UN to administer $5.5m deforestation plan


NAY PYI TAW — Officials in the capital have launched a new national forest conservation plan, administered by a United Nations climate change program, following decades of severe deforestation across the country.

The plan, funded through 2020 by the Norwegian government, will assist government departments and local communities build expertise in forest management under the UN-REDD+ initiative.

“Myanmar’s potential to develop conservation and climate change programs is higher than that of other countries,” U Ohn Win, the Union minister for Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation, said at the program’s launch on Friday.

Forests account for more just under half of Myanmar’s total territory, but forest cover has shrunk by 1-2 percent per annum over the last 15 years. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization estimated in 2015 that Myanmar had the third-highest deforestation rate in the world, after Brazil and Indonesia.

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Ms. Xiaojie Fan, the FAO representative in Myanmar, said the government’s land use policy would need review in order for any conservation efforts to succeed.

U Kyaw Thiha, chairman of Amyotha Hluttaw committee for minerals and natural resources said Friday that the government would need to examine details of the UN-REDD+ program before considering any legal reform.

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