Myitkyina, Myanmar, January 5, 2018–IFC, a sister organization of the World Bank and a member of the World Bank Group, and Myanmar’s Ministry of Electricity and Energy (MOEE) and Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation (MONREC), are holding a series of discussions to finalize the countrywide strategic environmental assessment (SEA) – a planning tool to improve sustainability of the hydropower sector.
Starting on January 5, several discussions will be held throughout the month with civil society, NGOs, private sector and government officials in Myitkyina, Dawei, Bago, Hpa An, Taunggyi, Yangon, and Nay Pyi Taw. Building on previous engagements, participants will have an opportunity to learn how their feedback has contributed to shaping the final SEA report. In 2016, stakeholders took part in over 50 engagements to share their insights on environmental and social values related to riverine development in Myanmar, providing the foundation for the SEA.
“Stakeholder engagement has been an essential part of the SEA. The study balances stakeholder inputs with scientific knowledge including GIS mapping of Myanmar’s river basins,” said U Hla Maung Thein, Director General, Environmental Conservation Department, MONREC. “The SEA aims to ensure that hydropower is developed sustainably based on the integration of water, land and ecosystem planning in order to balance natural resource uses and priorities.”
Led by the two ministries — MONREC and MOEE — Myanmar’s SEA focuses on the country’s hydropower potential while mapping environmental and social complexities. The SEA’s purpose is to identify opportunities to sustain natural river basin processes that regulate and maintain river health and other ecosystems services. It further aims to help identify opportunities for protection of unique sites and important values; and areas that can provide adequate low cost and reliable energy. However, a river basin identified by the SEA as low- or medium-risk is not necessarily a green light for development. It only indicates that at the strategic level, these areas provide higher scope for development than others that may be key biodiversity hotspots, areas of cultural importance, or affected by conflict.
“Officials engaged in the SEA process had the opportunity to acquire a range of perspectives on hydropower development. It also equipped them with an in-depth knowledge of the assessment process,” said Daw Mi Mi Khaing, Director General of Department of Electric Power Planning, MOEE. “The SEA has been a capacity building process on how to better manage risk, helping us to better coordinate with the Environmental Conservation Department within MONREC.”
Once completed, the SEA’s Sustainable Development Framework will be available for the public in English and Myanmar languages.
SEA stakeholder discussions are scheduled across Myanmar as below:
Since September 2015, IFC, with support from the Australian government, has helped the government of Myanmar better manage risk by training officials on environmental and social standards in the hydropower sector. Ongoing training includes courses on IFC’s Performance Standards — which was recently launched in Myanmar language — environmental flows, stakeholder engagement and benefit sharing, as well as environmental and social impact-assessment guidelines for the hydropower sector.
Click here for FAQs on the SEA of Myanmar’s Hydropower sector. For additional information on the SEA process, click on the following links: SEA Stage 1 and Stage 2, SEA Resources Page and SEA Stakeholder Engagement Maps in English and Myanmar languages.
Click here to view the press release in Myanmar language.
IFC—a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in the toughest areas of the world. In FY17, we delivered a record $19.3 billion in long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to help end poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org