World Environment Day celebrated in Nay Pyi Taw

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Nay Pyi Taw, June 5

The killing and smuggling of animals is undermining economies and ecosystems, fuelling organised crime and feeding corruption and insecurity across the globe, said President U Htin Kyaw in his opening speech at the commemoration of World Environment Day in Nay Pyi Taw, whose theme was “Zero Tolerance for the Illegal Wildlife Trade”.

He also called for action to protect resources and ecosystems, ensuring sustainable development for future generations and investment in alternative technologies to save the environment and biodiversity. “Environmental issues must be embedded in our development policies,” said the president. Myanmar joined the international community in celebrating World Environment Day, which aims to raise public awareness of the need to preserve the environment, to understand environmental issues and challenges and highlight awareness of the illegal wildlife trade.

As part of the country’s efforts to promote sustainable development, including the protection and preservation of wildlife, Myanmar will formulate a national environmental policy and strategic framework and a master plan in collaboration with the UNDP; a national climate change strategy and action plan with UNEP, UN-Habitat and the EU; a green economy policy and strategic framework with the World Wildlife Fund; National and city-level waste management strategies and action plans with UNEP and the Institute for Global Environmental Strategy; and a hazardous waste management master plan with the National Environmental Agency of Norway.

President U Htin Kyaw also pledged to step up the country’s national strategies and to put effort into the safeguarding the environment, urging the people to understand the damage the illicit business is doing to the environment, livelihoods, communities and security.

“More awareness and action pushes governments and international bodies to introduce and enforce tougher laws and to combat those still willing to break them,” said the president. Up to 2015, 36 wildlife sanctuaries have been established on 5.6 per cent of the country’s land area.

Meanwhile, plans are underway to establish nine more sanctuaries in the country, which has seven ASEAN heritage parks. Myanmar had taken action against 189 cases of illicit trading of wildlife and endangered species of plants from 2010 to March 2016.

He called on governments, non-governmental organisations, the business community and private citizens to participate in the implementation tasks preserve all life on earth to ensure that succeeding generations have a prosperous future. In his speech, the president also remarked on the global wildlife trade, saying over 1,000 rhinos and 35,000 African elephants are poached for horns and ivory every year, chimpanzees are fast disappearing, 3,000 bears are lost annually.

The illegal wildlife trade is a US$20 billion industry that now ranks number four in the global illegal trade, after narcotic drugs, weapons and human trafficking.