Myanmar is a hotspot for global biodiversity. But recently, Myanmar has suffered from severe environmental damage, especially deforestation. It is estimated that the deforestation rate in Myanmar has reached 1.73%, ranked third place in the list of countries with the highest deforestation rates. Apart from urbanization, need for agricultural development and infrastructure building, reasons for deforestation also include the need of the 70% of the population who live in rural areas for firewood consumption, as well as illegal cutting of timber. Meanwhile, the general capabilities of environmental protection organisations in Myanmar are quite weak, and they lack good problem-solving paradigms when facing issues of deforestation and community development.
Since 2016, the Global Environmental Institute (GEI) has started conducting programmes on ecosystem protection and community development. We have been promoting a contract protection model along with four partner NGOs in Myanmar to carry out community-centred ecosystem protection and human development programmes in areas with rich biodiversity. At the same time, we have been providing trainings for local NGOs in Myanmar, helping them build up higher abilities of organisation and coordination and capabilities to conduct and manage programmes in the contract protection model.
So far, GEI and local NGOs have expanded our programmes to 27 communities. The areas under our protection have reached 70748.1 acres, and over 200,000 residents have been encouraged to participate in our programmes.