Ryuzo Sugimoto says Japan wants to help ASEAN members protect the environment. Nyan Lynn Aung/The Myanmar Times

A water treatment and quality monitoring facility for textile factories in Mandalay will be the first project Japan will fund under its environmental cooperation agreement with Myanmar, officials told The Myanmar Times.

The experimental project will be built in Wundwin township, where there are a lot of textile factories, according to the memorandum of cooperation that is expected to be signed by the two countries early next month, said U Hla Maung Thein, director general of the Environmental Department at the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Conservation (MONREC).

Makiko Arima of the International Cooperation Office, Global Environmental Bureau, in Japan’s Environment Ministry (MOEJ) said she hopes the agreement will be signed soon.

“We are waiting for the agreement to be approved by the government of Myanmar,” she said.

Arima said the funding for the cooperation agreement will be project-based.

“Any funding will be project-based, such as the joint crediting mechanism” she said.

MONREC and the MOEJ held the first Japan-Myanmar environmental policy dialogue on January 15 in Nay Pyi Taw. They agreed to cooperate in reducing carbon dioxide emissions from factories and promoting the use of environmental-friendly technologies.

In a joint statement issued after the meeting, both sides affirmed and recognized the importance of mutual understanding regarding waste management and environmental impact assessment, as well as the urgency to train examiners for the projects.

Ryuzo Sugimoto, director of the International Cooperation Office, Global Environmental Bureau of MOEJ said the Japanese government is trying to boost Myanmar’s capability to respond to pressing environmental challenges, such as air pollution prevention, water quality control, protection of ozone layer and conservation of biodiversity and development of eco-tourism and sustainable cities.

“We have US$5 million or $6 million (K6.61 billion – K7.93 billion) in funding per year for all ASEAN countries,” he said. “We have been assisting environmental cooperation in Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand and look forward to expanding to other ASEAN countries.”

Sugimoto said the Japanese government›s new environmental initiative aims to support ASEAN members in their efforts to protect the environment and biodiversity and prevent marine pollution as part of their efforts to achieve the sustainable development goals.

U Hla Maung Thein, director general of the Environment Department at MONREC, said the agreement between Myanmar and Japan could be signed next month.

He said the prime targets of environmental cooperation between Myanmar and Japan are improvement of air quality, reducing global warming and climate change, conservation of biodiversity, and water quality control.

He said the two countries will also cooperate in waste management, planning, environmental law and practices, and promoting private sector investment in tackling pollution and contamination by factories.

Myanmar and Japan also look forward to future cooperation on environmental impact research, planning the introduction of high-efficiency pumps at pumping stations through cooperation between Yangon and Kawasaki, low-carbon water treatment systems, and promotion of activities in Ayeyarwady Region.

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