Climate Change, REDD+ and Forests in Myanmar
The effects of climate change are already apparent in Myanmar. They include increasing temperatures, more frequent and intense storms, and changes in weather patterns. The 2009 monsoon period was reportedly shorter than usual, bringing lower than average rainfall in central regions, but torrential rain and localized severe flooding in southern parts of the country.
Though Myanmar is under no obligation to reduce its GHG emissions, it has, nevertheless, conducted mitigation options assessments in each relevant sector and the development of National Strategies for GHG Emission Reductions. Furthermore, it has formulated sector development plans to support programs on National Greenhouse Gas Inventory and Vulnerability and Adaptation Assessment. Additionally, the government of Myanmar has developed mechanisms to mitigate carbon emissions.
With regards to REDD+, Myanmar has taken some initial steps: A REDD+ Task Force was established in 2010, and meets at monthly intervals, although so far it only includes staff from the Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry (MOECAF). Myanmar has also actively been participating in ASEAN level meetings and supporting the ASEAN common position on REDD+ implementation through its engagement with the ASEAN Social Forestry Network (ASFN).
Weak governance and inadequate capacity in Myanmar have proved a challenge in forest protection so far. Although there has been decentralization process through formation of regional governments, the centralized state system may still present considerable challenges in the effective development, implementation, and monitoring, reporting & verification (MRV) of REDD+, as well as the distribution of REDD+ benefits to local people.