Myanmar is the largest country in mainland South-East Asia, and is rich in natural diversity, with large extents of intact forests - some of the larger tropical forest areas remaining in the world - numerous rivers and wetlands, and a long and diverse coastline. 
This rich biodiversity is however under increasing threat. The country’s opening-up to foreign investments in 2011 resulted in increased pressures from commercial overexploitation of animals and fish, agricultural expansion, logging and large infrastructure developments. Additionally, climate change is expected to intensify in the coming years, and Myanmar is expected to be one of the countries with the greatest impacts. Agriculture, fisheries, and the extraction of natural resources are the main livelihoods for millions of Myanmar’s rural people. Land, forest, water, and fisheries are depleted and continue to decline; management systems have changed little since the colonial era, with local communities excluded and marginalised from most resources.
At the same time, conservation measures - especially protected areas - are seriously underfunded and inadequately managed. Marine conservation is in its infancy, with just a small fraction of the marine realm under protection. Overall, Myanmar’s conservation and impact management measures are inadequate to safeguard the country’s unique biodiversity.
The current political situation adds new uncertainties and major challenges. The process of democratization and opening-up was patchy and difficult, and has faced a major reversal. Any improvements in poverty reduction and biodiversity conservation are similarly at risk due to the current political uncertainties. The legacy of poor management leaves Myanmar and its 53 million people (who represent ethnically diverse groups) as one of the poorest countries in the region. Future development and conservation trends are likely to decline, and future industrial investments are expected to decline in both volume and environmental standards.
Objectives & Activities


Develop data and tools to support spatial planning and decision-making to avoid and mitigate impacts on priority biodiversity and support progress towards national biodiversity objectives in coordination with stakeholders

Indicative Activities: 

  1. Develop and launch online access platforms to biodiversity data for Myanmar, including in Burmese language, for use by government, industry and the public
  2. Work with the Myanmar Biodiversity Fund (MBF) and relevant partners to identify roles and responsibilities, legal frameworks, financing guidance and other components for development of biodiversity offsets.

The Myanmar Biodiversity Fund is a partner on this project as it is the first and only trust fund incorporated in Myanmar, with an intention to support biodiversity conservation.   The Trust Fund was formally established in July 2019, and has been developing basic structures and operational procedures.

  • Developed a pilot Biodiversity Data Porta, the Ziwa Zone, to showcase biodiversity information for Myanmar
  • Capacity building work with local partners and collaborators is ongoing.
Resources & Products

Below you will find some of the resources we have produced:

© Diane Detoeuf/WCS, © Efard Arevr/ WCS