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.
Â
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.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 


CNS: Will India's 1 Billion Vaccination-dose-milestone Be Catalytic For Vaccinating All?

On 21 October 2021, India crossed its milestone of administering over 1 billion (100 crores) doses within 278 days since it began the vaccination rollout (on 16th January 2021)... More>>

UN: UNHCR Chief Urges Better Support For 13 Million 'Exhausted' And Displaced Syrians
UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, has urged greater international support for the more than 13 million Syrians who’ve been displaced in the past 10 years...More>>


>UN: Recent Kosovo-Serbia Tensions Could ‘Unravel Steady But Fragile Progress’

Tensions over vehicle licence plates and anti-smuggling operations, between authorities in Kosovo and Serbia, in recent weeks, may contribute to unravelling “steady but fragile progress made in rebuilding trust among communities” in Kosovo and Serbia...
More>>


Focus On: UN SDGs


UN: With Clock Ticking, Sustainable Transport Key To Global Goals
From electric cars and buses to zero-carbon producing energy sources, new and emerging technologies along with innovative policy changes, are critical for combating climate change. But to be effective, they must ensure that transport strategies benefit everyone, including the poorest... More>>


COP26: 7 Climate Action Highlights To Remember

A September to remember, a pivotal month for climate action commitments. From the United Nations General Assembly week to the final pre-COP meeting, last month was an important time to build momentum... More>>


UN: Global Leaders Set To Act To Increase Energy Access While Reducing Emissions At First UN Energy Summit In 40 Years

Significant new commitments for financing clean energy, increasing renewables and improving access to electricity are expected to be announced on 24 September at the UN High-level Dialogue on Energy... More>>