Enhancing navigability on the Ayeyarwady River

The Ayeyarwady River in Myanmar is navigable for 1,280 km from the sea, opening a vast highway deep into the dry zone and interior of the basin. Between 261 and 364 million tons of sediment per year are transported through the river during the annual floods leading to erosion and deposition of the navigation channel, bars, islands and riverbanks. This means that some sections have insufficient water depth for inland waterway vessels to operate safely, as well as threatening agriculture along the river bank.

In view of the importance of inland waterway transport to the economic development of Myanmar, the World Bank funded Ayeyarwady Integrated River Basin Management Project (AIRBM), led by the Myanmar Directorate of Water Resources and Improvement of River Systems (DWIR) aims to support environmentally and socially sustainable improvements to navigability of the river. Stretch 1 (Mandalay to Nyaung U) was identified as a priority. Within this reach, a sub-project area (Subproject 1) was selected between the Mandalay port and Mingun area for construction of river training measures to maintain conditions for transport while avoiding negative environmental consequences.

Figure 1: Project area

From March-June 2018, March-June 2019, and November – February 2020, river training was carried out through bank protection measures (Figure 2: a combination of rip rap armor stones on geotextile, and vetiver grass) and hydraulic roughness measures in the form of concrete porcupines (Figure 3). The porcupines were installed to slow river flow and cause sediment deposition near river banks to prevent further erosion and stabilize and deepen the main navigation channel, also called the ‘Mandalay Channel’.

Figure 2: Bank protection works
Figure […]
By |2020-06-18T10:44:42+07:00June 17th, 2020|Myanmar news, News, Water news|0 Comments

Green Infrastructure for a Climate Resilient Society – ICEM informs good practice in Vietnam

Vietnam – March 2020 

Bioengineering – or the use of vegetation to serve an engineering function – can constitute a low-cost option to supplement conventional infrastructure engineering design and increase resilience of local communities to the impacts of climate change and extreme weather events.

In March 2020, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) released a Good Practice Brief on Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) for erosion control based on the findings and experience of the project Promoting Climate Resilient Rural Infrastructure in Vietnam, administered by the Asian Development Bank and implemented by ICEM – International Centre for Environmental Management, which demonstrated bioengineering techniques for road and riverbank slope protection.

Two demonstration sites were installed on riverbanks in Bac Kan and Son La provinces, and two other sites on roadside slopes in Son La and Thai Nguyen provinces. All demonstration sites were co-located with sub-projects of the large Sustainable Rural Infrastructure Development Project which is building rural infrastructure with conventional designs.

Two years after project completion there were no signs of erosion at either of the demonstration sites despite several serious floods and intensive rainfall events. The bioengineering measures also provided social, economic and ecosystem co-benefits, for example engaging local communities in construction, repairs and maintenance and providing fodder and firewood.

Key lessons learned through the implementation of the project and highlighted in the brief include:

  • Bioengineering should be considered at the earliest stage of project planning
  • High risk locations need to be identified as early as possible using proven vulnerability assessment and slope condition criteria
  • Specific slope problems need to be identified and assessed using low-cost geotechnical investigation procedures
  • Integration of hard and soft measures need to be considered to solve problems where bioengineering alone is insufficient
  • Active engagement of local […]

Study on Hanoi water pollution and drainage management approaching closure

Hanoi has grown rapidly into a modern, vibrant city. It is also envisioned to become a centre of culture, science, education, economics, tourism and international trade in the Asia-Pacific region. However, the development of infrastructure and services has lagged behind the growth of the population, hindering the realization of such vision. In particular, sustainable water resources management is a major challenge. Water pollution and urban flooding have arisen as persistent environmental problems in Hanoi for years, impairing the liveability of the city, deterring investors and compromising social – economic development.

Hanoi City Drainage Master Plan addresses these two issues but its implementation has not kept pace with the growth of the problems. Making Hanoi a water pollution and flood free city by 2050 will require enormous and sustained investment and institutional reform.

In an effort to support Hanoi City to implement its Drainage Master Plan and to build resilience and sustainability in the City’s water resources management, in 2019, the World Bank commissioned ICEM to undertake a study on water pollution control and drainage and wastewater management in Hanoi. The study aims at developing an effective and comprehensive management and investment program to tackle water pollution in key rivers – To Lich, Nhue, Day and Tich, and improve drainage and wastewater management in prioritized locations – Long Bien and Gia Lam districts.

Through a series of stakeholder consultations, field inspections, and data analysis, the study team assessed the baseline conditions of water pollution in the four rivers and urban flooding and wastewater management in the two districts, delineated the causes, and identified bottlenecks in addressing such causes. The technical challenges include rapid population growth and urbanization, dwindling water resources in rivers, infrastructure deficit (i.e. shortage of wastewater […]

Setting a precedent for Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) in Rayong Province, Thailand

Early 2020 saw the completion of the milestone Asian Development Bank funded Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of Rayong Province Development Master Plan & Revision of Thai Draft SEA Guidelines project. The project had two primary goals:

  1. To conduct a provincial wide SEA in Rayong Province, focusing on how the provincial development plan can be used to enhance provincial sustainability;
  2. To make recommendations and revisions to the Thai Draft SEA guidelines. The draft national guidelines were used and evaluated during the Rayong SEA, with the experience using them informing revisions to the draft guidelines

The Rayong SEA was undertaken at the request of Thailand’s National Economic and Social Development Committee (NESDC) in collaboration with Rayong Governor’s Office. The process highlighted the importance of SEAs in providing insights into provincial development planning by offering trade-off analyses and insights into relationships between economic, social and environmental goals.The lessons learned through the SEA process formed the basis for revising the national draft SEA guidelines, and the Rayong SEA will be a model for future assessments. Rayong Province lies within the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), an area encompassing the three eastern provinces of Chachoengsao, Chonburi, and Rayong. Since the mid-1980s the EEC has been promoted as a strategic industrial growth area. The new EEC Development Plan (2018) focuses on accelerating this growth through encouraging development of new industries, urban centres, expansion of ports and airports and new railway lines and highways. The end goal is to develop the region as an arterial hub for trade, investment and transportation. The Rayong SEA focused specifically on the current four-year Rayong Provincial Development Plan (RPDP), which has an implementation period through to 2021. The results of the Rayong SEA will inform the next five-year development planning […]

Driving socio-economic development forward in Nepal with resilient road networks – project completion

Nepal’s road networks are essential for boosting trade, connecting communities, improving access to services and economic opportunities, and facilitating national and regional integration. Improving the resilience of Nepal’s roads has therefore been prioritized by the Government of Nepal as a key driver for socio-economic development, a reason the World Bank supported the project Geohazard Risk Management and Resilient Road Asset Management in Nepal. From June 2018 to September 2019, ICEM supported the Government of Nepal through a multi-hazard risk assessment of over 700 km of national roads, and the subsequent development and prioritization of risk mitigation measures to ensure the resilience of these road corridors now and into the future.

Multi-hazard risk assessment and road network criticality assessment

For eight road corridors located mainly in the western region of Nepal, ICEM demonstrated an innovative multi-hazard risk assessment methodology, composed of four risk indices and combining a set of risk parameters such as rainfall, climate change, geology, seismic intensity, slope, drainage and historical landslide events, among others. These four risk indices were consolidated into one “multi-hazard” risk index and formed the basis for assembling a road risk profile per road corridor.

Risk indices developed as part of the multi-hazard risk assessment

Data for each of the parameters were analyzed using GIS and integrating satellite imagery, hydrological and hydraulic modelling results, and expert verification. The data was processed and categorized into five levels of risk ranging from very low to very high risk. For each of the parameters, risk scores were assigned at 1km intervals along all eight target roads, weighted and combined to develop the final risk index […]

Historic day for Myanmar’s water governance with publishing of first reference book on hydrogeology

Hilton Hotel, Naypyidaw, Myanmar – 14th November

On the 14 November, a huge milestone in sustainable water governance in Myanmar was reached with the launching of the Myanmar language edition of the first-ever published reference book on hydrogeology in the country, ‘Hydrogeology of the Dry Zone – Central Myanmar’. The book launch, funded by the Australian Water Partnership (AWP), took place in Myanmar’s capital of Naypyidaw.

The book is a straightforward resource, containing hydrogeological data and maps which provide information such as the location of artesian basins, arsenic and saltwater, and the depth of drilling required in different locations.

Although the Dry Zone is endowed with abundant surface water from the Ayeyarwady River, most flows happen in the wet season. Away from the Ayeyarwady River, the Dry Zone suffers from extreme water shortages. Approximately 75 per cent of the population in the Dry Zone rely on groundwater for drinking and domestic purposes. Villagers without tubewells travel great distances to collect water from shallow dugwells and polluted earth ponds, often leading to water-borne diseases. Accordingly, the provision of reliable, clean water supply to this area has been identified as a developmental priority.

The original English volume was a culmination of 30 years of Dr Len Drury’s work (Aqua Rock Konsultants) with assistance from the Groundwater Division, Irrigation and Water Utilization Management Department (IWUMD) of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation (MOALI). The figures and maps were digitised by ICEM, and the text peer-reviewed by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI).

Dr Len Drury (right) looking over photos from the original study in Myanmar’s Central Dry Zone in 1980s

Although finished in 1988, the book was not published at the time […]

Publications released for Environmental Study of the Lancang-Mekong Development Plan

The Mekong River is one of the world’s great rivers, flowing through six countries –PR China, Myanmar, Lao PDR, Thailand, Cambodia and Viet Nam. It has unique and irreplaceable biodiversity, and is essential to the livelihoods of the approximately 60 million people living in the Lower Mekong Basin.

In February 2016, the Joint Committee on Coordination of Commercial Navigation on the Lancang-Mekong River gave conditional approval for the Development Plan of International Navigation on the Lancang-Mekong River – a complex transboundary project including the upgrading of several cargo ports; the partial clearing of 146 rapids, rocky outcrops and shoals to allow navigation for up to 500DWT vessels between Simao, PR China and Luang Prabang, Lao PDR; the construction of four emergency response and rescue ships; and the promotion of increased shipping, trade and passenger transport from Yunnan province to Luang Prabang.

There are potential significant long-term social and environmental impacts of the LMDP from port construction, increased waterway use and the partial removal of rapids and shoals. As the LMDP does not currently include a comprehensive environmental management plan, the Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund (CEPF) allocated funding to ICEM to conduct an Environmental Study of the LMDP from the Golden Triangle to Luang Prabang, and of the proposed Pak Beng hydropower project, located on the Lancang-Mekong River in northern Lao PDR.

The project included a period of scoping to determine key issues for biodiversity and socio-economics. It then assessed the baseline situation in the eight project themes (hydrology and sediment, aquatic biodiversity and wetlands, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles, waterways and socio-economics) to identify key trends in each. This was followed by an impact assessment of the LMDP and Pak Beng HPP on each of the trends and […]

By |2020-01-10T15:21:36+07:00October 29th, 2019|Lao PDR news, News, Water news|0 Comments

“Prepare to be challenged, prepare to be inspired” – regional workshop on Nature-Based Solutions in Asia’s agricultural sector hosted by ICEM in Hanoi

Sheraton Hotel, Ha Noi, Viet Nam – 24-25th July 

Nature-Based Solutions (NBS), defined as the use of natural processes and/or elements to increase ecosystem health of human-altered systems, have strong potential to achieve the triple goal of reducing damage to ecosystems, meeting increasing demands and enhancing resilience to climate change in Asia’s agricultural sector. Primary purposes of NBS can be production, structural engineering (green infrastructure (GI)), bioremediation, or conservation. Although certain practices that fall within this definition have long been utilised by farmers, there is an advantage to bringing them under the umbrella of NBS, together with innovative measures which are emerging from other sectors like urban planning and design, where the concept of GI is more commonly applied.

Natural ecosystems are multifunctional, and their processes and elements are therefore excellent at providing multiple benefits. Riparian buffer zones, a conserved strip of vegetation between a stream or river and adjacent agricultural fields, for example, can filter pollution from agricultural runoff and subsurface flow, protect river banks from erosion. Additionally, they can increase resilience against climate change by decreasing the impact of floods or even droughts and high temperatures (mostly through the provision of shelter and shading by trees), and providing tree-based produce which can diversify the food and income of rural communities.

From the 24-25th July 2019, ICEM with the Government of Vietnam and FAO, convened a regional workshop “Potential for applying Nature-Based Solutions and Green Infrastructure in Asia’s agriculture”, with the aim to exchange knowledge and experience on challenges and opportunities with current and potential NBS in the agricultural sector.  The workshop is part of the FAO funded project “Identifying Green Infrastructure and Nature-Based Solutions for More Resilient Rural Communities”. As part of the project, ICEM is […]

Strengthening Integrated Water Resource Planning and Management in Thailand: Completion of Phase One

Record flooding in 2011 took a heavy toll on Thailand, leading to an estimated $45 billion worth of damage, large swathes of agricultural and residential land inundated, millions left homeless or displaced, and over 9,000 factories forced to temporarily close. In the wake of the disaster, there were calls for more integrated planning of flood and water resources management to avoid such catastrophic impacts of extreme weather in the future.

Aligning with this goal, since 2017, ICEM has been supporting Thailand’s Department of Water Resources (DWR) with the development of an Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) modeling tool to understand the impact of different management strategies and contribute to the development of basin-wide master plans.

An important part of the project has been capacity building. Between August 2017 and June 2018, DWR staff from central and regional levels received training on how to use the modelling tool and applied it to two pilot sites: Eastern Coast River Basins and Nam Phong River Basin. Trainees learned how to process all input data required for building a model, and tested possible scenarios addressing flood, climate change, water allocation, crop and reservoir management.

Training workshop (left); input data set for the Eastern Coast River Basins model (right)

Strengthening the capacity in effective integrated water resource management will have a significant impact on Thailand’s ability to create sustainable and climate resilient solutions that mitigate against disaster and protect livelihoods within river basins.

Four key outputs were produced as part of Phase I of the project – the IWRM User Guide (translated into Thai), which provides step by step instructions on how to use the IWRM modelling tool; two reports presenting preliminary findings […]

Assessing agrometeorological stations in Ayeyarwady Region, Myanmar

Ayeyarwady Region, Myanmar – May 2019

The Ayeyarwady Delta is a key site of agricultural production in Myanmar, considered to be the “rice bowl” of the country. However, the region is also highly vulnerable to the impacts of natural hazards and climate change.

Agro-meteorology is concerned with the use of information of weather and climate to enhance or expand crops and agricultural production. Agro-meteorological forecasts and advisories can help farmers to timely and effectively plan and manage crops, sowing, ploughing and harvesting dates, reduce losses of applied chemicals and fertilizers (when rain is forecast), reduce pest and disease outbreaks, and manage extreme weather events like typhoons, heavy rainfall, floods and drought. As part of the project “Strengthening Climate and Disaster Resilience of Myanmar Communities”, ICEM is in the process of procuring and installing new agro-meteorological stations and instruments in the Ayeyarwady Region to improve infrastructure and capacity for agro-meteorological forecasting.

In May, ICEM experts conducted a field mission, visiting existing stations in Pathein, Labutta, Bogale and Phyapon Townships and meeting with local officials and technical staff from the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology (DMH), the Department of Agriculture (DOA), and the Department of Rural Development (DRD). The purpose of the mission was to understand the current network, data coverage, maintenance needs and challenges of existing stations to inform the placement and instruments required in the new stations, and improve the information flow and data sources for the Myanmar Meteorological Bulletin. The team inspected daily recordings and learned about the procedure of data transfer for the manual recordings. This involves data being registered and transferred to the Regional Office, then to the Naypyidaw Central office where it is archived. The Myanmar Meteorological Bulletin is currently prepared by DMH […]

Myanmar geological mapping in the Central Dry Zone: training on GIS, GPS and remote sensing conducted in Naypyitaw

Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar – 25-26th April

On April 25-26th in Naypyitaw, the ICEM team led a workshop with staff from the government of Myanmar’s Irrigation and Water Utilization Management Department (IWUMD) under the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation (MOALI). This workshop aimed to build capacity in spatial analysis and application of the spatial mapping software ArcGIS. The workshop guided participants to apply these skills to geological mapping, groundwater management and irrigation management via a series of practical, participatory exercises.

This workshop comes as part of a broader ongoing support from the Australian Water Partnership (AWP) towards integrated water management in Myanmar. In the 1980s, substantial work was carried out to survey the hydrogeology of Myanmar’s Central Dry Zone (CDZ) to understand the potential for groundwater as a source of rural water supply. Almost thirty years later, after Australia renewed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to support integrated water management, AWP supported members of the original Australian-led team to review, update and complete the hydrogeological review of the CDZ. The book, entitled ‘Hydrogeology of the Dry Zone – Central Myanmar’, was published in October 2017 in English language.

Since then, ongoing support from AWP and the Government of Myanmar has been provided towards the translation of the book into Burmese, which is expected to be released in June 2019. Additionally, the maps and GIS layers in the book have been digitized, with support from ICEM. The increase in spatial mapping and analysis capacity will allow the Groundwater Division to better understand and update the maps from the CDZ review. This will aid the Government of Myanmar in developing and improving […]

Planning layers to inform the design, location and environmental and social assessment of future river training works in the Ayeyarwady

The Ayeyarwady is Myanmar’s largest river system. Measuring the length of the country, it is both a crucial source of livelihoods and a vital commercial waterway. Along the river, many are dependent on the fertile riverbank fields and gardens, its fisheries, water for crop irrigation and for transportation. The river is also a source of culture with countless religious and historical monuments lining its banks and a historic channel that takes goods across the country.

The development of inland waterway transport (IWT) along this river is seen as integral to the economic development of Myanmar. To improve IWT along priority stretches of the river, and to design a cost-effective, environmentally and socially acceptable strategy for managing the full length of the navigation channel the Ayeyarwady Integrated River Basin Management Project (AIRBMP) was launched.

An Environmental and Social Assessment (ESA) of development of a 160 km stretch of river between Mandalay and Nyaung Oo has now been completed. The purpose of the development is to improve future navigation, allowing for 1,000 deadweight tonnage (DWT) barges to navigate up the river from Yangon to Mandalay during the dry season. Civil works may include closing subsidiary low-water channels with bunds and placement of flow-guiding structures such as groynes and embankments. Other activities include dredging, elimination of obstacles, bank and bed protection.

The objective of the ESA was to provide information to inform the design and detailed Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) of future navigation enhancement interventions for this area, as such interventions may cause adverse environmental and social impacts from changes to aquatic and riparian habitats in response to changes in river morphology, flow, depth, sediment flux, water quality and turbidity. Transport and disposal of dredged materials may also […]

By |2020-06-24T11:10:31+07:00January 7th, 2019|News, Uncategorized|0 Comments

ICEM experts facilitate seismic risk assessment workshop in Paro, Bhutan

Paro, Bhutan – 11th December

A small landlocked country, Bhutan is highly susceptible to natural hazards due to unstable geological conditions, steep terrain, elevation differences, variable climatic conditions and proximity to the seismically active Himalaya mountain range. Hazards include floods, heavy rainfall, landslides, earthquakes, glacial lake outburst floods (GLOF), forest fires, droughts and earthquakes. Several strong earthquakes above magnitude 6.0 have occurred over the past century.

Through the Disaster Preparedness Pilot Project (DPPP), funded by the Swiss Red Cross, ICEM is supporting the Department of Disaster Management address these challenges by improving the country’s capacity and systems on contingency planning and preparedness for earthquakes and seismic risk. Specifically, ICEM will facilitate the development of a contingency plan and standard operating procedures for the operation of the national Emergency Operating Center, the initiation and termination of international assistance, and post-earthquake recovery mechanisms.

On 11th December 2018, ICEM experts facilitated a workshop on risk analysis in Paro, Bhutan. Through a range of participatory working sessions, disaster responders and managers from various government departments developed a detailed hazard, vulnerability and capacity assessment for seismic risk in the country. They also brainstormed various earthquake scenarios, plotted on a risk matrix presenting the different scenarios’ likelihood and potential impact. Both the Seismic Hazard, Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment and the scenarios are major inputs for the national Seismic Risk Contingency Plan, to be developed in the first half of 2019.

View the Disaster Preparedness Pilot project page 

View reports from this project 

 

 

By |2020-01-10T15:21:38+07:00December 14th, 2018|Bhutan news, News|0 Comments

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[1]. 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.” [2]

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

By |2020-01-10T15:21:38+07:00November 29th, 2018|Energy news, Myanmar news, News|0 Comments

GIS Training conducted with key ministries in Myanmar as follow-up to the SEA of hydropower

Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar – 19th-20th November

The Geographic Information System (GIS) training, which took place from the 19th-20th of November in Nay Pyi Taw, was conducted as a follow up activity to the Myanmar hydropower Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) which ICEM completed on commission from IFC earlier in 2018. The outcome of the SEA included several reports detailing the environmental and social implications of hydropower development in Myanmar and a Sustainable Development Framework implementation plan for the sector with practical recommendations. The training course provided an additional level of technical support to complement these knowledge products. The goal of providing GIS capacity building is to build on the SEA process and results, and provide relevant Myanmar government ministries with the tools to conduct similar analyses and better plan for future hydropower projects not included in the 2018 SEA.

The training involved technical staff from the Ministry of Electricity and Energy (MOEE) and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation (MONREC). Participants learned how to perform basic functions of GIS along with their application to the SEA analysis and hydropower dams. The training included presentations, guided exercises, and group exercises. Other practical GIS applications were presented as well, including using cell phones as a GPS tool to collect spatial information in the field. There was a great level of engagement and the training was considered a success by IFC. ICEM will conduct a second, more extensive GIS training in early 2019 for a larger audience to present more advanced topics and further build GIS capacity for government ministries in hydropower sector development planning within river basin contexts

Visit the SEA of the Hydropower Sector in Myanmar project page

By |2020-01-10T15:21:38+07:00November 23rd, 2018|Myanmar news, News|0 Comments

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 […]

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. For more information, visit the Implementing innovative approaches for water governance project page […]
By |2020-01-10T15:21:38+07:00October 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).

For more information, please visit the Building Climate Change Resilience in Asia’s Critical Infrastructure project page View more of ICEM’s work in building climate resilient infrastructure

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 […]

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.

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) […]

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.

Community representatives presenting results of river health event calendars at the MHRI final workshop.

The framework was developed with a range of […]

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 […]

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 |2020-01-10T15:21:40+07:00November 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 |2020-01-10T15:21:40+07:00August 25th, 2017|Myanmar news, News, Water news|0 Comments

Series of publications on the promotion of bioengineering in Vietnam now available

Hanoi, Vietnam –  August 7, 2017: Series of publications on the promotion of bioengineering in Vietnam now available

The impact of natural events such as floods, droughts and coastal storms will become more severe as populations grow and the landscape is increasingly modified. Northern Vietnam is one area at risk, as climate change is projected to increase the severity of extreme events in the region. This change puts infrastructure like roads and irrigation schemes at greater risks from impacts of flash floods and landslides. The cost of building new infrastructure and repairing existing infrastructure will be high.

In many parts of the world, vegetation has been incorporated in engineering design to protect natural terrain and man-made structures from the problems associated with land degradation, but bioengineering has seen little uptake in Vietnam.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) Capacity Development Technical Assistance project Promoting Climate Resilient Rural Infrastructure in Northern Vietnam demonstrated how non-conventional engineering solutions can strengthen rural infrastructure, resisting the hazards associated with climate change and providing opportunities to enhance community livelihoods.

Objectives included the promotion of effective bioengineering measures in road and riverbank slope protection, and initiating the development of a relevant policy framework so that the techniques employed in these bioengineering demonstrations can be replicated elsewhere in the country. A grant for the project was provided by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) through the ADB. The project was carried out by ICEM in association with Philkoei, working with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

The project focused on rural irrigation, slope stability for roads, riverbank protection, and flood protection works. Lessons learned from the project provided the basis for capacity building activities with local community members, contractors and government staff at local, provincial and national […]