation of dangerous water levels. DWIR is also responsible for use of river water for households and agriculture, and to manage and prevent against river pollution.

MEI, a close working partner of SEI in Myanmar, is a non-governmental organization that includes staff from a range of social and physical science backgrounds working across traditional disciplines to improve knowledge of environmental issues. The key activities of MEI include: basic training courses on environmental science and management; and conducting Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs).