ICIMOD supports Myanmar in drafting REDD+ Action Plan for Shan State

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Myanmar has the largest remaining forest area in Southeast Asia, with 44% of its land classified as forest, but it also has the world’s third highest deforestation rate. Large scale deforestation is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) is a mechanism that gives financial incentives to developing countries to reduce deforestation and forest degradation and promote forest conservation and sustainable management.

Countries seeking funds from the REDD+ programme need to develop a National REDD+ Strategy or Action Plan. The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), through its regional REDD+ Initiative, is helping the Forest Research Institute (FRI) prepare a National REDD+ Strategy for Myanmar. Shan State is currently drafting its State REDD+ Action Plan (SRAP).

Officials from Forest Research Institute (FRI), Myanmar with REDD+ experts at ICIMOD
Photo: Jitendra Bajracharya/ICIMOD

A team of six young forestry officials from FRI, Myanmar were at ICIMOD during 4–8 June 2018 to draft the SRAP for Shan State with technical support from ICIMOD experts. 

During the presentation of the draft SRAP, David Molden, Director General of ICIMOD said that when working with forest dependent communities, programmes should also be able to provide them alternative livelihoods options. “For example, alternatives to shifting cultivation could be horticulture, tourism, or even transforming subsistence agriculture into market oriented agriculture,” he said. Molden said that he was impressed with the systematic work done by young researchers from FRI to develop a plan that addresses the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation. He said that shifting cultivation is an interesting area for ICIMOD to look into, and that the work done by REDD+ can be linked to the work of ICIMOD’s Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Centre for the HKH (REEECH).

A representative from FRI, Myanmar presents the draft State REDD+ Action Plan (SRAP) for Shan State to ICIMOD colleagues. 
Photo: Jitendra Bajracharya/ICIMOD

Bhaskar Singh Karky, Programme Coordinator of the Regional REDD+ Initiative at ICIMOD, said that the objective of the SRAP drafting exercise was to develop an intervention that addresses deforestation and forest degradation, and removes bottlenecks that obstruct forest enhancement and sustainable management. “The difference between existing forestry plans and the REDD+ action plan is that the former only looks at the forestry sector while the latter encompasses all the drivers and bottlenecks that stem from sectors outside of forests,” he said. “Most REDD+ drivers are actually outside of the forestry sector. Therefore, the solutions that address the drivers and bottlenecks are also outside the forestry sector,” he added. The Shan State SRAP has identified solutions in the form of doable interventions.

An official from FRI points to the location of Shan state in Myanmar, where this SRAP will be implemented.
Photo: Jitendra Bajracharya/ICIMOD

The SRAP drafting process adopted a multi-stakeholder approach and followed the theory of change paradigm governed by a systematic impact pathway logic. The next step is to identify and allocate resources for each activity mentioned in the intervention package. This document provides a good basis for drafting proposals to secure further funding for REDD+ work in Shan State for the Forest Department in Myanmar.