Myanmar's Natural Wealth - Foundation for the Future



Posted on 02 September 2013  | 
Myanmar is one of the most biologically diverse and ecologically productive nations on Earth. Its rich natural assets underpin the government’s vision of an economically secure and environmentally sustainable future. But achieving this vision will not be easy. Myanmar’s natural wealth is facing unprecedented pressures, and with economic sanctions ending and large-scale investment mobilizing, many looming development decisions will fundamentally shape the country’s economic and environmental future.

Living resources vital to human wellbeing – forests, fisheries, freshwater systems, fertile soils, coastal and marine ecosystems – the country’s natural capital, are the foundation of Myanmar’s long-term sustainable economic development. Myanmar has witnessed its neighbours over-exploit their natural capital, creating precariously fragmented ecosystems unable to support sustainable economic growth over the medium and long term. The government and civil society organizations of Myanmar are now seeking partnerships and state-of-the-art guidance on how to best manage their natural capital, preserving the country’s globally important biodiversity for the near and long-term health and prosperity of the women and men of this vast and diverse nation.

WWF’s aim is to support Myanmar’s development ambitions with a focus on spatial planning and biodiversity conservation in parallel with ecosystem services protection and sustainable livelihoods. Biodiversity underpins the functioning of ecosystems that provide a wide range of services to people. The provision of food, fibre, medicines and freshwater, pollination of crops, filtration of pollutants, and protection from natural disasters are among those ecosystem services potentially threatened by declines and changes in biodiversity. In order for Myanmar to realize a stable and sustainable economy that contributes to poverty alleviation, the economic value of the country’s biodiversity, and the benefits it provides, must be accounted for and integrated in development planning processes and decision making.

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