By Lun Ming Mang
Yangon, Myanmar, November 15, 2017
Myanmar is seeking financial and technical assistance from international donors and technology institutions for losses and damages the country suffered due to climate change.
Myanmar officials made an appeal at the Conference of Parties (COP23) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Bonn, Germany, held from November 6 to 17.
Along with Haiti and Honduras, Myanmar ranks highest in the Global Climate Risk Index 2018 report based on the most recent data available – from 1997 to 2016 – which was released this month.
Being among the Least Developed Countries (LDC), Myanmar seeks fund for adaptation as well as climate change mitigation. In 2007, Cyclone Nargis caused devastating damages to Myanmar, resulting in an estimated 140,000 deceased and 2 million homeless.
Myanmar’s loss amounted to 3.1 percent of its GDP for the 2014-2015 financial years.
U Hla Maung Thein, head of Myanmar delegation – comprising officials from six ministries – said that they are currently negotiating for assistance with international funding institutions as well as technological institutes.
He said his team currently engages in talks with the Green Climate Fund (GCF), a global fund to support developing nations in their efforts to tackle climate change. A US$300,000 grant has been approved last week by the fund for two projects: capacity building for Nationally Designated Authority and for the drafting of projects to be submitted to the GCF.
The country also seeks funding for the implementation of a national adaptation plan, a long-term program aiming to increase resilience in dealing with the effects of climate change in the country, according to U Hla Maung Thein.
He said his plea for assistance would be discussed in detail on Monday (November 13) with the GCF.
“We are preparing to apply for a project for coastal regions, which are the most impacted by climate change. We hope that we can apply for this project as early as 2018,” said U Hla Maung Thein.
In addition, talks with GCF officials would also contain projects involving the Myanmar’s private sector in adaptation and mitigation efforts, to reduce factors causing climate change.
“For instance, they can assist with the development of mini-hydro power infrastructure, waste treatment plant and ways to tackle the issue of sea-level rise for agriculture,” he said.
Aside from financial assistance, the Myanmar delegation head had a bilateral meeting last week with the director general of Green Technology Center (GTC), a South Korea-based technological organisation, to draft a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for technology need assessment.
GTC is a member of the Climate Technology Center and Network formed under the Paris Agreement.
“We need technology needs assessment that will analyse what are the areas that we should prioritise. When we know what our priorities are, we can draft proposals for financing and technology assistance to organisations like GTC and GCF,” U Hla Maung Thein said.
Technical need assessment is expected to take place over six months at least.
Myanmar’s current priority with regard to climate change concerns coastal regions that stretched from Thahnintharyi and Ayeyarwady regions to Rakhine state, over nearly 2,000 km.
Of the three states, Rakhine and Ayeyarwady are most vulnerable and suffer the greatest damages from natural disasters.
For Thahnintharyi region, three projects have been approved on October 30 by the Global Environment Facility this year.
“They [the approved projects] are for the adaptation of the fishery sector, biodiversity and renewable energy that amount to US $ 5 million,” the director general said.
Seven other projects are being listed for application at the GCF. The GEF has also pledged to provide US $30 million for eight projects, U Hla Maung Thein said.
According to the Global Climate Risk Index 2018 report, less developed countries including Myanmar are more affected than industrialized countries.
During the COP23, nations are expected to continue the development of ‘rule-book’ for the implementation of the 2015 Paris Agreement with the inclusion of global adaptation goal and adaptation communication guidelines, it said.