GEGG4 President Opening Address

Delivered by H. E. U Thein Sein, President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar
At the 4 th Green Economy Green Growth Forum “Expanding Cooperation & Deepening Integration For Sustainable Natural Resources, Social & Economic Development”
Nay Pyi Taw, 3 February 2015

Vice-Presidents, Union Ministers, Representatives from the United Nations, Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good Morning!
First and foremost, allow me to extend my warmest greetings to you all.

The Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar behalf, I would like to express my very sincere thanks and deep honour to the distinguished guests for sharing your precious time and contributing to 4th Green Economy Green Growth Forum.

I am very pleased to deliver an inaugural speech on this special occasion under the meaningful theme of, “Expanding Cooperation & Deepening Integration for Sustainable Natural Resources, Social & Economic Development”. This theme is very much encouraging and also very meaningful covering measures to be done without fail to bring green economy into existence through cooperation and collaboration among relevant organizations.

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Co-existence with cooperative and collaborative mind has power for development. In nature, for example, a strong and healthy forest composes diverse tree species which can stand with natural disaster, tree-disease and insects. Similarly, a stronger society has diverse technocrats with integrated mind and they can overcome different social, economic and environmental challenges. This is more apparent in today’s world as new challenges; particularly in environmental areas in recent time are more frequent and stronger than ever before.

There are many different people with different belief, race, customs and knowledge and backgrounds in a society. These people, by combining their ability in a cooperative mind with deeper integration, can overcome present and new challenges. This will sustain our society in long term.

To work together for the sustainability of our natural resources, and to enhance socio-economic development, we must have a broader mind and we must have a deeper integration.

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am pleased to mention that GEGG (Myanmar) has been formed as a non-profit organization for the development of green economy in cooperation with civil societies, international organizations and government ministries.

With the generous and continuous supports enormous efforts of GEGG (Myanmar), we have achieved a big success in 2014. That is, at the 25th ASEAN Summit held in Nay Pyi Taw at the end of 2014, we could have launched the ASEAN Institute for Green Economy (AIGE) in Myanmar to spur collaboration in sustainable development and greening the regional economy: “Moving Forward in Unity to a Peaceful and Prosperous Community”.

We look forward to the AIGE to serve as a centre of excellence on Green Economy, being responsive to regional environmental, climate and economic issues, and contributing to building capacity, fostering research, catalyzing and facilitating green technologies, improving management practices and promoting national and international cooperation.

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Taking this opportunity, I would like to express my heart-felt thanks to their Majesty King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway who inaugurated and unveiled the two marble plaques of the Centre of Excellent for Greening (CoE-G) and AIGE during their state visit to Myanmar.

The GEGG Forums, we have been holding annually, provide policy and strategy inputs and it would be a facility for supporting and enabling implementing practices. Besides, the forums provide a professional and objective process to increase awareness on critical determinants for promoting and accelerating green growth and sustainable development policies & strategies and developing human resources for science, technology & management practices.

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Now, I would like to briefly say about the sustainability of natural resources which is vital to our survival. As you all aware that our globe has a limited amount of natural resources, that we harvest, process and utilize for our benefit and the resources will be gone if we are not managed well and used judiciously. The common goal of our world 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 in Brazil and adopted guidelines for our planet sustainability. 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 discussing areas in Rio+20 in the year 2012.

Referring to the outcome of the Rio+20, the Government of Myanmar has given guidelines to respective organizations and ministries to follow low carbon economy in seeking development in their respective sectors.

Particularly, we have been paying attention on in the areas of energy efficiency and renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, fisheries and livestock, forests, biodiversity, water resources and ecosystem, systematic land use management, disaster risk reduction, sustainable green cities, hazardous waste management, conservation of oceans, seas and coastal areas and environmentally sound technology.

In order to implement these tasks successfully, Myanmar has formulated policies, legislations and action plans as necessary. For example, National Energy Policy and National Water Policy have been issued and Land Use Policy has been drafted. Furthermore, Environmental Conservation Law and Disaster Management Law were promulgated.

Similarly, EIA procedures and Environmental Quality Standard are being prepared in cooperation with international organizations. National Biodiversity Strategic Action Plan (NBSAP) and Myanmar Action Plan on Disaster Risk Reduction (MAPDRR) are also being implemented.

Myanmar also became a candidate country of Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) in July 2014 and thus we have been trying our best to utilize the natural resources effectively and transparently in line with international standards.

Nowadays, achieving our common goal of sustainable development has been the greatest challenge mainly for changes in climate, rapid population, and unprecedented natural resources declining to our mankind particularly to the governments.

The world population has also been growing and it is predicted that there will be 9 billion by the year 2050. The rise in population has significant impact to the use of natural resources. Due to the ever increasing population and the past developmental trend of, “Growth first, Clean up later”, we global communities, are now facing with more frequent natural disasters.

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

As you are aware, the Millennium Development Goals Report (2014) stated that global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) continued their upward trend and those in 2011 were almost 50 percent above their 1990 level. Millions of hectares of forests are lost every year, many species are being driven closer to extinction and renewable water resources are becoming scarcer. Therefore, the resource-intensive growth pattern is no longer option for sustainable development and today is calling for a re-examination of resource- and carbon-intensive growth strategies.

We need to drastically improve the efficiency of using natural capital, and our economies need to become ecologically efficient. In order to so, the Green Growth approach is a new policy focus which is to achieve real progress towards sustainable development and poverty reduction.

Within this context, I would like to emphasize that international cooperation and integration take on added significance and importance in the light of recent trends in the globalization and interdependence of the world economy.

There is an urgent need to scaling up and deepening international cooperation and integration with new and innovative forms of cooperation with a view to enabling humankind to face the challenges posed by the development of rural and urban areas.

There is a need for the political interest to integrate the environmental conservation into all development activities. Here, I would like to say that technical assistance and human resource development are considered as a priority rather than financial support.

In this connection, I am pleased to say that Myanmar is entering the demographic window which is period of time of a nation having the proportion of working age group is particularly prominent. Taking this advantage, capacity development of human resources need to be carried and speeding up the green economy green growth.

Innovative approaches and frameworks for deepening international cooperation should be developed through the active participation of all levels of stakeholders as well as cooperation and coordination between and among countries, multilateral and bilateral assistance agencies, international financial institutions, international organizations, and various organs and bodies of the United Nations system.

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

This Forum is organized in collaboration with Ministries of the Union of Myanmar and supported by international organizations; UNDP; Norway; Sweden; Japan and Smithsonian Institution. We thank those institutions for their earnest supports.

In conclusion, I am convinced that each and every organization, both government and non-government, will integrate environmental conservation into their social and economic developmental activities.

Similarly, I do hope all of our people will have a better understanding to the importance of environmental conservation for present and future social and economic development.

With this, I would like to urge all of you to extend our cooperation and coordination for promoting green economy green growth in order to achieve sustainable development.

Thank You

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