Myanmar wetlands need protection

NAY PYI TAW, 9 September 2015: Myanmar authorities will file a nomination for a section of the Gulf of Mottama for designation as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention rules.

The topic was discussed at a Ramsar Convention workshop, Monday, in Nay Pyi Taw, according to the Global New Light of Myanmar report.

The Biodiversity and Nature Conservation Association has been seeking the designation of the Gulf of Mottama as a Ramsar site since 2008.

Myanmar’s only Ramsar site is Moeyungyi Wetland Wildlife Sanctuary, situated in Bago Region, about two hours north of Yangon. It was listed in 2004, again after lobbying by BANCA.

inside no 4The Gulf of Mottama in the Mon State is home to at least half of the world’s population of spoon-billed sandpipers.

Union Minister for Environmental Conservation and Forestry, U Win Tun, said Myanmar is failing to conserve its wetlands as effectively as other countries in the region.

The Ramsar Convention came into force in Myanmar in March 2005, however,  funding  wetland resources remains a challenge, the union minister said.

Wetlands are important for the survival of human beings because they provide fish and other natural resources, while providing marine creatures with habitats and protecting coastal areas from storms and floods, the minister pointed out.

“We need to work harder to conserve wetlands in order to promote economic development and prevent natural disasters.”

There are 99 recorded wetland sites in Myanmar, according to a 2003 study conducted by the Wild Birds Society of Japan and the Department of Forestry.

The Convention on Wetland, known as the Ramsar Convention is an inter-governmental treaty that encourages member countries to maintain the ecological character of their wetlands regions.

Apart from their role of protecting coastal regions fromm storms, they have potential value for tourism activities for specialised groups interested in environment-related studies and nature.