Myanmar’s Greatest Challenge and Asset: Human Capacity

18 Jun

By: San Win, Current PHD candidate in Environmental Technology, King Mongkut’s University of Technology, Thonburi, Thailand

After 18 years (1994 to 2012) of experience in forestry at the Forest Department (FD) in Myanmar, my fortune has been turned into the field of environment’s much broader scope. I decided to serve at the Environmental Conservation Department under the same Ministry of Environmental Conservation. Currently, I work in the field of climate change in terms of negotiation, researching, project formulation, implementation, and awareness raising. It is a very important and interesting field but complicated and filled with uncertainty, arguments, policy negotiations, issues with support and commitments among the policy makers, scientists, researchers, observers, business, multi-medias, and politicians. On the other hand, several scientific findings and natural disasters, under the theoretical frame work of climate change impacts, are alarming us. Humans are increasingly trying to tackle climate change under the umbrella of the UNFCCC since about half a century ago, although challenges remain.

San Win (third row, first on the left) and his classmates at the University of Forestry (formerly the Institute of Forestry). Kyaw Nyein (second row, second from the left) was another participant of MALICC in November 2014. Both graduated in 1994 with a B.Sc in Forestry.

San Win (third row, first on the left) and his classmates at the University of Forestry (formerly the Institute of Forestry). Kyaw Nyein (second row, second from the left) was another participant of MALICC in November 2014. Both graduated in 1994 with a B.Sc in Forestry.

One of Myanmar’s major challenges is human resources and their capacities. I am one of them. Regarding this matter, one of the many climate change trainings and workshops conducted by PISA at The George Washington University during November 2014 was both impressive and effective. Seven government officials and seven representatives from NGOs had an invaluable opportunity to attend a 16 days-long leadership training program: the “Myanmar Advanced Leadership Institute on Climate Change.” It was jointly conducted by PISA and ALARM, Myanmar with financial support of Chino Cienega Foundation, World Wildlife Fund and IMSG, Inc. PISA provided technical and logistical assistance to Myanmar through the sponsored participants. Participants were strengthened by classroom style lectures of academies professors, scientists, experts, technicians; field visits and observations; dialogues with senators/ policy makers, and officials at the Department of United States. Participants realized how the United States’ climate change policy efforts and concerns, the importance of international cooperation, policy negotiation, and initiative technologies. My suggestion is that the Cooperation between Myanmar and PISA should be continued in long run. Myanmar has the potential among world communities to support and power up the global climate change combatting efforts and environmental conservation. This will be done through Myanmar’s vigorous, persistent, and enthusiastic human resources with full capacity.

San Win at the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration’s headquarters during a MALICC site visit.

San Win at the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration’s headquarters during a MALICC site visit.

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