Review of the Taninthayi Nature Reserve Project as a conservation model in Myanmar — new report by Pollard, Hlaing and Pilgrim

UK-based con­sul­tancy “The Bio­di­ver­sity Con­sul­tancy” (TBC) has pub­lished a report enti­tled “Review of the Taninthayi Nature Reserve Project as a con­ser­va­tion model in Myan­mar” (authors: E. H. B. Pol­lard, Soe Win Hlaing and J. D. Pil­grim). The study was com­mis­sioned by the Wildlife Con­ser­va­tion Soci­ety – Myan­mar coun­try pro­gram and car­ried out in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Myan­mar For­est Depart­ment. Thanks to Edward Pol­lard for shar­ing the infor­ma­tion. The full report can be down­loaded here and find the pdf here: Review of the Taninthayi Nature Reserve Project as a con­ser­va­tion model in Myan­mar.

Read also what TBC says about the study and the key lessons learned below.


This review doc­u­ments the main ele­ments of the Taninthayi Nature Reserve Project (TNRP). We assess how the model was devel­oped and the project imple­mented, and high­light some key lessons which can be learned. The project involves pay­ments from pri­vate com­pa­nies to sup­port the cre­ation and on-going man­age­ment of a pro­tected area. This public-private part­ner­ship is unique in Myan­mar and could form the basis of a model which can be applied to other devel­op­ments in the country.

All project part­ners who were con­sulted view the project favourably. They believe that the project is con­tribut­ing to the con­ser­va­tion of Myanmar’s bio­di­ver­sity, and this has been done at no oper­a­tional, and only minor finan­cial, bur­den to the com­pa­nies involved. The ini­tia­tive has helped com­pa­nies to suc­cess­fully man­age some non-technical risks asso­ci­ated with oper­at­ing in a sen­si­tive envi­ron­ment with globally-important bio­di­ver­sity. The TNRP com­pen­sates for some impacts on bio­di­ver­sity caused by the pipelines and sup­port facil­i­ties, which has helped to address stake­holder con­cerns. In addi­tion, pro­tec­tion of the for­est area around the pipeline has report­edly reduced the risk of ero­sion dam­age to pipelines and might have con­tributed to improved secu­rity along the pipeline.

Cur­rent best-practice in com­pen­sat­ing for indus­try impacts on bio­di­ver­sity cen­tres on use of the mit­i­ga­tion hier­ar­chy, includ­ing bio­di­ver­sity off­set­ting. We reviewed the TNRP against IFC PS6 the BBOP stan­dard and other key guid­ance. The pipelines and TNRP were not orig­i­nally devel­oped to be in align­ment with these stan­dards and the TNRP is not an off­set. The TNRP thus does not meet cur­rent mit­i­ga­tion or off­set­ting best-practice in many areas. Our review does, how­ever, high­light key lessons learned from the TNRP – par­tic­u­larly if it is adapted as a model for wider use in Myanmar:

  • Impact assess­ments should thor­oughly analyse both direct and indi­rect impacts on bio­di­ver­sity in order to develop a more com­plete under­stand­ing of the impacts.
  • The mit­i­ga­tion hier­ar­chy should be fol­lowed dur­ing the con­struc­tion and oper­a­tion of infra­struc­ture, in order to min­imise the resid­ual impact of the project on biodiversity.
  • In order to iden­tify how much com­pen­sa­tion is enough, it is nec­es­sary to quan­tify bio­di­ver­sity losses from devel­op­ment impacts and gains from con­ser­va­tion activities.
  • Mon­i­tor­ing of actions on the ground is the only way to deter­mine their suc­cess in mit­i­gat­ing resid­ual impacts and reduc­ing back­ground rates of loss in biodiversity.

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