Myanmar launches plan to conserve Inle Lake


Intha, people of the Inle Lake (also know as Inlay Lake) fishing in Inlay Lake, Nyaungshwe Township, Taunggyi, Shan Sate, Myanmar, 08 December 2014. Photo: Nyein Chan Naing/EPA

The Myanmar government launched two conservation plans, a five-year planand a long-term plan, on Tuesday for Inle Lake, which was recently designated as a UNESCO biosphere reserve.

The Inle Lake biosphere reserve is located in Taunggyi Township, southern Shan State. It is an important staging point for migratory birds and home to many rare species. However, the condition of the lake has deteriorated due to the use of artificial fertilizers and pesticide, deforestation and climate change.

The 30-page five-year action plan addresses sustainable agriculture and tourism, restoration of forest in watershed areas, soil erosion controls, and improvement of resident’s livelihood as a priority issue.

According to the plan, the Inle Lake Authority and Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry plan to finalize the financial and implementation arrangements with their partners by the end of this year and start priority projects from January 2016 with a proposed budget of 32 million US dollars.

The 130-page long-term plan provides details of conservation activities and alternatives for an initial period of ten years including soil-retaining measures in shifting cultivation areas, systematic solid waste management, and protection of indigenous fish species.

A consultation workshop attended by over 100 guests from government departments, non-governmental organizations and local community-based groups followed the launching ceremony.

One of the participants suggested implementing a local policy or law to manage the sedimentation of the lake. “Dividing the zones would not be effective unless we tackle the source of the sediment. I suggest the Shan state authority implement a local rule which says exactly what kind of plants to grow on what type of slope. Then we will be able to control sedimentation and at the same time farm” said the participant.

Poverty and lack of information are the main causes of bio-degradation, U Win Naing Thaw, director of the Nature and Wildlife Conservation Division, said. “Therefore, we encourage local society, civil society organizations, and community-based organizations to educate local people about the concept of bio-diversity,” he said.

With financial support from the Norwegian government, various UN agencies including the UN Human Settlements Program, UNESCO, and the UNDP have provided technical support for the Myanmar government to get through the nomination process for Inle Lake to be a UNESCO reserve and have created and launched the conservation plan, according to a statement released at the consultation workshop.

This story was updated on the 11 July.

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