Union Minister U Thaung Tun (centre) meeting with the minister (left) and the ambassador (right) of the United Kingdom via videoconferencing on 22 Sept. PHOTO: MNA
Union Minister for Investment and Foreign Economic Relations, U Thaung Tun yesterday received Lord Goldsmith, Minister of State for Pacific and the Environment, from the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, and Mr Dan Chugg, British Ambassador to Myanmar at the Ministry of Investment and Foreign Economic Relations via videoconference. The Union Minister welcomed the opportunity for dialogue with Lord Goldsmith in his capacity as a Minister within the new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office while also noting Myanmar’s long-standing relationship with the UK aid programme, and its reputation for impact, value for money and transparency.
After exchanging updates on the COVID-19 pandemic in their respective countries the conversation turned to issues of environmental sustainability as part of post-COVID-19 recovery plans. Both the Union Minister and Lord Goldsmith were in firm agreement that the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis presented all countries with an opportunity to calibrate their economic recoveries in ways that promote sustainability and address climate change but also in ways that protect people, communities and livelihoods.
Lord Goldsmith enquired as to how Myanmar might seek to ensure forest and biodiversity protection feature as a part of the country’s economic recovery plan to which the Minister replied that Myanmar was no stranger to challenges posed by climate change, and that extreme weather events continue to impact Myanmar’s most vulnerable communities. The Minister stated:
“I can confirm that our economic recovery plan recognizes the need to integrate a sound, environmentally sustainable response – from wildlife to forests to wetlands. Furthermore, and true to this government’s commitment to sustainability in all its forms – I believe our response will allow us to build back better by capitalizing upon the potential for green investments in sectors such as renewable energy, and green infrastructure.”
Both sides discussed market developments concerning renewable energy and expressed a firm commitment to accelerating the use of renewable energy, helping Myanmar leapfrog many of the pitfalls faced by other countries, including through potential UK investment into Myanmar’s solar and wind energy sectors.
Lord Goldsmith drew attention to a new global coalition aimed at limiting the potential of global supply chains contributing to deforestation and invited Myanmar’s participation. Concluding the exchange, Myanmar and the UK welcomed recent increases in bilateral trade as “a real success story” in part due to close working relationships established between each country’s respective trade officials. The Minister was accompanied by U Bharat Singh, Deputy Minister for Investment and Foreign Economic Relations and U Than Aung Kyaw, Director General of the Foreign Economic Relations Department.—MNA