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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 on the International Finance Corporation (IFC) website 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 […]

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).

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

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 […]

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 […]

Major study on hydrogeology of Myanmar’s Dry Zone published

Approximately 15.4 million people, just under 30 % of the population of Myanmar, live in Myanmar’s Dry Zone. Most villages, towns and cities rely on groundwater for potable water supplies, and away from the Ayeyarwady River and tributaries, the Dry Zone is extremely short of water. Villagers without tubewells travel great distances to collect small quantities of water from shallow dugwells and polluted earth ponds.
By |November 17th, 2017|Myanmar news, News, Water news|0 Comments

Baseline information on Ayeyarwady River gathered from local communities

The Ayeyarwady is one of the most important of Myanmar’s rivers for economic development, yet relatively little is still known about this key waterway. Team members of component three of the Myanmar Ayeyarwady Integrated River Basin Management (AIRBM) project, recently turned to local community members to fill some of the gaps in information necessary to inform the future development of the river.
By |August 25th, 2017|Myanmar news, News, Water news|0 Comments

Public invited to discuss planned Ayeyarwady River improvements

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 draft scoping reports for the ESIA and ESMP for Subproject 1 are now available for public comment. To meet the requirements of the Myanmar EIA procedures (2015) and World Bank safeguard policies a Public Consultation meeting will be conducted on Friday 4th August, 2017 in Mandalay to review the Draft Scoping Report. The scoping reports are part of component three of the Myanmar Ayeyarwady Integrated River Basin Management (AIRBM) project. Managed by DWIR with support from the World Bank, the AIRBM project aims to develop and enhance navigation for the full navigable length of the river from Mandalay to Yangon. Navigation is proposed to be enhanced by river training by constructing groynes, guide bunds etc. in the river channel, bank protection works, dredging and installation of navigation aids such as signage, buoys and lighting.

The ESIA will assess the baseline and potential impacts of river improvement works and lead to the preparation of an ESMP and a monitoring framework for the developments. This will ensure that measures are put in place to avoid and mitigate impacts and enhance the sub-project benefits. The environmental and social impacts of sub-project 1 will need to be considered during both the construction and operational phases.

In compliance with the Myanmar EIA procedures (2015) and World […]

New data collected for Ayeyarwady River

New data on key infrastructure, social indicators and environmental issues are being gathered and updated for the Ayeyarwady River between Mandalay and Nyaung Oo. The data will contribute to an environmentally and socially acceptable strategy for managing the future development of inland water transport (IWT) in Myanmar.

Myanmar hydropower SEA draft Baseline Assessment Report now available for public comment

Yangon, Myanmar –  June 8, 2017: Myanmar hydropower SEA draft Baseline Assessment Report now available for public comment

*UPDATE: The deadline for public review has been extended to 20 July 2017

The draft Baseline Assessment Report for the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of the Hydropower Sector in Myanmar is now available for public review. The document (presented in eight separate chapters) will be available from today (8 June) until 22 June 2017. Following this review period, the baseline chapters will undergo a final round of revisions and comments will be included in the annex. The release of the draft chapters follows on a series of national, basin and local level stakeholder consultations, during which sustainability principles and key themes were refined in order to identify the key strategic environmental and social issues for each river basin.

The SEA comprises three main phases:

  • Scoping and baseline assessment
  • Impact assessment and sustainability analysis
  • Mitigation and recommendations

The scoping and baseline assessment phase led to the preparation of three volumes:
1. Stakeholder Engagement Plan
2. Regional River Basin Consultations – Key Findings
3. Baseline Assessment Report

The draft Baseline Assessment Report, which is now available for review, consists of the following chapters:

Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Hydropower
Chapter 3: Geomorphology and sediment transport
Chapter 4: Biodiversity
Chapter 5: Aquatic ecology and fisheries
Chapter 6: Economic development and land use
Chapter 7: Social and livelihoods
Chapter 8: Conflict

Download the draft Baseline Assessment Report chapters

Send your comments to Rory Hunter at rory.hunter@icem.com.au

For more information, visit the SEA of the Hydropower Sector in Myanmar project page

Download the Stakeholder Engagement Plan Report

Download the Regional River Basin Consultations Report

Creating a Vision for Healthy Rivers in Myanmar

"I have seen many changes in the river since I was young," said Pham Maw, a resident of Sein Pan Kone in Northern Myanmar. Pham Maw was one of the stakeholders who recently participated in workshops where views on the state of two of Myanmar's key rivers, and how they should be managed, were shared.
By |July 26th, 2016|Myanmar news, News, Water news|0 Comments

ICEM Visits Fishing Villages in the Ayeyarwady Delta

ICEM Visits Fishing Villages in theAyeyarwady Delta In March of 2015, ICEM Environmental Scientist Luke Taylor and partners on the Myanmar Healthy Rivers Initiative toured the Ayeyarwady Delta to speak with fishing villagers and gather local knowledge and experience from those living closest to the river.
By |April 14th, 2015|Myanmar news, News|0 Comments

Biochar Project Begins with Rapid Tour of GMS Countries

Biochar Project Begins with Rapid Tour of GMS Countries ICEM's Biochar team has kicked off the project with a tour of the region's six participating countries to perform the project's rapid fire assessment of biochar potential in the GMS.

ICEM wins USAID and UN Urban Resilience Competition

ICEM has been awarded an Asia wide Urban Resilience prize for its work on “Green Infrastructure as a Foundation for Resilience in Mekong Towns.” In October, the U.S. Global Development Lab, USAID's Regional Development Mission for Asia, UN Habitat and UNDP hosted the Asia Urban Futures Workshop, a two-day international meeting to address climate-related issues and opportunities facing rapidly urbanising Asian cities. The meeting brought science and technology together with the development community to discuss these rising challenges and share solutions.

Workshop Examines Climate Change and Development Implications for Protected Areas and Species in the Mekong Region

BANGKOK, THAILAND – 8 – 10 October, 2014: Workshop Examines Climate Change and Development Implications for Protected Areas and Species in the Mekong Region

Written by Robert Mather, Head, Southeast Asia Group, IUCN Asia

Over 60 participants from the 6 countries of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS)  came together in a workshop that examined ‘Mekong Protected Areas and Climate Change – Implications for Livelihoods and Development” The workshop was held from 8-10 October 2014, in Bangkok, Thailand, and was organized by the International Centre for Environmental Management (ICEM) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in collaboration with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) GMS Environment Operations Center (GMS-EOC). Environmental policy makers, international and national conservation organizations and protected area managers attended the event.

In kicking off the event,  ICEM’s Jeremy Carew-Reid said that “We are members of the protected area family, a family with a Mission. We are starting on a journey and the destination of that journey  is to put protected areas and biodiversity back where they belong – centre stage in the discussions on sustainable development”

Protected areas in the Mekong Region are still largely set within landscapes and seascapes of small-scale fishers and farmers although over the last 20 years the GMS Region has developed rapidly, regional integration of transport infrastructure and markets has progressed significantly, and large-scale commercial agriculture and industrial-scale plantations have grown in importance. With the imminent arrival of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015 this transformation of the region is set to continue.

“Now more than ever, protected areas are vitally important, not just for biodiversity conservation, but for the water food and energy security underpinning all of this economic activity” said Robert Mather, Head of IUCN Southeast Asia group, adding that “ The […]