Financial Performance, National Programme
Myanmar’s draft National REDD+ Strategy was posted for a period of public comment in April–May 2018. Based on feedback, additional consultations on five of the more contentious PAMs have been scheduled, with two already completed in 2018.
A nationally endorsed FRL, including reduced emissions and enhancement of forest carbon stocks, was submitted to UNFCCC for technical assessment in January 2018. Government counterparts were supported to engage in the technical assessment process, and to respond to comments received from UNFCCC in July. The revised FRL document was resubmitted and technically assessed, and ready for uploading to the UNFCCC REDD+ Info Hub by late 2018.
NFI design and sampling approaches have been developed in line with the existing forest inventory grid system at the Forest Management Unit level and harmonized with land attributes for activity data and emission-factor reporting.
A national clarification of the Cancun safeguards has been completed, and an outline for the draft design of the SIS has been developed.
Moreover, two information briefs were produced through the newly created Sustainable Finance coordination group, covering ‘Banking on Forests in Myanmar’ and ‘Exposure to risks posed by unsustainable land use: what can Burmese banks do?’
Revised Phase II national-level institutional structures have been identified for UN-REDD technical assistance. Tanintharyi and Bago were established as the priority states/regions. The matter of how to engage subnational coordination structures has been discussed in consideration of potential REDD+ programmes in Myanmar and ongoing discussions with EAOs.
Challenges and Solutions
The legal framework for forests and environmental conservation is evolving rapidly in Myanmar, with new laws on forestry and on conservation of biodiversity and Protected Areas passed in 2018. Actions to support the subsequent development of by-laws, which were not originally anticipated, have therefore been supported.
Gender and Social Inclusion
To date, women’s participation in Myanmar’s REDD+ Task Force and in technical working groups has been limited (less than 20 per cent) and no explicit gender or women’s empowerment considerations are integrated into the REDD+ Safeguards Road Map (September 2017 version). Acknowledging these gaps in gender mainstreaming, the REDD+ Task Force Secretariat prepared a briefing note on the role of women in REDD+ in Myanmar and how women’s active role in REDD+ can be supported moving forward. These recommendations were presented during the fifth meeting of the task force and options are now being explored to promote women’s active role in REDD+, including through improved institutional arrangements and a focus on capacity-building.
POINT, an indigenous peoples’ organization, and MERN, a national CSO, continue to represent their constituencies on the PEB. Moreover, other national Implementation Plan organizations and CSOs are actively participating through the technical working groups. From December 2017 to April 2018, subnational consultations on the draft National REDD+ Strategy in 12 states and regions, which were outsourced to MERN, obtained feedback from 644 participants (139 women and 505 men).
EAOs are key stakeholders in the Myanmar REDD+ national programme, since significant areas of forest are under their control. Engaging them is a complex task and presents multiple challenges. There are also a significant number of EAOs, meaning that a prioritization process for their engagement is required. The following prioritization criteria for EAO engagement have been identified: have signed the National Ceasefire Agreement; control ‘significant’ amounts of territory; have internal governance structures with which consultation is likely to yield results (e.g. Forest Department or similar).
Linkages to SDGs
The focus on engagement with ethnic minorities is contributing to progress on SDG 16 (Peace, justice and strong institutions) in Myanmar. The National Ceasefire Agreement calls for cooperation between the Union Government and EAOs on environmental conservation, but there have been no examples of such cooperation as yet. Given that REDD+ in Myanmar will operate at the national level, endorsement of specific REDD+ actions by the Union Government and EAOs is essential. REDD+ in Myanmar will also contribute to SDG target 15.2 – By 2020, promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests and substantially increase afforestation and reforestation globally.