As such, there is an urgent need to have a clearer understanding of the influences and interactions of these and other marine-related activities across Myanmar’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and plan for development sustainably.
Marine spatial planning (MSP) assists with the identification and analysis of current and potential future conflicts through multi-sectoral stakeholder dialogue. This public process typically involves merging decision support science with participatory planning processes. The approach can provide solutions and help to direct policy and allocate human activities through appropriate management mechanisms (e.g. marine protected areas, coastal co-management areas, industrial development areas, allotments for tourism development, and fishery zones) in the ocean space spatially and temporally to achieve ecological, economic, and social benefits.
In South-east Asia, seven out of the eleven countries have started to use MSP processes to better plan and ultimately manage their marine space. However, Myanmar has yet to initiative such a process. To help understand how Myanmar might implement a MSP process, WCS conducted an initial scoping exercise to aid in the long-term planning for marine conservation and development. This strategy is the result of a 6-month scoping process incorporating stakeholder consultations and analysis, data identification and gap analysis. The stakeholders consulted were organizations who have a vested interest in the use of Myanmar’s marine space. They included various ministries within the Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar (GOM) and their line departments, regional bodies, non-governmental organizations – both local and international, research institutes and the private sector.
Building on the GOM’s socioeconomic, biodiversity, forestry and tourism frameworks as part of its National Comprehensive Development Plan, this strategy sets out a five-year roadmap that sets the foundations for developing a national MSP process. This in turn will play a part in securing the irreplaceable natural, social, and financial capital supported by oceans and coasts through a Sustainable Marine Economy for Myanmar.
See also the Myanmar Marine Biodiversity Atlas