Protecting delicate ecosystems and local culture means offering sustainable economic alternatives to the local communities.
Myanmar is a country that is very rich in natural resources but the lack of land management and damage caused by natural disasters, together with the lack of development of services and absence of diversification of the local economy, are causing worrying environmental degradation and increased poverty which most heavily affects the most disadvantaged groups.
Since 2007 Oikos has been focusing its work on two coastal areas of the country with both a great environmental and cultural value.
The Mergui Archipelago: located in the Tanintharyi Region in the south east of the country, on the border with Thailand, it is an archipelago of more than 800 islands that protect a heritage of biodiversity and the cultural traditions of the Moken people, known as the “sea gypsies”. Lampi Marine National Park is the only protected area of the archipelago and the only marine park in Myanmar.
The Thandwe district in Southern Rakhine: in the west of Myanmar, on the Bay of Bengal, our intervention area includes a great variety of environments and vast forest areas that represent one of the most easily accessible production resources in the territory, therefore fundamental to the food safety of rural communities.
In collaboration with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation of Myanmar we promote the conservation and sustainable management of natural resources of these two areas, with local populations and bodies as stakeholders: rural communities of fishermen, farmers and forest users; local schools and universities; civil society; local and national authorities.
We are involved in the following programmes in the country:
Conservation and enhancement of the natural and cultural heritage of the Mergui Archipelago. The programme includes support for the sustainable management of the Lampi Marine National Park, the enhancement of Moken culture, waste management and the development of eco-tourism and community tourism in order to offer a sustainable economic alternative to the local population.
Creation of community forests in Southern Rakhine. We work for the creation of 15 community forests, training over 450 forest users by promoting environmental education programmes, school gardens and the development of local micro-enterprises. We have one objective: protecting fragile environments of great significance to biodiversity, defending the right of local communities to use the land and offer them sustainable economic opportunities.
Conservation of the Malayan sun bear (Helarctos malayanus). The programme includes scientific research, the training of local actors, reducing the loss of habitat; actions aimed at combating poaching; awareness and environmental education activities to protect one of the rarest tropical bear species in Southeast Asia.
DAFNE - Women, Environment and Community forests for food security in Rakhine