10-11 September 2019, Nay Pyi Taw
With the support of UN-REDD Programme, Forest Department successfully organized a two-day National Validation Workshop on Myanmar’s Draft National REDD+ Strategy in Nay Pyi Taw at Thingaha Hotel proposing additional modifications required for its endorsement. In addition, the workshop was intended to provide all stakeholders with an opportunity to consider the draft National REDD+ Strategy that has been amended based on inputs from strategy consultation processes.
Since late 2016, Myanmar has been preparing a National REDD+ Strategy, mostly with UN-REDD program’s technical support. This process started with an analysis of drivers of deforestation and forest degradation and barriers to conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks. As a result, eight drivers of deforestation and forest degradation are identified which are significant at the national level.
For the preparation of a preliminary list of “policies and measures” (PAMs) intended to address the fundamental factors arising in these eight drivers, inputs from the Technical Working Group, global experience, and specialist discussion groups were used. For developing a first draft of a National REDD+ Strategy, more than 50 consultations were conducted with line- ministries, state and region’s government departments, expert review committees, ethnic groups, NCA- signatory ethnic armed organizations and civil society organizations.
At the opening of the Workshop, Dr. Ye Myint Swe, Deputy Minister of Ministry of Natural Resource and Environmental Conservation delivered opening remarks. He said, “We must acknowledge is that there has been a history of distrust related to forests and forest management in Myanmar in recent decades. If we are collectively to conserve and sustainably manage our forests, we must overcome this history, and establish an era of trust. I hope it is clear that the very intensive consultation process associated with the Strategy is an indicator that the Union government certainly wants to build trust among stakeholders.”
And then, Dawn Del Rio, Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP gave welcome remarks emphasizing the collaboration with its sister UN agencies, FAO and UN-Environment in the UN-REDD Programme to support the production of Myanmar’s initial Forest Reference Level [or FREL], the design of a Safeguards Information System (SIS) and a roadmap for upgrading of the National Forest Monitoring System, as well as the National REDD+ Strategy.
She also highlighted the role of forest in mitigating the impacts of climate change. She said, “Forests are central to Myanmar’s contribution to the global effort to address climate change under the 2015 Paris Agreement, because currently deforestation and forest degradation account for about 80% of Myanmar’s GHG emissions. Forests are also central to Myanmar’s Sustainable Development Plan and they are also critical to the well-being of other economic sectors.”
Dr. Thaung Naing Oo, National Programme Director of UN-REDD and Director of Forest Research Institute presented about content and vision of the draft National REDD+ strategy focusing on Myanmar’s approach to REDD+. He explained that the National REDD+ Strategy is a “living document” and can be reviewed and modified at any time in accordance with the existing practices.
Daw Khin Hnin Myint, National Programme Coordinator of UN-REDD Programme gave presentation on the process of developing the draft National REDD+ Strategy. In the presentation, she explained important four- steps which were used to implement consultation meetings and workshops with key multi- stakeholders including NCA-signatory Ethnic Armed Organizations.
After it, Mr. Timothy Boyle, Chief Technical Advisor of UN-REDD Programme gave deep explanation on 44 Policies and Measures (PAMs) included in the draft National REDD+ Strategy. He said that a total of 44 “policies and measures” (PAMs) are currently proposed to deal with 8 drivers of deforestation and forest degradation and to promote forest enhancement and conservation. Mr. Timothy Boyle also mentioned that PAMs can still be edited or amended or merged or split or dropped, or new ones added.
Daw Mai Thin Yu Mon, Programme Director of Chin Human Rights Organization presented about Cancun Safeguards highlighting the steps for developing Myanmar Safeguards Approach and designing Safeguards Information System. She also explained about ongoing activities to finalize Safeguards Information System.
At the evening session, participants eagerly discussed in different stakeholder groups such as Central government, Sub-national government, EAO’s, Local CSO’s, Private sector, International organizations for draft strategy vision, PAMs and Safeguards. And then they gave recommendations, comments and feedbacks in group- presentation.
On second day of the workshop, Dr. Myat Su Mon, Deputy Director of Forest Department presented about REDD+ Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV) focusing on current status of REDD+ MRV. In addition, she gave detail explanation on current activities for National Forest Inventory and Forest Reference (Emission) Level.
Daw Khin Hnin Myint, National Programme Coordinator of UN-REDD Programme gave presentation on REDD+ Governance and Finance. In the presentation, she mentioned that Investment Funds and Result-based payments are foreseen as two main types of REDD+ funding for Myanmar. Moreover, she also discussed about next steps in developing REDD+ finance management system.
At group discussion time, sub-national level PAMs and other aspects of strategy were discussed by geographic area such as Southeast (Tanintharyi, Mon, Kayin, Kayah), West coast (Yangon, Ayeyarwady, Rakhine), Dry Zone (Mandalay, Magwe, Bago, Nay Pyi Taw), Shan and North (Kachin, Sagaing, Chin). After it, plenary feedback was given by respective discussion-groups focusing on relevance of PAMs, REDD+ governance and other important issues.
And then, Mr. Timothy Boyle, Chief Technical Advisor of UN-REDD Programme gave proposed next steps on revision and approval of Myanmar REDD+ draft strategy. He said, “We are going to send the revised strategy to participants together with a document showing how each comment has been addressed or reasons why it was impossible to address. And all stakeholders will have another 2 weeks for any follow-up comments up to 25th September 2019.”
At the closing ceremony of the workshop, U Kyaw Kyaw Lwin, Deputy Director General of Forest Department gave closing remarks. He said, “Actually, multi- stakeholder’s participation and their concerns are really crucial to develop any strategy or law. That’s why I’m here to thank all the stakeholders who actively participated in REDD+ strategy development. Without their involvement, suggestions and recommendations, this draft strategy will not complete or may find difficulty when we try to implement it on ground.”
After revising the strategy, the final draft of the Strategy will be submitted for government approval through National REDD+ Taskforce and National Environmental Conservation and Climate Change Central Committee before Minister of MONREC submits to cabinet.