UK steps up efforts to help Myanmar mitigate impacts of climate change

Members of the British Embassy provide flood relief supplies in Ayeyarwaddy Region in August. Photo: British Embassy
Members of the British Embassy provide flood relief supplies in Ayeyarwaddy Region in August. Photo: British Embassy

THE United Kingdom is committed to helping Myanmar overcome the challenges of being one of the world’s most vulnerable countries to climate change, said a British Embassy representative on Tuesday.
Myanmar was among the ‘extreme risk’ group in the 2015 Climate Change Vulnerability Index, which identified ever-frequent extreme weather impacts, particularly flooding, having potentially devastating effects on ecosystems, human health, industrial processes, supply chains and infrastructure.
“As we have seen with this year’s devastating floods, these impacts are hitting all across a country that is on the front line of climate change,” Anthony Preston, Head of the British Embassy’s Prosperity Team told The Global New Light of Myanmar.
The UK delivered aid supplies to flood affected areas following the floods that hit 12 out of 14 states and regions in Myanmar in July and August.
In late September, the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change announced that funding for activities aimed at mitigating the effects of climate change in developing countries around the world will be increased by at least 50 percent, to a further £5.8 billion (US$8.95 billion) from April 2016 to March 2021.
The funding is delivered through the International Climate Fund (ICF) which was established in 2010 and helps developing countries to take up low carbon development, protect forests and to adapt to the impacts of climate change. It is part of the UK’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) budget.
“To ensure a more secure and prosperous future for us all, the UK is playing its part by helping some of the most vulnerable communities become more resilient to climate change and by supporting the developing world to take the clean energy path to growth and prosperity rather than the high carbon route,” said the UK’s Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ms Amber Rudd in the press release issued on 27 September.
The UK will focus on low carbon development, which will help the world’s poorest countries to boost their economies and tackle poverty, while at the same time reducing carbon emissions and the impacts of climate change. Introducing low carbon energy sources such as solar power will also enable millions of people without electricity to access clean energy, allowing homes and businesses to thrive.
“Taking action on climate change is in every country’s interest. We cannot have food security, water security, energy security – or any form of national security – without climate security. In response to this, the UK Government has launched the International Climate Fund (ICF) to help reduce poverty and tackle climate change in developing countries. The ICF will help poor countries to protect the lives and jobs that are most at risk from climate change. It will support poor countries to build resilience to a changing climate, protect precious water resources, and help poor people cope with more frequent extreme weather events,” said Mr Preston.
Since 2012 the UK has provided over £43.3 million (US$67 million) in humanitarian aid to people in Myanmar and along the Thai-Myanmar border, making it one of the largest humanitarian donors in the region.
The UK’s climate finance goes towards building climate resilient communities in a variety of ways. It has supported the distribution of flood resilient crops and improving early warning systems. It is also helping create a reliable source of energy for communities which improves health, education, and enables businesses to grow, creating jobs and improving incomes and standards of living for the poorest communities.

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