High Level Roundtable on Water Security and the SDGs - Myanmar

Coinciding with the meeting of the GWP Steering Committee (SC), a High Level Roundtable on Water Security and the SDGs was held in Yangon, Myanmar on May 24, 2016.

The High Level meeting builds on the multi-stakeholder panel that GWP organized at the invitation of the High Level Experts and Leaders Panel on Water and Disasters (HELP) during the Second UN Thematic Session on Water and Disasters. The High Level event in Yangon is designed to be a milestone in the new democracy of Myanmar, accelerating the already consolidated IWRM, DRR and WASH activities ongoing under the guidance of the Government of Myanmar and the World Bank.

"It is most fitting and timely for the country to express its capability and keen interest under the new democratic government," said Prof. Dr. Khin Ni Ni Thein, a GWP SC member and Secretary of the Myanmar Water Think Tank. "The High Level Round Table meeting seeks to identify possible challenges to address the inherited impacts from past governments on the water sector. It may contribute to the reforms which the new government, led by the Nobel Peace Prize Winner Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who at present undertaking the duties of the State Counselor and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, would like to carry out. This High Level event would bridge the past with the present as well as help building a meaningful work plan for the future not only for Myanmar but also for the ASEAN members."

The meeting is expected to benefit from the experience and strategic vision of several key Regional Organizations with which GWP collaborates in Asia and that have knowledge on water security and SDGs.

The main objective of the High Level Meeting is to contribute to the well-being of the people of Myanmar and of South East Asia in general through setting the scene for improved governance and management of water resources and therefore sustainable and equitable development in a water secure region.The specific objectives are as follows:

  • To reconcile existing National and Regional Strategies / Programs aiming at reaching Water Security with the SDGs and the 2030 Development Agenda approach. The Meeting will focus mainly on five SDGs, namely SDG 5 (Gender), SDG 6 (Water and Sanitation), SDG 11 (Cities), SDG 13 (Climate Change, DRR), SDG 17 (Partnerships).
  • To illustrate the importance of national partnerships and regional cooperation as key vehicles for the implementation of the SDGs as highlighted in the 2030 Agenda, under Goal 17 that could be implemented in the South Eastern Asia Region.
  • To support the Government of Myanmar in promoting water high on the national development agenda.

The outcomes of this Meeting will be presented to the High Level Panel on Water that will be held in June 2016 and other relevant High Level Panels.

Myanmar is currently undergoing an important water sector reform. The country has frequently suffered from destructive earthquakes, water-related extreme weathers such as cyclones, periodic flooding, as well as droughts, which resulted in many losses and damages including landslides, with major challenges in terms water quality control and wastewater management, quite similar in fact to the challenges that other countries in the South East Asian region are facing. 

In the past years, Myanmar has shown impressive strides towards integrated and sustainable water resources management, supported by the core of Myanmar’s academia and civil society leaders locally and from abroad. Myanmar’s water activities are recognized by its neighbors in South East Asia as well as by UN Agencies.

Photo: Fisherman in Myanmar