Opening Speech by the Excellency U Win Tun, Minister of the Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry

(MOECAF)  at the opening ceremony of the Workshop on
“ Environmental  Safeguards  Knowledge Sharing”  co - organized by the
MOECAF and ADB GMS- EOC at the Myat Taw Win Hotel on the
29th of November  2012
 
Deputy Ministers from the Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry, Ministry of National Planning and Economic Development 
Dignitaries from ADB, JICA , UNEP , EU and  Experts Participants from Ministries,  City Development Committee , Civil Societies and  NGOs, Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen ,
 
Good morning, 
First  and  foremost,  I  wish  you  all  physical  and  mental wellbeing.  I  would  like  to  welcome  you  all  to  today’s  significant event  co - organized  by  the ADB  GMS- EOC  and MOECAF.   I  would like  to  express  my  appreciation  to  ADB,  GMS - EOC for  organizing this  important   event  with their  technical  and  financial  support.   I would  also  like  to  take  this  opportunity  to  sincerely  thank  all  of  you for  being  with  us  here  today  despite  your  urgent  and  important matters.
 
Distinguished  Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, 
Regarding the conservation of the environment in Myanmar,  the Environmental  Conservation  Policy   was  adopted  in  1994.  Myanmar Agenda  21  was  prepared as  a  blue  print  for  the  environmental activities  to  be  implemented.   National  Sustainable  Development Strategy  (NSDS)  for  Myanmar  was  formatted  in  200 9 .   NSDS  is  an important  mechanism  for  countries  to  achieve  sustainable development.  With  the  view  to  implement  National  Environmental Policy   and  Strategies,  the  Environmental  Conservation  Law  was enacted  in  March  2012.  The  Law focuses on the  environmental quality standards,  conservation of  environment  and natural resources.  Furthermore,  the  environmental  rules  and  regulations  are  being developed  through  the  consultative  approach  involving  all  relevant stakeholders  to implement the said law .   
 
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dealing   with  institutional  strengthening,   the  National Environmental  Conservation  Committee  has  been  reformed  as  a  full flash  focal  organization  for  the  environment  sector  throughout  the country. Moreover, to speed up the implementation of environmental protection  measures  the  Ministry  of  Forestry  was  reformed  to Ministry  of  Environmental  Conservation  and  Forestry  and organization  of  Environmental  Conservation  Department under MOECAF was set up  very recently. Myanmar  Government has  pledged  to  perform  the  economic development  with  the  integration  of environmental  conservation  and has  called  on  all  its  citizens  and  social  organizations  and  foreign investors  to  actively  take part  in  this  task.  Knowing the  fact  that concerted  efforts  have  been  made  to  protect,  safeguard  and  conserve our  environment  and  biodiversity.  With  the  continuing  inspired attitude,  these  are  therefore  indicated   as " prominent  witness  to the international community that the Government has   increased its efforts to  mainstream  environmental  protection  into  the  national  economic development plan to achieve sustainable development .
 
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, 
" In  the  last  two  decades,  developing  member  countries  of  Asian Development  Bank  have  developed  their  own  systems  regarding safeguards  for  the  environment,  involuntary  resettlement,  and Indigenous  People  to  varying  degrees .  The  Safeguard  Policy Statement  of  the  ADB  emphasizes   its  responsibility  to  assist developing  member  countries  in  strengthening  their  own  safeguard systems  and  in  enhancing  their  implementation  capacity  to  address environmental and social issues.
As far as I am concerned, the proposed immediate focus of ADB Core  Environment  Program  and  Biodiversity  Conservation  Corridors Initiative  (CEP- BCI)  Phase  II  program me  in  Myanmar  is  Country Safeguard  System  (CSS) strengthening.  This  programmatic  focus recognizes the formative stage of Myanmar’s CSS and the underlying legal  and  regulatory  framework,  including  the  new  Environmental Conservation Law.
 
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, 
I have learned t he workshop is anticipated to include continued Environmental  Performance  Assessment  (EPA)  reporting,  includings trengthening  of  Environmental  Information  Systems,  Environmental and  Social  Safeguard  capacity  building,  development  of  sector -specific  Environmental  and  Social  Impact  Assessment  ( ESIA) guidelines,  and  Strategic  Environmental  Assessment  (SEA)  studies. Myanmar  highly  appreciates  the  results  and  achievements  made  by the GMSCEP - BCI with the support of ADB, EOC and development partners. Therefore, Myanmar supports the BCI which is an important component  under  Core  Environment  Programme  (CEP)  towards protecting  the  biodiversity,  forests  and  natural  areas  along  GMS Economic Corridors. We look forward to have more opportunities to participate in the GMS CEP- BCI program along with our fellow GMS countries in the future.
 
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, 
" This  workshop  is  therefore,  an  important  one  for  the  future development  of  Environmental  Safeguards  Strategic  Framework  of Myanmar and  the outcomes of the event will leave a lasting mark on ADB  GMS- EOC  work  in  the  years  to come.  This  event  offers  an opportunity for the reflection on what we have  achieved and how we should  move  forward   the  future  course  of  Country  Safeguards System .I am convinced that the outcomes from this workshop would be fruitful,  meaningful,  precise  and  action- oriented  to  support sustainability of natural resources and environment of Myanmar from the national to the global level.
 
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, 
In  conclusion,  I  would  like  to  urge all the  participants   to  take part in  this workshop energetically and provide realistic and valuable inputs  that  may  be  translated  into  actions  with  the  assistance  and cooperation  of  ADB  GMS - EOC.  Again,  I  would  like  to  thank the representatives  of  ADB,  EOC,  UNEP,  JICA,  EU  and  respective experts who have been instrumental in organizing this workshop and all  the  participants whose  knowledge  and  expertise  will  be  of  great contribution   to meet aim of the workshop. I wish you all great success and achievements in your deliberations.  
 
Thank you.