Yearly Archives: 2018

/2018

ICEM hosts session at Annual Greater Mekong Forum on Water, Food and Energy in Yangon

Yangon, Myanmar – 6th December 2018

On the 4-6th of December 2018, the Inya Lake Hotel in Yangon hosted the 6th annual Greater Mekong Forum on Water, Food and Energy. This year, around 30 organizations held sessions on a diverse range of topics, from smart innovations for better decision making in Deltas from the Delft University of Technology, Improving Forest-Fungi Systems Agroforestry from the Kunming Institute of Botany, to cross-border water cooperation through sub-national and community-led initiatives in the Ganges and Mekong basins from Oxfam.

Hydropower was a recurring theme – from Oxfam’s session about civil society perspectives of the Strategic Environmental Assessment of Hydropower in Myanmar to a session from Spectrum SDKN about Gender and Resettlement at the Upper Paunglaung Relocation Villages in Myanmar.

This year, ICEM hosted a session under the sub-theme ‘innovative water governance’ on the role of environmental assessment tools in achieving sustainability and resilience in river basin development. Three studies were presented: the SEA of hydropower in Myanmar, SEA of the Lancang-Mekong river development plan, and the ESIA of river training works on the Ayeyarwady, downstream of Mandalay and a panel debate with three regional experts. The presentations aimed to answer three key questions: what lessons can be drawn from these studies to guide future SEA/ESIAs, what are the outstanding issues for resolution and concern, and what are some priority developments which would benefit from these assessment tools. There was great audience participation and enthusiastic discussion, with a key takeaway being the need for greater, and meaningful participation of local people.

ICEM also presented case studies of climate change impact and vulnerability at seven wetland sites on the Mekong at the ‘ShareFair’ poster exhibition space. The case studies are part of the “Basin-wide Climate […]

Myanmar hydropower SEA Final Report released

Yangon, Myanmar – November 28th, 2018 Final Report of the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of the hydropower sector in Myanmar is now available.  Myanmar currently has the lowest rate of electrification in Southeast Asia, with only 40% of the population supplied. Hydropower has huge potential to address this demand. However, conventional hydropower development is the region has often been carried out without due consideration for cumulative effects on basin health, ecosystem services and local communities. Accordingly, the SEA of the hydropower sector in Myanmar has sought to provide a Sustainable Development Framework for hydropower in each of Myanmar’s major river basins to balance economic development with healthy river functioning and social equity “over the next century and beyond.” This report – the culmination of work which has been ongoing since 2016, outlines significant environmental and social issues, analyses sustainability requirements for each major basin in Myanmar, and provides a Sustainable Development Framework implementation plan with practical recommendations for hydropower policy, design, planning, siting, implementation and management. Read the full report now  The overall SEA was carried out by ICEM and the Myanmar Institute for Integrated Development, and the Final Report prepared by IFC. The SEA was led by Myanmar’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation (MONREC) and Ministry of Electricity and Energy (MOEE), with support from Australian Aid and IFC.For more information, visit the SEA of the Hydropower Sector in Myanmar project page Read 10 things you should know about the Myanmar hydropower SEA Read […]

Youth and climate change conference: “the challenge is today, which solutions for tomorrow?”

Hanoi, Vietnam – 3rd November, 2018

Vietnam is one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change impacts. Building resilience to climate change is, therefore, an urgent task and a major challenge for maintaining the country’s economic growth in the short term and for improving quality of life for all in the long term. Despite that fact, there is still some ambiguity around what ‘resilience’ means in policy and practice.

In order to build a better understanding of resilience among young people and to support Vietnam government’s efforts in building climate resilience, this November, French Development Agency (AfD) partnered with Ministry of Planning and Investment and Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union to organise the conference “Youth and climate change: the challenge is today, which solutions for tomorrow?” at Hanoi University of Science. The one-day event highlighted the cooperation and support between French government and Vietnamese counterparts in climate change adaptation and mitigation, and the commitment of the two countries to meet their goals under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

Dr Linda Tomasini introducing tools to assess and monitor climate impacts

The conference served as a platform to share international and local best practices in strengthening climate resilience in urban planning, urban development, flood management and coastal erosion management. Policy makers from Ministry of Construction, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development presented government policies and plans towards addressing climate change impacts in delta, coastal and urban settings. Key experts also shared their experience with different tools and solutions to improve understanding of risks and […]

Inception mission to Mongolia for innovative water governance project

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia – October, 2018 Increased industrial activity and urban expansion has been putting serious pressure on Mongolia’s water sources. The Implementing innovative approaches for water governance project, funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), aims to support the government to improve the national structure and regulatory framework for water governance. During the visit, the consulting team met with senior level representatives from the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) and national team partners at the Institute of Geology and Geo-ecology (IGG) and the Information and Research Institute of Meteorology, Hydrology and Environment (IRIMHE). The meetings were used an as opportunity to establish priorities for the project and refine the scope of the work that will take place.
The mission also included a workshop session attended by over 70 representatives from River Basin Organisations (RBOs), national agencies, and the ADB. This provided an opportunity to introduce the project and the intended outcomes and also allowed for input from stakeholders. Issues discussed ranged from a need for a stronger state database and improved data collection and entry procedures, desire for tangible project impacts and technical trainings, and interest in implementing management strategies using advanced technology. Following the mission, the team will work closely with national representatives to develop strategies for effective river basin plan implementation, design and employ pilot projects in selected river basins, and begin work on improving the state water database. The project is scheduled for completion in June 2020.
By |October 30th, 2018|ICEM team, News, South Asia|0 Comments

Free training course on disaster risk management for urban planning practitioners in ASEAN region now available online

Ensuring safe and resilient urban growth is a priority of the ASEAN member counties. The region is highly vulnerable to the impacts of disasters and will continue to be so due to the effects of climate change.

ICEM has developed a free, self-learning training course on disaster risk management for practitioners involved in urban planning in support of BUILD SAFELY, a programme under Phase II of the ASEAN agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER) Work Programme 2016-2020.

The course contains three modules which provide useful approaches, methods and tools:

  • Urban disaster risk in the ASEAN region
  • Integrating disaster risk reduction into urban planning
  • Integrating disaster risk reduction into urban infrastructure planning and design

The materials cover processes and procedures that architects, engineers, urban planners and others involved in urban planning are familiar with and apply in their work.

The materials may be downloaded and completed independently. They include PowerPoints, written and video based case studies, handout style reading materials and activities. The course will take approximately 2.5 days, but can be undertaken over a longer period.

Download it here at www.icem.com.au/learndrm

This project has been completed with the support of the Government of Canada through the Integrated Disaster Risk Management (IDRM) Fund administered by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Team travels to Nepal to start assessment of geohazard risk

Kathmandu, Nepal – July, 2018

The Government of Nepal has prioritized addressing the impacts of climate change and seismic hazards on transport infrastructure. The country is facing numerous challenges to manage geohazard risks to its road infrastructure, including challenging terrain, the unstable geology of the Himalayas, and the annual monsoon rainfall. To support the government to identify, assess and prioritize risk mitigation measures, the World Bank initiated the Geohazard Risk Management and Resilient Road Asset Management in Nepal project. The project will help improve the country’s road network resilience to seismic hazards and climate change.

In July, a team of specialists from ICEM and GEOCE went on a scoping and baseline assessment mission to Nepal under the Improving the Resilience of Nepal’s Strategic Roads Network project, implemented as component II of the larger World Bank initiative. This component looks to expand the current flood, landslide and seismic risk assessments in Nepal and contribute to government’s ongoing works in increasing the resilience of roads and bridges.

During the visit, the team met with senior level representatives from the Department of Roads (DOR), the Department of Local Infrastructure Development and Agricultural Roads (DOLIDAR) and the World Bank. The roundtable meeting was used as an opportunity to introduce the project, its methodology, and the main principles of the DOR’s approach to building resilient infrastructure. These principles must be taken into account when revising the project methodology, and kept in mind as the project progresses in order to ensure results are aligned with the DOR’s approach.

The meeting involved a plenary discussion of key technical issues of the project as identified by government counterparts, the […]

Modulators for training course on disaster risk reduction for urban planners in the ASEAN region

The ASEAN training course on disaster risk management for urban planning practitioners was developed by a team of international experts in urban planning and disaster risk management from ICEM, with input from ASEAN-based authorities. The technical experts that formed part of the project team that designed and wrote the course are:

  • Disaster risk management specialist, Kenneth Westgate: Ken’s long career in addressing and reducing disaster risk has included work with numerous international organisations across the globe. He has worked extensively in Africa and Asia, including in Uganda, Sudan, Tanzania, Kenya, Geneva, Egypt, the Balkan States, Cambodia and Timor Leste. Ken has served as Director at the Disaster Management Centre at Cranfield University in the UK and regional adviser for Africa in Disaster Risk Reduction for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Throughout his career, he has been involved in the training of disaster management specialist. His work at Cranfield culminated in the establishment of the first Masters Degree in Development and Disaster Management, among others. He is currently also supporting the Yemen Red Crescent Society in the development of their disaster management strategy.
  • Urban planner, Mike Sharrocks: Mike has over 35 years’ project experience in sustainable tourism strategies, urban planning and urban design work, sustainable land management, urban and rural regeneration strategies, infrastructure and land use development, master plans and development frameworks. He has worked on numerous projects worldwide in more than 30 countries, either as a team leader or as a team member, in North America, Europe, the Middle East, South and South East Asia, the Far East and the South Pacific, for various international organisations and funders.
  • Disaster and climate risk specialist, Ian Wilderspin: Ian has over 25 years of diverse experience in […]
By |September 17th, 2018|Uncategorized|2 Comments

Mission to Indonesia takes project team step closer to understanding climate change risk to critical infrastructure in region

Jakarta, Indonesia – July, 2018

To meet crucial development, inclusion and environmental goals in low-income countries and emerging markets, investment in large infrastructure is critical. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) estimated in 2017 that the developing Asia needed to invest around $26 trillion from 2016 to 2030 ($1.7 trillion annually) in transport, power, telecommunications and water and sanitation infrastructure to maintain current levels of growth. 

To increase knowledge on the risks of climate change to critical infrastructure in South and Southeast Asia, and to build a better understanding of the actions and innovations necessary to build critical infrastructure resilient to climate change, the ADB has commissioned TA 9191: Building Climate Change Resilience in Asia’s Critical Infrastructure. The project is being carried out by a joint venture between ICEM – International Centre for Environmental Management, the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC), and Philkoei International. The project supports ADB’s effort to scale-up climate-resilient investments in its developing member countries (DMCs).

The project team recently undertook its first consultation mission to Indonesia, one of the project’s three pilot countries, to engage relevant Indonesian government agencies and to refine the scope of work in the country.

Transport infrastructure in Jakarta, Indonesia

The team met with various government agencies, institutes and organizations to secure their involvement, including the Ministry of National Development Planning (BAPPENAS), Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (MEMR), Ministry of Public Works and Housing (MPWH), Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG), Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MFF) and National Agency for Disaster Management (BNPB).

While the project was introduced to […]

Myanmar Healthy Rivers Initiative project reports and publications available

Yangon, Myanmar –  August 31, 2018: Myanmar Healthy Rivers Initiative project reports and publications available

Myanmar’s rivers are a key national resource, providing irrigation, hydropower, water supplies for cities and industries, and navigation and transport routes. They are also important ecosystems, supporting productive fisheries both inland and in the deltas, and underpinning the livelihoods of Myanmar communities. As Myanmar develops, aquatic ecosystems are under pressure from changes to the river systems, necessary to foster economic growth, but impacting on the ecosystem services and products provided by rivers.

The Myanmar Healthy Rivers Initiative (MHRI) aimed to develop and test a river health framework which allows government and communities to monitor the status of the riverine ecosystem services they value, and provides evidence for informed, integrated water resource management (IWRM) planning. The project focused on Myanmar’s two iconic rivers; the Ayeyarwady, and the Thanlwin.

The project was recently completed, and all reports and publications produced are now available to view and download. Among others, these include river basin health report cards, river health monitoring frameworks, community river health surveys and a community river health monitoring manual. A characterization of the hydro-ecological zones of the Ayeyarwady River basin, and state of knowledge reports for both basins are also included.

View and download all project publications

Strengthening climate resilience in Bac Kan city

Bac Kan, Vietnam –  July, 2018: Strengthening climate resilience in Bac Kan city

Located in the northern mountainous area of Vietnam, Bac Kan Province is increasingly affected by extreme weather events, aggravated by the impacts of climate change. Droughts, flashfloods, and landslides frequently cause severe damage to agricultural production and livestock, harming the livelihoods of local people in the province.

To reduce the impacts of climate change and strengthen local capacity to adapt to these challenges, the local government developed a Climate Action Plan with proposed projects to safeguard critical infrastructure. To support these efforts, the Climate and Natural Disasters Resilience project in Bac Kan province was launched.

This July the project team, consisting of experts from ICEM and AREP, visited Bac Kan City to gather information of the challenges that the city is facing as well as proposed responses. First, the team met with the local People’s Committee to clarify key concerns regarding a proposed project to protect areas of the city against flooding and bank erosion of the Cau River. The proposed project includes the construction of new embankments, dredging along this area, and the construction of two weirs. ICEM would review these plans and assess their effectiveness towards achieving their intended goals.

After the meeting, the team visited sites relevant to the project such as the city’s main drainage outflow and sluice gate to the Cau River, areas where landslides occurred during previous storms, upstream drainage channels, existing embankments, and proposed embankment sites. The team took photos and notes on each of the sites to later add to their recommendations on the city’s proposal. The People’s Committee accompanied the project team to provide additional information on each of these sites.

The team will now assess erosion […]

ICEM’s project portfolio in South Asia expands

Building on an already extensive track record of experience in South Asia, the ICEM project portfolio in the region has recently expanded with two more projects, building on experience in Nepal and now also including Bhutan. ICEM also added one more project to its current portfolio of projects in Myanmar.

Myanmar hydropower SEA Final Report draft available for review and comment

Yangon, Myanmar –  May 22, 2018: Myanmar Hydropower SEA Final Draft Report available for review and comment

The Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of the hydropower sector in Myanmar, draft Final Report is now available for review and comment. The SEA focuses on the country’s hydropower potential while mapping out environmental and social complexities. The SEA will identify opportunities to sustain natural river basin processes that regulate and maintain river health and other ecosystems services.

A key recommendation outlined in the SEA is to preserve the mainstems of Myanmar’s key rivers, including the Ayeyarwady, Thanlwin and Chindwin, encouraging decision makers to explore locations that carry less environmental, social and cultural risk.

“Recommending to protect the mainstems of Myanmar’s key rivers would be a monumental achievement with multiple socio-economic benefits, keeping the natural ecosystems of our country. We hope to see this recommendation moved forward by decision makers,” said U Hla Maung Thein, Director General, Environmental Conservation Department, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation (MONREC). “Our department has reviewed the SEA final report and recommendations, and we agree with the direction it is pointing hydropower development in.”

According to Daw Mi Mi Khaing, Director General of Department of Electric Power Planning, Ministry of Electricity and Energy (MOEE), “this is the first time we have a basin-wide perspective on environmental and social values, which will help decision makers better site hydropower projects.”

Once finalised, the SEA Final Report will be published online in English and Myanmar. A concise summary will also be made available in select ethnic languages.

Download the draft SEA Final Report

Feedback should be returned in the supplied comment matrix

Deadline for comment is close of business (Yangon) on 12 June, 2018

Send […]

Framework to assess river health in Myanmar presented

Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar –  March 9, 2018: Framework to assess river health in Myanmar presented

As Myanmar develops, pressure on the country’s rivers is increasing. With limited data available to inform management decisions, sustainable development of these key national resources is challenging. In response, the Myanmar Healthy Rivers Initiative (MHRI) was launched; an applied research project designed to help government and communities explore different techniques to monitor river health and inform sustainable management of the rivers and the ecosystem services they supply.

Launched in 2015, the project is managed by the International Centre for Environmental Management (ICEM) with the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and local partners Ecosystem Conservation and Community Development Initiative (ECCDI) and Myanmar Institute for Integrated Development (MIID). The project team work with the Ministry of Natural Resources Environment and Conservation (MONREC) and consulted a wide range of stakeholders from national to community level. Support and funding is provided by the WLE Greater Mekong Program and the Australian Government.

This March, final river health monitoring indicators, tools and results were presented to core government partners at the project’s final workshop. The event was also an opportunity to explore next steps and considerations for implementation and up-scaling of the Myanmar River Health Framework, a resource kit which includes characterisation of the main users, uses and values of river systems; a set of simple environmental indicators specifically designed to monitor changes and trends in these uses; a set of assessment tools and approaches; and guidelines on how to implement and analyse river health monitoring and reporting.

The framework was developed with a range of techniques, from analysis of satellite imagery to community based monitoring. The studies were conducted in Myanmar’s two iconic river basins, the Ayeyarwady […]

Climate resilience projects in Cambodia prioritized for action

New initiatives to build resilience to climate change in Cambodia are edging closer to implementation following a national workshop in Phnom Penh this March. The workshop served to review the results of six feasibility studies for projects focusing on climate resilience in Cambodia, and to identify projects most likely to receive financing from climate funds.

Green growth highlighted as sustainable development pathway at high-level ministerial meeting

Chiang Mai, Thailand –  January 30 – February 1, 2018: Fifth GMS Environment Ministers’ Meeting and Forum on Inclusive Green Growth

The Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) is seeing accelerating economic growth, but this success comes at a price – the depletion of the region’s natural resources. This steady decline of natural stocks is resulting in the degradation in ecosystem services and environmental quality, which threatens to undermine the sustainable development that the region is aiming for.

In order to achieve sustainable development goals among the GMS countries, green growth is seen as an integral pathway to follow. This concept calls for economic growth and development while ensuring that natural assets continue to provide the resources and environmental services on which communities’ well-being relies. In order to generate high-level consensus from the GMS countries and relevant stakeholders to scale up investments in green interventions and to respond to global and subregional environmental challenges and emerging opportunities, environment ministers from the six GMS countries recently met again to review progress and set the agenda for environmental cooperation in the region. Taking place every three years, the 2018 occasion was the Fifth Greater Mekong Subregion Environment Ministers’ Meeting (EMM5), which took place in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

EMM5 deliverables included endorsement of the GMS Core Environment Program (CEP) Strategic Framework and Action Plan 2018-2022 and consolidated environment pipeline and, for notation, signing of the MoU on transboundary biodiversity cooperation between Thailand and Cambodia.

The formal EMM5 meeting of ministers on 1 February was preceded by a forum on inclusive green growth on 30 and 31 January. It included dialogues on the topics of investing in natural resources, green energy, sustainable infrastructure and climate resilience. […]

Notice of public consultation for draft ESIA/ESMP of Sub-Project 1 of the AIRBMP

The Directorate of Water Resources and Improvement of River Systems (DWIR) is considering a combination of river training structures and dredging to improve year-round and safe accessibility to the port of Mandalay. ICEM has been engaged to prepare the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) and Environmental and Social Management Plan (ESMP) for Subproject 1.

The project is part of the World Bank funded Ayeyarwady Integrated River Basin Management Project (AIRBMP), which aims at finding and implementing technical and operational schemes for making improvements of the navigability of the Ayeyarwady River Basin. The goal is “to improve inland water transport in priority stretches of the Ayeyarwady River and design a cost-effective and environmentally and socially acceptable strategy for managing the full length of the navigation channel”.

Public consultation for the draft ESIA and ESMP for Subproject 1 will take place on Thursday, 18 January at the Triumph Hotel in Mandalay at 08:45 am.

The objectives of the public consultation for the draft ESIA/ESMP for Subproject 1 are to:

  • Present an overview of Component 3 of the AIRBMP and Subproject 1;
  • Outline the technical solutions and detailed designs for Subproject 1 based on the results of modeling and simulations;
  • Review the key findings of the draft ESIA/ESMP of Subproject 1;
  • Discuss stakeholder issues and opportunities to be included in the final ESIA/ESMP for Subproject 1; and
  • Outline next steps in relation to the implementation of the Draft ESIA/ESMP and Subproject 1.

The overall objectives of Subproject 1 are to achieve a Least Available Depth (LAD) of 2.0 m for a design of 1,000 dead weight tonne. The river training works and dredging will allow vessels to pass more heavily loaded during dry season, increasing the efficiency of passenger and […]