Transboundary Collaboration to Generate Mutual Environmental Gains for China and Myanmar

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Mr. Wan Yong, Deputy Director General, Yunnan Department of Forestry, China delivering opening speech in the meeting.
Photo Credit: Dr. Yi Shaoliang

A Declaration of Participating Institutions was signed by institutional representatives participating in the Workshop on Opportunities for Transboundary Collaboration for Conservation and Development along the Northern Section of the China-Myanmar Border, an event held in Kunming, China, from 12-14 December 2016. The workshop was jointly organized by ICIMOD (HI-LIFE), the Yunnan Department of Forestry, the Kunming Institute of Botany, and the Southeast Asia Biodiversity Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, with support from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation, Myanmar. 

The objectives of the workshop included exploring opportunities and identifying priority areas for transboundary collaboration for conservation and development along the northern section of the China-Myanmar border that includes Kachin state in Myanmar, and Baoshan and Nujiang prefectures of Yunnan province in China.  

Over 50 policy makers, scientists, and protected area managers from China, Myanmar participated in the workshop, including the Deputy Director General (Wan Yong) of the Forestry Department of Yunnan Province, China, and the Director (U Aung Mya) of the Forestry Department of Kachin State, Myanmar. ICIMOD representatives were also in attendance.

Under the facilitation of ICIMOD’s HI-LIFE team, participants from China, and Myanmar shared information on biodiversity conservation, and development statuses from both sides of the border. They discussed key areas that need to be addressed through transboundary collaboration, reviewed their past collaboration experiences and lessons, and identified priority areas for further bilateral collaboration in the area.

In the declaration signed at the end of the workshop, the participating institutions emphasized that cross-border collaboration between different levels and sectors in China, and Myanmar is critical across the transboundary landscape. They also focused on the importance of working out policies and measures in both countries to encourage and facilitate local and regional level collaborations and communication. The agreed on a working group, with representative members from all sides, which will work on preparing a proposal for a programme to promote collaboration in relation to achieving the goals set in the declaration. 

The three-day workshop provided a good platform for policy makers, scientists, and protected area managers from both countries to discuss issues, opportunities, and challenges related to transboundary conservation and development collaboration. The workshop was organized per the request of Chinese partners, and received positive responses from HI-LIFE partners in Myanmar. The participation of senior officials from both countries greatly increased the relevance of the workshop, the topics discussed during different sessions, and respective national commitments to future collaborations.  In the future, HI-LIFE plans to seek similar opportunities to promote Myanmar-India collaboration within the HI-LIFE landscape.