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Nay Pyi Taw, 23 Sept 13

Mrs. Brissonneau delivering remarks © UN Habitat

At a ceremony organized by the Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry the Myanmar Climate Change Alliance (MCCA) was formally launched last week.

The event was opened by the Deputy Minister for MoECAF Dr. Thet Thet Zin who highlighted how Myanmar is extremely vulnerable to Climate Change with a predominantly agricultural and natural resource based economy. Increasing instances of climate related natural disasters are threatening these sectors and livelihoods and are increasing the vulnerability of Myanmar’s population. She stated that Myanmar has already taken steps to address climate change through the Initial National Communication to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the National Adaptation Program of Action (NAPA). She went on to welcome the MCCA as a new platform to initiate development of the national strategy to address Climate Change.

The MCCA aims to assist the Government of the Union of Myanmar in developing the national strategy on climate change, multi sectoral action plans, and capacity enhancement on climate change in the Government, private sector and civil society. The MCCA is a four year project funded by the European Union (EU) through the Global Climate Change Alliance Program. It is being jointly implemented by the United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN-Habitat) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The lead Government agency is the Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry (MoECAF). The program will also work closely with several other ministries and government agencies.

Responding to Dr. Zin, UN Habitat Country Manager Bijay Karmacharya, acknowledged the vital support of MoECAF in getting the MCCA from formulation to a fully fledged program. Further highlighting the vulnerability of Myanmar to Climate Change impacts, he explained how the MCCA was conceived with the aim of equipping the Government of Myanmar, the Private sector, Yangon region and other stakeholders with proper policy tools and action plans coupled with capacity enhancement to address climate change induced impacts. He further reiterated that   UN Habitat was honored to be a partner in  “laying the foundations of climate change policy tools in Myanmar’.

Ms. Delphine Brissonneau, representative of  EU, emphasized how climate change is often perceived as a silent threat that is difficult to prioritize. Development of the national climate change strategy will require effective coordination between sectors and ministries. Ms. Brissonneau acknowledged that the programme was challenging but was confident that Myanmar would achieve the objectives of the project within the project period.

In a message sent by Mr Young-woo Park, Regional Director and Representative of UNEP, stressed that the MCCA will require both technical expertise and strong political leadership and happy seeing that MoECAF is already providing political leadership in steering the program and coordinating between ministries and actors. He reaffirms UNEP commitment to bring its technical expertise and experiences to this important project.

The technical details of the programme were presented by Mr. Arup Rajouria, Chief Technical Advisor of MCCA, Mr. Rajouria highlighted concepts of climate change and gave an overview of the potential impacts of climate change regionally and in Myanmar including droughts, floods and increasingly erratic temperature and rainfall. He further explained how the proposed MCCA program will support development of a national strategy to address climate change. His presentation proposed institutional structures and described the requirements of technical working groups for formulation of a national climate change strategy. Mr. Rajouria emphasized the complexities of a program of this nature, as it requires intricate technical input from a wide range of ministries departments and organizations.

U Tin Tun, Director General, Department of Planning and Statistics spoke on the complexities and intricacies of the program, which warranted multi sectoral and inter ministerial co-operation and co-ordination that would link climate change for poverty alleviation and sustainable development of Myanmar.

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