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Myanmar, Norway initiate cooperation in environmental conservation

By Feng Yingqiu

YANGON, May 2 (Xinhua) -- Myanmar and Norway have sought cooperation in environmental conservation sector as part of their bilateral cooperation, initiating a letter of intent on the move in its latest development.

The Letter of Intent between Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry of Myanmar and Ministry of Climate and Environment of Norway covers undertakings on preservation of biodiversity and forests in Myanmar, water resources preservation and water resources administration in Sittoung and Bago river basins, development of world-famous tourist site of Inlay Lake in Shan state and betterment of social economy of ethnic minorities residing around the lake.

Besides, cooperation for putting Inlay Lake into world heritage list, implementation of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+), promoting cooperation with NGOs in environmental conservation tasks, development and poverty alleviation schemes were also covered by the two countries' intention.

Conservation of water resources, development of ecotourism industry and enhancement of technology expertise and human resources between Myanmar and Norway were also brought to the agenda.

Myanmar leadership occasionally invited Norwegian companies to invest in Myanmar's energy and information and technology sectors, while Norwegian entrepreneurs showed great interest in making investment in social and environmental conservation.

In June 2013, Red Cross Societies of Myanmar and Norway signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in carrying out some communal projects in Myanmar such as logistics development project, water and sanitation emergency preparedness and response and health development project.

In support of Myanmar's democratic reform, Norway took a leading role among the European Union countries in clearing Myanmar's debt and lifting sanctions on the country in 2012.

The improved bilateral relations brought about a visit to the Southeast Asian nation by Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg in the year when a Norwegian Embassy was opened in Yangon.

Myanmar will reduce international debt of over 6 billion U.S. dollars including the relief of 534 million dollars' debt Myanmar owed to Norway after coordinating with creditor countries of Paris Club in January 2013.

Norway's move prompted the visit to the European country by President U Thein Sein in 2013.

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