in Dalah, Myanmar, board boats for the morning commute to Yangon.
Passengers on Irrawaddy River in Dalah, Myanmar, board boats for the morning commute to Yangon. © Michael Yamashita

Stories in Myanmar

Healthy and Productive Rivers

We are focusing in the upper Ayeyarwady River (also known as the Irrawaddy River).

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The upper Ayeyarwady basin secures the headwaters of Myanmar’s longest and most economically important river and contains biodiverse protected forests as well as production forests important for the country’s economy.

In addition, most residents of the upper basin are fishers and farmers that depend heavily on healthy rivers and forests to supply their basic needs.

Myanmar has three economically, ecologically and culturally important rivers. The Nature Conservancy takes a systematic and comprehensive approach to river planning by ensuring that new energy infrastructure is guided by landscape-scale planning and the application of a decision framework to avoid major biodiversity impacts, minimize other impacts, and offset any remaining, unavoidable impacts.

In Myanmar, we will identify emerging opportunities in the upper Ayeyarwady, a river famous for its freshwater biodiversity, to conserve freshwater resources. By 2030, our goal is to ensure that approximately 1,000 miles of tributaries in the upper Irrawaddy are effectively managed. Our strategies are to:

  • Test and employ Development by Design to meet objectives for river health and electricity generation;
  • Explore watershed management policy options; improve freshwater science;
  • Ensure communities have a voice in management decisions;
  • Help companies incorporate sustainable practices; and
  • Channel funds toward sustainable watershed development.

Myanmar's Dolphins

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In Myanmar,  humans and the endangered Irrawaddy dolphin fish together in a century-old practice, but this unique partnership is threatened by electrofishing.