The Republic of the Union of Myanmar possesses a topographical feature dominated by a horseshoe-shaped mountain complex (the highest peak in Southeast Asia) and the valley of the Irrawaddy River system. Lying on the crossroad of two of the world’s great civilizations – India and China – the culture greatly influenced by Buddhism and lived by its diverse peoples – Bamar, Kachin, Kayah, Kayin, Chin, Mon, Rakhine, Shan – reflects this multi-ethnic diversity.
Gradually emerging from international isolation with a first general election after 20 years in 2010, Myanmar has seen investments coming from major economies like China, India and South Korea. One of the least developed in the world economically, Myanmar is a largely rural, densely-forested country and is also the world’s largest exporter of teak and a principal source of jade, pearls, rubies and sapphires. The country has a highly fertile soil and important offshore oil and gas deposits.
A country of 60 million, Myanmar’s majority population – 90 percent – relies on biomass for their daily domestic energy needs, with wood providing for more than 80 percent of the energy used for cooking. Forest degradation is a major concern, with an annual deforestation rate of 2 percent.
GERES in Myanmar
In 2014, GERES began work in Myanmar supporting a global switch to sustainable consumption and production. By working with government and local communities and through market-based mechanisms, GERES and its partners aim to alleviate rural and energy poverty by promoting and enabling sustainable use of natural resources among the population.