With an extraordinarily rich natural heritage and global conservation value, Myanmar is a strategic country in terms of biodiversity conservation. The country is home to 10% of the world's freshwater turtles and tortoises on just over 1% of the world's land area, and at least 250 mammal species and more than 1,000 bird species. Its forests are some of the most extensive and intact in Southeast Asia.
IUCN has been working closely with the government of Myanmar since 2013. In 2014, Myanmar joined Mangroves for the Future (MFF) as the 11th member country. MFF's work in Myanmar is overseen by the National Coordinating Body (NCB), which is chaired by the Director General of the Forest Department. While consolidating the NCB as the central committee for marine and coastal affairs, the NCB will address priority policy issues including sustainable mangrove use and management, Marine Protected Area (MPA) design, and protecting near-shore fisheries for small scale fishers.
In 2016, a Host Country Agreement (HCA) to establish an IUCN Office in Myanmar was signed by IUCN and the government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar. This lays the foundation for future collaboration on addressing challenges and maximising opportunities related to biodiversity conservation and sustainable development in the country.
IUCN has assisted the Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry (MOECAF) with the preparation of a revised National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) for 2015-20. IUCN has also been involved in conducting research on the corals and marine resources in the Myeik Archipelago. Results of the research helped form the basis of a conservation strategy for the archipelago that also includes a Marine Protected Area system based on robust science.