During November 27 – December 1, WCS initiated training on marine spatial planning to 20 representatives of Myanmar’s inter-agency National Coastal Resource Management Committee (NCRMC). In collaboration with trainers from the GIZ-supported Blue Solutions Initiative, the training workshop introduced participants to key blue planning concepts through case studies, presentations, discussions, and participatory exercises. Co-hosted by the Department of Fisheries and Forest Department, participants represented a wide range of government agencies involved in coastal and marine issues, including the Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise, Land Administration and Record Department, Marine Administration Department, and Ministries of: Hotels and Tourism; Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement; Transportation and Communications; Electricity and Energy; and Planning and Finance. The event was opened by U Khin Maung Maw, Director General of the Department of Fisheries (reference news media).
The training represents WCS’s ongoing technical support to the Government of Myanmar to help advance their recent public commitment to develop a marine spatial plan by 2021. This builds off a recent Marine Spatial Planning strategy, along with an accompanying Marine Biodiversity Atlas that pulls together numerous data sets to help inform decision making. With expanding investments in offshore gas exploration, shipping and trade, industrial development and ports, coastal tourism, and other development projects, marine spatial planning offers a potentially important tool to help plan for rational sea uses, avoid or mitigate conflicts, inform the establishment of new marine protected areas, and help support a sustainable blue economy for Myanmar.