Green technology key to green growth
- The plan for economic and social development in ASEAN countries, including Myanmar, should include a sound environmental policy, because all the money in the world is worth nothing without land that is rich, water that is pure, and an ecosystem that is healthy.
Unfortunately, most ASEAN countries are encountering the consequences of climate change, deterioration of ecosystems, deforestation, endangered species, pollution of air, oceans, rivers, lakes and land and infectious diseases.
A healthy environment and a healthy economy starts with people. It is important to reduce poverty, prevent starvation, eliminate malnutrition, reverse the retardation of growth among children, create job opportunities, provide quality education and healthcare and respond to natural disasters.
To overcome these challenges, investments which take responsibility for conservation of natural resources and which benefit the people are required in Myanmar. A national-level natural environment policy, strategy on main work processes, a national-level policy on climate change, strategy and work processes, a national-level waste management strategy and green economy policy framework should be part of an economic master plan.
In a green economy policy framework, sectors that raise green economy investment are being set and conducted as a priority. The ASEAN region, with a population of more than 630million, is one of the world’s biggest markets and stands as an important pillar in the world trade sector. It is expected to become the principal region in world trade. As a consequence, there will be an increasing demand for natural resources.
The livelihoods of the people in the ASEAN region are still dependent on natural resources, and it is very important to manage and use the natural resources in a sustainable way. Much of the region’s growth has relied on natural resources. Going forward, we should change past practices that have caused deforestation, mudslides and pollution of the land and water.
Myanmar is including green development and climate change matters in national and regional-level sector development processes as well as pledging to implement a 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
In order to achieve these goals, emerging technologies should be embraced to help ensure that future growth is “green”- a win-win for the environment and the economy. These technologies are designed to mitigate or reverse the effects of human activity on the environment.
This includes development of alternative energy, responsible choice of building materials, and methods of production that have the smallest possible impact on the environment. These technologies are affordable, and in many cases eventually pay for themselves.
To reach our target of a green and clean natural environmental policy in the ASEAN region by 2020, we hope that ASEAN member countries and development partner organizations will find ways to discuss the establishment of investment and businesses based on green technology that reduce carbon emissions, eliminates the use and generation of hazardous substances, and advocates the application of green engineering principles.
To achieve this, exchange of information and experiences among ASEAN countries should be increased through the ASEAN Institute for Green Economy (AIGE).