World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Restoring natural habitats in Myanmar a priority

Restoring natural habitats in Myanmar a reconstruction priority, says IUCN

Gland, Switzerland, May 23, 2008 (IUCN) – IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) offers to share its broad environmental experience to help with the reconstruction efforts in Myanmar. A vital long-term environmental need is to restore coastal ecosystems, following the catastrophic damage caused by the recent cyclone.

“While we, like the rest of the world, are worried about the pace of the relief effort, we also believe we have to take a longer view as the planning for reconstruction starts.” says Julia Marton-Lefèvre, Director General of IUCN. “We believe that restoring healthy ecosystems, particularly mangroves, should be on top of the reconstruction priority list.”

Flooding in open Delta flood plains is inevitable, but the buffering effect of healthy ecosystems disappears when natural barriers such as mangroves, lagoons, coral reefs, beaches and strand forests are destroyed or degraded.
In order to avoid further problems later on, special attention should also be paid to environmental issues in the immediate relief phase, as disposal of debris and waste resulting from infrastructure reconstruction efforts can lead to more difficult and costly longer term environmental restoration. By approaching the reconstruction with due consideration for the natural environment, disasters such as this can be better mitigated in the future. IUCN strongly believes that restoring mangroves and other coastal ecosystems is an important investment to make for the future.

“Destruction of coastal systems, especially mangrove forests in Myanmar, left coastal areas exposed to the devastating force of the cyclone,” says Aban Kabraji, IUCN’s Regional Director for Asia . “Especially in river deltas, mangroves prevent waves from damaging the more productive land that are further inland from the sea. Restoring mangroves should be a priority for all involved."

IUCN and UNDP are lead partners in the regional Mangroves for the Future (MFF) initiative which promotes investment in coastal ecosystems to protect people when natural disasters strike and to ensure sustainable use of coastal resources in normal times. In addition, the Mangroves for the Future initiative, created in response to the 2004 tsunami, has already established a forum for dialogue among several coastal countries of the Indian Ocean. This network could be vital to supporting the longer term restoration and reconstruction efforts in Myanmar.

“Climate change and habitat destruction are making natural phenomena like cyclones and floods more frequent and severe,” says Marcia Kran, Head of Policy and Programmes, UNDP Regional Centre in Bangkok. “To avoid the catastrophic loss of lives and livelihoods we have witnessed in Myanmar, it is crucial that we restore and protect the coastal ecosystems that act as a natural barriers when tidal waves strike; healthy coastal ecosystems also provide other valuable goods and services essential to sustain livelihoods.”

UNDP has requested IUCN to advise on the rehabilitation of damaged coastal areas, and to provide guidance on environmental safeguards for post-disaster relief operations, in Myanmar. Working through the UN system, IUCN and UNDP in their capacity as MFF co-chairs together with the other MFF partners, bring a wealth of knowledge from the post-tsunami experience in addressing coastal ecosystem restoration needs, particularly with respect to the role of mangroves in providing buffers to future natural disasters.

IUCN is fully aware that the first priority must be to get emergency help to those still in need. Once this is done, however, the government and international aid agencies should give priority to restoring healthy mangroves forests in the Irrawaddy Delta. Investing in coastal ecosystems is fundamental to sustainable socio-economic development in the region, besides reducing the vulnerability of coastal people to extreme events such as cyclones.


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>


Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>


  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC