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Myanmar Officials Learn New Environmental and Social Standards for the Hydropower Sector

December 2, 2015 —IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today launched an advisory services program to help Myanmar’s Government and private sectors improve environmental and social risk management in hydropower projects. Thirty government officials received the first of several trainings on IFC’s Performance Standards, which reflect good international and industry practices for the hydropower sector.
“If our goal in Myanmar is sustainability, environmental and social risks associated with hydropower projects must be mitigated” said U Khin Maung Win, Director General, Department of Electric Power Planning, Ministry of Electric Power, Union of Myanmar. “As Myanmar’s hydropower sector progresses, we will need the tools and knowledge to ensure sustainability.”
The two-day intensive training introduces officials to IFC’s sustainability framework and how to use IFC’s Performance Standards as a guideline to lower risk. The training is the first in a series of modules to build capacity among officials to raise environmental and social standards and will lead to a new policy guideline for the sector. The training is a result of an advisory services agreement signed between IFC and Myanmar’s Ministry of Electric Power and Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry in September.  
“We need to think beyond developing a policy if we are going to build a more sustainable sector,” said U Nay Aye, Director General, Environmental Conservation Department, Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry, Union of Myanmar. “A deep-rooted understanding of why we need to raise our [environmental and social] standards is essential.”
IFC will also provide training on other important areas, such as downstream flows management, benefit-sharing arrangements, addressing cumulative impacts from cascades of dams, and stakeholder engagement.
IFC, with the support of the Australian government, also hosted an inception workshop for stakeholders in Myanmar this week. Participants discussed important issues around environmental and social risk management of the hydropower sector drawing on stakeholders’ experiences and interests. About 60 stakeholders from government, NGOs, CSOs, private sector, and development partners attended the workshop.
“Partnerships between private sector, CSOs, and government are key to drive change in Myanmar’s hydropower sector,” said Vikram Kumar, IFC’s Myanmar country manager. “Only by strengthening environmental and social standards can Myanmar’s hydropower sector contribute to sustainable growth.”
In Myanmar, about 68 percent of its population does not have access to electricity. The government has set a target of covering 50 percent of the population by 2020. The World Bank Group supports this effort through financial assistance to both public and private sectors to increase generation capacity, expand the distribution grid, and upgrade power supply facilities in rural and urban areas.
About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. Working with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, we use our capital, expertise, and influence, to create opportunity where it’s needed most. In FY15, our long-term investments in developing countries rose to nearly $18 billion, helping the private sector play an essential role in the global effort to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity.
For more information, visit www.ifc.org
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