Landmark agreement signed between IUCN and the government of Myanmar in the dawning of a new democratic era

Location: Bangkok, Thailand. 31st Mar 2016

Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, 31 March 2016 — A Host Country Agreement (HCA) to establish an IUCN Office in Myanmar was signed by IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature, and the government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar on the first day of the newly formed government taking office. This lays the foundation for future collaboration on addressing challenges and maximising opportunities related to biodiversity conservation and sustainable development in the country.

With an extraordinarily rich natural heritage and global conservation value, Myanmar is a strategic country in terms of biodiversity conservation. The country is home to 10% of the world's freshwater turtles and tortoises on just over 1% of the world's land area, and at least 250 mammal species and more than 1,000 bird species. Its forests are some of the most extensive and intact in Southeast Asia. 

“IUCN looks forward to being a friend and partner of the new government and the people of Myanmar as they make progress toward building a more inclusive and prosperous future," said Ms. Aban Marker Kabraji, Regional Director, IUCN Asia Regional Office. “We will support the government with a range of activities including environmental policy analysis, protected area management training, and community-based conservation.”  

From a political and development perspective, Myanmar now stands at an important moment in its history - with the establishment of the first civilian government in decades.   

IUCN has been working closely with the government of Myanmar since 2013. In 2014, Myanmar joined Mangroves for the Future (MFF) as the 11th member country. MFF's work in Myanmar is overseen by the National Coordinating Body (NCB), which is chaired by the Director General of the Forest Department. While consolidating the NCB as the central committee for marine and coastal affairs, the NCB will address priority policy issues including sustainable mangrove use and management, Marine Protected Area (MPA) design, and protecting near-shore fisheries for small scale fishers.  

Most recently, IUCN assisted the Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry (MOECAF) with the preparation of a revised National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) for 2015-20. IUCN has also been involved in conducting research on the corals and marine resources in the Myeik Archipelago. Results of the research helped form the basis of a conservation strategy for the archipelago that also includes a scientifically designed MPA system.   

In collaboration with project partners HELVETAS and Network Activities Group (NAG), IUCN is supporting the regional governments of Bago and Mon with the designation of the Gulf of Mottoma as a Ramsar site- wetlands of international importance designated under the Ramsar Convention. This will provide an opportunity to improve the livelihoods of tens of thousands of small scale fisheries in the Gulf and to conserve a globally unique ecosystem.    

In the coming months, IUCN will also help prepare a full proposal, in collaboration with MOECAF and other stakeholders, for the Myanmar component of a USD$3 million forest restoration project funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF).   

“We will continue to include Myanmar in as many of our projects and programmes as possible. We also strongly encourage Myanmar to join IUCN as a State member. This will provide the government significant benefits in terms of access to technical assistance, project financing, and global visibility and influence,” said Mr. Jake Brunner, Deputy Head, South East Asia Group for IUCN.  

Held at the Forest Department, MOECAF, the signing ceremony was attended by representatives of IUCN and government agencies. The HCA was signed by Dr. Nyi Nyi Kyaw, Director General of the Forest Department, and Ms Aban Marker Kabraji, Regional Director for IUCN Asia.     


For more information or to set up interviews, please contact:   Ann Moey, Regional Communications Manager, IUCN Asia Regional Office; m: +66 92 259 8035;  tel: +66 2 662 4029 (ext 157), email:   Shreeya Joshi, Communications Assistant, IUCN Asia Regional Office; m: +66 62 841 1577; email:  


Dr Nyi Nyi Kyaw, Director General of the Forest Department and Ms Aban Marker Kabraji, Regional Director of IUCN Asia

Dr Nyi Nyi Kyaw, Director General of the Forest Department a ... © IUCN Asia