Forests Asia Summit 2014 – U Win Tun, Day 1 Plenary Speech

Watch U Win Tun, Union Minister of Environment Conservation and Forestry, Myanmar, give a plenary speech on the first day of the Forests Asia Summit 2014.

Monday, 5 May 2014.

Forests Asia Summit, 5-6 May 2014, Jakarta, #ForestsAsia

U Win Tun’s speech:

Excellencies, ministers, Doctor Peter Holmgren, DG of CIFOR, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen. A very good morning. It is the most delightful moment for me, for having this most wonderful opportunity to be here in Jakarta – the beautiful capital city of the Republic of Indonesia. Indeed, I am very much proud of myself to be able to join all of you at this very special occasion of the Forests Asia summit of 2014. Together we successfully held for the first time in the Asian continent. For having this wonderful opportunity to visit the great country of Indonesia and the people, let me express my sincere gratitude to the government of Indonesia. Particularly to his excellency Mr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, President of the Republic of Indonesia, for his kind permission and guidance to convene the summit. And his excellency, Mr. Zulkifli Hasan, Minister of the Ministry of Forestry, for kindly extending an invitation to me to attend this very important summit, and giving me an opportunity to talk.  I would also like to thank Dr. Peter Holmgren, Director General of CIFOR, and his staff, for all of the excellent arrangement provided to my delegation.

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, before I begin my plenary speech, I would like to extend my warmest greeting to you all. I would also like to express my sincere wish to you all to be in physical and spiritual well-being on this very remarkable day. On behalf of the government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, and on my own behalf, I would also like to express my deep honor and pleasure to share my views and issues, and challenges related to environment and development.

As we are a global community, appraising at the special occasion of the Forests Asia summit 2014, and all of the meaningful themes of sustainable landscapes for green growth in Southeast Asia. Furthermore I would also like to say that today this summit reflects our regional community’s strong interest to promote forestry cooperation in order to solve environmental issues such as global warming and climate change, deforestation, desertification and land degradation, and drought, loss of biodiversity and poverty.

In this very broad context, I am hoping that this summit will provide the impetuous to us so that our Asian region will be able to move forward in the implementation of cooperative and partnership programmings pertaining to forestry, as well as green growth in Southeast Asia. Therefore, I am very much hopeful that the Forests Asia summit 2014 will be able to develop variant synergies and ideas to be materialized in the regional cooperation in the years to come.

At this juncture I would like to comment to those who are developed – wish them to conveying this summit, because I honestly see that this summit will also serve as the symbol again of our long term cooperation and our commitments toward implementing sustainable forest management. As well as the further straining to achieve the common goal of sustainable development through policy innovation and invention of modus operandi that will accelerate the implementation of low carbon technologies such as the use of 3R, reduce, reuse, and recycle. And efficient use of natural resources for green growth.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, the common goal is to achieve sustainable development, which refers to securing the planet’s availability of natural resources for the present and future generations. So far, two earth summits have been held, in 1992 and 2012, at Rio De Janeiro. They talked of guidelines for our planet’s sustainability.

The green economy is one of the paramount important tools for achieving sustainable development, because the green economy – green growth – in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication, is one of the two main discussion areas in Rio+20, in the year 2012. In this regard, efficient use of natural resources is paramount important factor of green economy, green growth, because it will enhance our ability to manage natural resources sustainability.

Also reduce negative environmental impacts, increase resource efficiency, and reduce waste. At present, the whole population is seven billion, and it is predicated that it will reach to nine billion by the year 2050. Obviously, the rise in population will have undesirable impacts to use the natural resources, particularly our critical forests and plant genetic resources as well.

Here, I would like to highlight the critical role of environmentally sound technology – research and development, technological transfer to developing countries, and technological innovation, including in support of green growth in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication. Besides, I would like to see the importance of linking financing technology, capacity building, and national needs for sustainable development.

Nowadays, achieving our common goal of sustainable development has been the greatest challenge to our mankind, particularly to the governments. The key issue here is now governments and financial institutions will set policies we can facilitate and encourage green economic opportunities, and green innovation, and green growth in Southeast Asia.

The overarching challenge is to create enabling policies to help scale up the existing solutions, and to promote innovation for future enhancements. In this regard I would like to say that individual countries cannot overcome the interconnected problems, such as extreme poverty, drought and hunger, development gaps between the poor and the rich countries, economic instability, social inequality, and environmental degradation and so on.

We all know that it is vital to continue effective international cooperation so that we realize full achievement of the development goals, while maintaining the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities as the foundation of the current and future global development efforts.

Here I would like to emphasize the key role of forests in seeking development, because forests not only give us environmental and protection functions, but also provide numerous ecosystem services, and therefore we have to protect and conserve forests to our utmost priority. It is also very important to position forests and landscapes at the core of ongoing policy-making processes in the region related to green growth, poverty eradication, sustainable land use, climate change mitigation and adaptation, food security and nutrition, and the achievement of the ASEAN community 2015.

Moreover, highlighting the role sustainable landscapes can lead to the achieve our hope for environmental sustainability, equitable economic development, in an economically competitive and ecologically dynamic region. And to narrow down the development gaps among ASEAN member states.

Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, while I have this opportunity I would like to share with you the progress made in Myanmar, politically, economically, and socially.

Here, probably, you may have witnessed yourselves, Myanmar is now under the progress of transition and democratic nation, and transformation economic modernities that we pave the way to construct the democratic and developed country. Now we are actively working with the world’s communities to achieve the socio-economic development while conserving the environment and changing the economy from brown to green economic development.

Similarly, significant progress in the areas of peacemaking processes, educational and agricultural development, land use settlement, diplomatic ties with the other countries, forest and environmental conservation, and rural development have been achieved. In these regards I would like to share with you our happiness of receiving positive reflections and growing recognitions on our political, social, and economic development by the international communities.

Promulgating of environmental conservation law in 2012, development of EIE and SIE guidance, exercising log export bans, strengthening sustainable forest management, expanding protected area networks, forest law enforcement, governance, and trade and extractive industry transparency initiative (EITI) are significant efforts to make balance between development and environment for green growth. We also initiated reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) in 2011, as a part of our efforts to reduce deforestation rates, strengthen sustainable forest management and enhance forest ecosystem services. REDD+ readiness program was to develop in June 2013, and implementation of REDD+ program is in progress.

Myanmar is a signatory to many international conventions, agreements, and treaties, including UNFCCC, UNCBD, UNCCD, and the Kyoto protocol. It reflects that the government of Myanmar is fully committed to climate change mitigation, sustainable forest management, restoration of degraded forest ecosystems, biodiversity conservation, converting desertification and rural development activities.

Accordingly, these activities are being implemented as they are high on our development agenda of green growth. With regards to conservation of natural resources, including forests and wildlife, Myanmar forest policy, the forest law and the protection of wildlife and wild plants, and the conservation of natural areas law are in place, and are being exercised as a legal framework all over the country. Besides, environmental conservation law was also enacted in 2012, in order to regulate issues related to environment. Likewise, demand is a biodiversity strategy and action plan, and VSAT was formulated in 2011. And this framework is also comprehensive that it serves as a guiding document for biodiversity conservation, natural resources management, and the sustainable utilization.

Within this context, we have been trying our best to manage our forest resources on the sustainable basis for improved humanity and social equity by reducing environmental vulnerabilities and associated links. I am hoping that this summit will be able to improve, provide a platform for ASEAN countries to engage in bilateral and multilateral changes with their global counterparts, business executives, civil societies, and development partners in the pursuit of new green growth pathway for development in the region.

For an environmentally sustainable future, we need to value our natural resources and ecosystem services to better inform policy and decision making, especially since the ASEAN region is a hot spot of unique biodiversity and ecosystems.

Myanmar firmly believes the green growth initiative in Southeast Asia will contribute to poverty eradication as well as to sustainable economic growth, enhancing social inclusion, improving human welfare, and creating opportunities for employment and decent work for all – while maintaining the healthy functioning of the earth ecosystems.

Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, according to the summit agenda, I have learned that there will be a panel discussion on green growth in Southeast Asia. Within this broad context I am convinced, and also encouraged, that after my intervention there will be a panel section. And for this important section, experts from various fields of study are here with us, and they will be contributing to the environmental protection, governance, sustainable resource management, and the development of sustainable landscapes or green growth in the ASEAN region.

Lastly, but not the least, I would like to express my profound appreciation and gratitude to all the organizers, partners, international organizations, speakers, and participants for their tremendous effort to successfully hold on this summit. I firmly believe that we will be able to achieve results-oriented outcomes at the end of the summit. I look forward to work together with you all in the future. I wish you all in the Forests Asia summit 2014 with very success. Thank you very much.