Myanmar’s government is partnering with international NGOs and experts to plan a system of marine protected areas (MPAs) in the nation’s Myeik Archipelago.
Phil Dearden is involved in the planning effort. Mr Dearden leads the Marine Protected Areas Research Group at the University of Victoria (Canada) and has conducted extensive research in SE Asia, primarily Thailand.
MPA News spoke with him about the Myanmar planning process and the array of challenges facing the nation as it builds an MPA system.
During the interview, Mr Dearden said: “Ideally Myanmar will manage tourism development that reaps benefits for local communities and conservation without suffering the negative impacts seen in Thailand.
“This will take very careful planning, implementation, and management in a country where resources, experience, and capacities are limited.
“The NGOs are assisting the Government in its efforts in this regard. To some extent it is a race against time.
“We are seeking to reverse the current destructive marine trends, build sustainable livelihoods, empower communities, and enact good management systems before the additional pressures of large-scale tourism come.
“Only time will tell.”