Friday, August 18, 2017

Eco Dev gauges awareness and interest in climate change

Awareness of climate change and global warming is high in Myanmar, a spokesperson for Economically Progressive Ecosystem Development (Eco Dev) NGO, said last week.

EcoDev released a survey on March 4 as part of Myanmar’s Initial National Communication (INC) on climate change as part of its requirements under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which Myanmar signed in 1992. Every member country is required to make “national communications” or reports on the issue of climate change and some have already made three – Myanmar is just now preparing its initial report, which will be finalised later in the year.

The report targets the effects of climate change in the country, emissions of greenhouse gases and the areas seen as the most vulnerable.

Eco Dev is one of six working groups that are compiling the INC, says U Sein Thet, a project coordinator on the INC.

The Eco Dev survey covered 3300 people in Yangon, Ayeyarwady and Magway divisions and Kachin State, and was compiled throughout October and November last year.

The survey asked respondents questions about their knowledge of climate change; how great their interest in the phenomenon was; what kind of people they thought would be interested in this issue; and in what ways they had been impacted by climate change. “Based on the results, we have some idea where people stand and can adapt strategies for providing environmental education.

“That move will support the formation of the next National Communication,” said U Win Myo Thu, the managing director of Eco Dev.

“People faced Cyclone Nargis and they know at least something about global warming and climate change. Our survey shows they are worried about the planet and they want to save it,” he added.

“This report will help us to get international assistance.”

The survey has three major focus areas: Yangon city, other urban areas, and rural areas. According to the survey 85 percent of people know something about global warming, with the most informed unsurprisingly being NGO workers. The second most knowledgeable were from the media and the third were retired people.

Those who knew the least were listed as dependents, followed by labourers, including farmers and their workers.

The survey revealed that Yangonites assumed they would feel the effects of environmental degradation, while rural people assumed climate change would lead to food insecurity.

Cyclone Nargis meant the loss of property and ill health for those in Yangon, while those in the country were more likely to have seen the loss of family members and livelihoods.

“Three quarters of people who responded that they knew at least something about global warming thought it could be reversed but most of those said they did not know how this could be done. We think we will be able to better educate people on how their behaviour can impact on global warming,” U Win Myo Thu added.