June 06, 2017

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World Environment Day celebrated in Nay Pyi Taw

President U Htin Kyaw addresses the audience at the World Environment Day event held yesterday in Nay Pyi Taw. Photo: MNA

President U Htin Kyaw spoke at a ceremony celebrating World Environment Day yesterday in Nay Pyi Taw, in which he encouraged the country to appreciate and help preserve the beauty of Myanmar, one of the most ecologically diverse countries in the region.
The President’s message was in keeping with this year’s World Environment Day theme, “Connecting People to Nature”.
“In Myanmar, we are fortunate to be blessed with impressive landscapes that extend from the snow-capped mountains in the north, to the southern coastal region of Tanintharyi. The possibilities to enjoy and connect with the natural world are endless and can be found in every corner of our country”, the President said.
“The variety of our ecosystems means that Myanmar is one of the most biologically diverse countries in Asia. This biodiversity is a gift that we must all cherish. Our terrains are home to over 18,000 species of plants, some 1,100 species of birds and almost 300 species of mammals. These include 61 species of plants and 44 species of mammals that are globally classified as endangered or critically endangered species. The species of Golden Deer and six species of bird that are in the global endangered species list can only be found in Myanmar.”
The President said yesterday that Myanmar is committed to preserving and protecting the environment, which includes combatting the effects of global warming. Myanmar is a signatory to the Paris Climate Change Agreement.
“Our government is working to conserve and protect our precious forest lands, natural parks and wildlife sanctuaries, including: Hkakaborazi National Park, Alaungdaw Kathapa National Park, Shwe Set Taw Wildlife Sanctuary, Lampi Marine Park and Inle Biosphere Reserve”, he said.
“But it is not just these protected sites that deserve our attention. Today, all of the earth’s ecosystems are under threat and we must work together to protect them. Myanmar’s many natural forests are being depleted at a rapid rate, meanwhile air quality and fresh water sources are being threatened by pollution. One of the greatest challenges that we face in Myanmar today is the threat of climate change. Globally we are considered to be one of the countries that are most vulnerable to climate change. In recent times, we have experienced an unprecedented increase in temperatures and extreme weather events more than ever before”.
U Htin Kyaw pointed out the destructive effects of major storms that struck the country in 2008 and as recently as seven days ago.
“Only last week, for example, towns and villages in Rakhine State were impacted by the powerful Mora Cyclone, which also caused great devastation in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and north-east India. To this day, many communities in Myanmar are still recovering from the impact of Cyclone Nargis, the worst natural disaster in our country’s history, which occurred less than a decade ago”, he said.
The President said the government’s ability to respond to future threats of climate change is essential to securing sustainable development and economic prosperity throughout the country.
“Our government is pleased to be working towards the adoption of the Myanmar National Climate Change Policy, which was recently formulated in close collaboration with civil society, the private sector and experts from across all fields. We expect to announce the launch of this policy soon, along with the adoption of a new National Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan,” he said.
At yesterday’s event, the winners of article and essay competitions for the World Environment Day were awarded with prizes by the President, Union Minister for Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation U Ohn Win. At the ceremony, eight ministries, seven NGOs, six INGOs and five private organisations staged 42 booths promoting environmental conservation. In attendance with the President were two vice-presidents, union ministers, diplomats and guests.
World Environment Day is a United Nations-led annual event aimed at bringing awareness to the destructive effects of natural resource extraction pollution and the need to protect biodiversity. Yesterday’s ceremony included a video address from the UN Secretary-General Mr Antonio Guterres. World Environment Day began in 1972 and has been celebrated in Myanmar since 1994.
At the conclusion of his speech, the President reiterated his request for the country’s citizens to appreciate the natural beauty of their country.
“I would like to invite each of you here to take forward the call to Connect with Nature. However big or small your action may be, we must remember that we are privileged to live in this world full of great beauty and diversity”, he said.—Myanmar News Agency

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