Fourth-year performance of Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation

Union Minister U Ohn Win observing the pearls at the Myanmar Pearl Exhibition.
Union Minister U Ohn Win observing the pearls at the Myanmar Pearl Exhibition.

Ten fiscal year plan on Myanmar Reforestation and Rehabilitation Programme (2017-2026) (MRRP) has been laid down beginning 2017 with 19 diverse agendas, and that the implementation is ongoing: Union Minister U Ohn Win

By Nandar Win, Photo: Tar Yar

In quest of sustainable development of the vast sector in the areas of forestry and mining in the country along with the environmental conservation of the nation, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation is shouldering the onerous tasks in top gear.
Through the interviews to Union Minister U Ohn Win and the departmental heads, all aspects of the achievements, performances and developments during the fourth year are presented to the esteemed readers.

U Ohn Win,
Union Minister, MONREC
Q: Kindly share us the most satisfactory achievements in the forestry sector during the fourth year period.
A: Successfully performed its protection and production functions in harmony, based upon a policy of sustainable utilization of valuable forest resources, the protected forest areas, the reserve forest areas, and the “Biodiversity and Conservation of Protected Area” have been earmarked and planned in the country.
A total of (30) per cent is targeted for protected forest land and the reserve forest land, and that (10) per cent is intended to set up for the “Protected Areas and Biodiversity Conservation”.
In the fourth year performances, (26) reserve forest land with (304,593) acres have been consolidated, covering (25 point 49) per cent of the nation.
During the period, two vast land with (43,605) acres have been organized as the “Protected Areas and Biodiversity Conservation”. So far, a total of (45) vast land in (9 point 8) million acres covering (5 point 85) per cent of the country has been consolidated.
Ten fiscal year plan on Myanmar Reforestation and Rehabilitation Programme (2017-2026) (MRRP) has been laid down beginning 2017 with (19) diverse agendas, and that the implementation is ongoing.
In the fourth year implementation, many areas have been established such as that of the commercial forest areas; that of convergence forest areas; that of tidal forest areas; that of village fuel forest wood areas; that of private teak forest areas; and that of private hardwood forest areas. At the dire needs of the local population, private bamboo forest plantations have allocated to (106) entrepreneurs.
With a view to facilitate the requirements of the local population, necessary directives with regard to the forestry sector have been supplemented in May 2019, and the forest strategy (2018 – 2020) for the local population has been accorded.
A total of (648) Forest Users Association have been formed with (14,744) memberships covering (87,302) acres.
A wildlife sanctuary is a place of refuge where abused, injured and abandoned captive wildlife may live in peace and dignity for the remainder of their lives.
During (2019 – 2020) to (2028 – 2029) period, the projects are being laid down for the establishment of wildlife sanctuaries, and that (25 point 97) per cent has been completed so far.
With a view to reduce the extraction of wood in the rural areas, (38,182) energy sufficient stoves have been distributed in collaboration with the international organizations.
For recreational purpose, and as there are many retired and old elephants available in Myanmar, many elephant camps have been established across the country.
Q: Please explain us on the mine industry sector.
A: Mining was suspended in 2016 due to concerns over the environmental damage caused by the industry and legal confusion. Myanmar’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation (MoNREC) has announced that local and foreign investment in mining operations in the country will be permitted, following an assessment of the industry’s environmental impacts, with the new mining law and bylaw.
At the moment, with the recommendations of the regional and state governments, total of (158) applications for new exploration and extraction sites would be approved soon.
In the fourth year implementation, the approvals were accorded such as that of the mining survey and exploration including foreign investment and local investment; that of the extension of foreign investment permits and local investment permits; that of large, medium and small exploration and extraction new permits and extension of permits.
Myanmar Jade and Gems Emporium and Auctions were held during the fourth year period and fetched Euro (506 point 914) million; MMK (12) billion; while pearl fetched Euro (2,680,892).
Q: Please share us on the natural environmental conservation in balanced approach.
A: President U Win Myint announced the two new policies – – – the National Environmental Policy and the Myanmar Climate Change Policy – – – at an event marking World Environment Day in the capital Nay Pyi Taw.
With regard to climate change and to reduce carbon emission, the relevant policies, strategies and main work programs were being released.
Waste management and recycling discarded items are being taken into consideration and that Myanmar National Level Main Working Programme for 2018 – 2020 have been rolled out.
Q: Kindly explain us the most salient points with regard to biodiversity conservation.
A: Our ministry would step ahead in line with policies, strategies, directives laid down by the state and with the directives of the state leaders in the management of forestry, mining and natural conservation matters. We are working in cooperation and collaboration with relevant ministries. At this juncture, I would like to request the people to participate in the endeavor for the environmental conservation for the greater good of the nation.

Officials collecting data on forest conservation in Mindone Township, Hayet District.
Officials collecting data on forest conservation in Mindone Township, Hayet District.

U Khin Latt Gyi
(Director-General, Department of Mining)
Q: Tell us on the development with regards to laws and bylaws.
A: Following the passing of the amendments to the Myanmar Mines Law of 1994 through the enactment of Law No. 72/2015 on 24 December 2015 the “Mines Law Amendments”, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation passed the much anticipated Myanmar Mines Rules under Notification No. 13/2018 dated 13 February 2018 the “Mines Rules”, repealing the previous mines rules passed in 1996.

Q: Kindly explain the implementation of mining industry in the context of national planning objectives.
A: National Planning Objectives involve the implementation of the mining sector, the jade sector, the gems sector, and the pearl sector. In this regards, the targeted income was set at MMK (592,885 point 534) million and that the MONREC realized MMK (821,314 point 559) million, accounting to (138 point 53) per cent of the estimated total proceeds.

Dr. Nyi Nyi Kyaw,
(Director-General, Department of Forest)
Q: Please share us with the most salient performances of your department.
A: So far, we have successfully consolidated (25 point 49) per cent of the country as permanent forest land. The consolidation of forest land is aimed at sustainable natural resources conservation of the country, including its utilization.
Q: Kindly explain the participation of the local population in the forest conservation tasks.
A: There are many steps in the forest conservation, and that the local population is residing in the same areas. Therefore, we need to consider that there is no harm to the daily livelihood of the local people in connection with the forest conservation.
Q: Please share us over the sustainable biodiversity in the context of forestry sector.
A: When we talk about the forest resource, it covers the topic of biodiversity. One of the tasks in the fourth year implementation include the project to reestablish the wildlife sanctuaries as much as possible in their original habitats.
The plans include such as that of the conservation of the original habitats; that of making the safe passages in the forest areas; that of the cooperation and coordination with other ministries in avoiding harm and damage to the wildlife sanctuaries due to construction of new infrastructures.
We are also working for the conservation of migratory birds. In 2020, the famous Inlay Lake has been designated as resting place for the birds.
Q: Please tell us about the current implementation of the Department of Forest.
A: Due to the high deforestation in Myanmar, the country is implementing a 10-year plan of reforestation and rehabilitation of its forest across the country. The project covers 32,400 to 40,500 hectares a year to establish forest, nurseries and to replant trees in forest reserve land. This rainy season would witness the planting of (68) million trees by the private sector, the civil society organizations and the local population. The Department of Forest has formed the community based “Community Monitoring and Reporting System – CMRS” to reduce the illegal logging. As a result, (49,782 point 35) tons of illegal logs have been arrested along with (4,531) offenders, including (28) foreigners. A total of (2711) transport vehicles have been seized. In this regards, the participation of the local population is very much vital.
Another vital task is the Inle Lake Conservation and Rehabilitation Project, which is rolling ahead in speed.

U Hla Maung Thein,
(Director-General, Department of Environmental Conservation)
Q: Please share us about the significant development of the Department of Environmental Conservation.
A: According to the Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan – – MSDP, it has been expressed that the natural environment conservation is the basic and core foundation.
The Myanmar Climate Change Strategy (MCCS) 2018-2030 has been formulated and adopted to provide a roadmap for Myanmar to strategically address climate-related risks, and also seize opportunities, over the next 13 years and beyond.
Q: Please explain on the monitoring and evaluation in the context of environmental degradation.
A: During 2019, a total of ( 113 ) study reports on environmental degradation on socio-economic and investment development projects in the domains of the infrastructure, the hotels, the transportation, the industry, the energy, the agriculture, the livestock breeding, the forestry, and the mining have been approved, and that (623) reports have been initially checked and duly replied.
A total of (1,237) ground inspection trips on the projects to check water, air and soil pollution have been successfully conducted.
Q: Kindly explain on the future tasks over environmental conservation.
A: All the environmental conservation tasks in the context of climate change would be implemented with the cooperation and participation of the governments, the organizations and the entire people.

U Minn Thu,
(Managing Director, Myanmar Gems Enterprise)
Q: Please tell us on the arrangements in passing the relevant information on the gems and jewellery to the public.
A: Myanmar is proud to have motley assortments over (75) varieties of gems and over (100) diverse and varied precious stones, including the famous ruby, sapphire and jade. They are being proudly displayed in Myanma Gems Museums in Nay Pyi Taw and Yangon.
Q: Please share us on the sustainable development plans.
A: With a view to sustainable development in the management over the Myanma gems for the posterity, an appropriate gem policy is in the process for pragmatic application in the country.
Q: Kindly explain us on the gem and jewelry market status.
A: The work programme includes such as that of the upgrading of finished products using modern technology; that of the creation of (100) per cent development of jewellery market in the country.
Q: Kindly apprise us on the emporiums and auctions.
A: Since 1964, a total of (95) Myanma gems, jade and jewellery emporiums and auctions were successfully held, which fetched and yielded foreign cash for the government coffer.
Q: Please share us with gems and jade production in the fourth year.
A: During the fourth year period, the extraction of raw jade was (29,445 point 446) kilos in thousands; the extraction of gems and stones was (220 point 128) carets, which brought in MMK (10,934 point 329) million.
Q: In conclusion, kindly share us on the activities with regards to Myanma Gems Law.
A: In accordance with the 2019 Myanma Gems Law, the regional and state governments have the authority in the management and supervision over the works of small scale businesses and employees, individuals and groups.
Translated by UMT (Ahlon)

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