As part of PisaSpeak’s month-long guest blogger Series – “Tell us what you’re doing in the field” we heard from Priscilla Clapp, blue moon fund, about the need for integrated watershed management in Myanmar. This week’s post comes from Rainer Eizenberger, Program Coordinator, Heinrich Böll Stiftung and focuses on a new program that taps community leaders in an effort to build support for indigenous knowledge in natural resource management.
“Using Indigenous Knowledge to Promote Local Leadership and Sustainable Resource Management in Myanmar”24 Sep
Special Guest Bloggers:
Sheridan Hyland, Program Associate, blue moon fund and Priscilla Clapp, Retired Minister Counselor, U.S. Foreign Service
Former Chief of Mission, U.S. Embassy in Burma, for the blue moon fund
Within the past few years, we have seen the Union of Myanmar, formerly Burma, open itself to the international community and begin a promising reform process. These new changes provide both opportunities and challenges for Myanmar’s development, and one of the most important components for development is water. A significant portion of Myanmar’s population still resides in rural areas, and as a result agriculture accounts for the dominant share of the country’s water usage. The energy sector, however, specifically the hydropower, has been steadily increasing its water usage as Myanmar seeks to expand economic productivity, raise incomes, and alleviate the acute poverty of the majority of the population. With four key rivers as identified by the Government of Myanmar– the Ayeyarwady, Sittoung, Thanlwin, and Bago – as well as numerous important tributaries, Myanmar’s water resources are significant and offer potential solutions to many of the development challenges the country faces, if they are employed wisely and efficiently.
In February 2013 Partnerships for International Strategies in Asia (PISA) collaborated with Yangon based NGO, ALARM, to offer a week long pre-training program for 45 mid-level government officials from Burma’s line ministries with portfolios most likely to be impacted by climate change. The Myanmar Leadership Institute on Climate Change (MLICC) was designed to build capacity at the national level on mainstreaming climate change into development policies. The objective of the pre-training was to introduce the officials to what PISA terms, climate-wise development (CWD). CWD seeks the advancement of the community in tandem with responsible management of natural resources, investment in human capacity, and good governance. This methodology seeks to mitigate the tension inherent in development policies that seek rapid economic gain and the need for longer-term environmental and political stability.