To investigate how the River Basin Management Approach, in line with the objectives of the Myanmar National Water Framework Directive can be used as a legal and administrative framework for IWRM in Myanmar. The purpose is how this can be further replicated in other basins in the country.

Sittaung river

Background/ Justification

The National Water Resources Committee (NWRC), the national APEX body for the governance and management of water resources in Myanmar adopted the Myanmar National Water Framework Directive in 2014. This directive which is a policy framework includes seven principles (sub-directives referring to the aim of implementing the river basin management approach in Myanmar.

The MNWFD also refers to biological, chemical, hydro-morphological water quality elements and the aim of reaching good ecological status (healthy river). The aim is to gain a broad basis of experience from implementing the approach in Myanmar. Based on such experiences, national operational rules and regulations can be developed in Myanmar. 

Objectives and activities

  • Continuation of River basin management approach in Bago Sub-basin after adopting Bago River Sub-basin Management Plan.
  • River basin management in Shwegyin River Sub-basin, including practical water management tasks.
  • Implementation of the River Basin Management Approach in the Upper Part of the Sittaung River Basin Area
  • Involvement of Non-Governmental Stakeholders across different ethnic groups
  • Coordination across authorities of Bago and Shwegyin River Sub-basins
  • Piloting the River Basin Management Approach in Taninthary River Basin Area, a different eco-region


Outputs achieved by the end of 2020.

The Myanmar National Water Framework Directive in Bago Sub-basin:

  • The Bago Sub-basin Area Programme of Measures (POM) has been updated and agreed by the partners, the Bago Sub-basin Area Committee and the Non-governmental Stakeholder Group (final version agreed 2020). Find the POM here for downloading. The Bago Sub-basin Area Committee was established during the first phase of the project and consists of Bago Region, District and Township authorities. The Bago Non-governmental Stakeholder Group consists of civil society actors, NGOs and CBOs. For more information on achievements during the IWRM I project see publications.
  • The Bago Sub-basin Area Water Management Plan identified exposure of waste as an important environmental pressure. It was suggested to establish a Bago Waste Group consisting of both experts from the Committee and the Non-governmental Stakeholder Group. This resulted in the establishment of the project, Bago Waste (2020). The project is a direct follow up of the IWRM project first phase. Find information about the project here.

The Myanmar National Water Framework Directive (NWFD) in the Shwegyin Sub-basin. Find the minutes from workshops and meetings in Shwegyin here.

Exploring the local interest: Initial meetings with departments and civil society actors in Shwegyin were organized on April 2019. The purpose was to inform and to explore the local interest in being a pilot case for the River Basin Management (RBM) approach. The meetings were organized in Shwegyin.

  • Identifying institutional arrangements for the sub-basin pilot: Workshops were arranged to discuss institutional arrangements of the NWFD pilot in Shwegyin, one with Bago authorities, and one with CSO, CBOs NGOs and civil society. An institutional set up for the pilot was agreed and identified (see more on this in the folder for downloading).
  • Mapping water resource users and their usage and- pressures:Committee and Non-governmental Stakeholder Group meetings were organized on November 27th and 28th 2019 to discuss and map water resource users, their usage and- associated challenges. This is an important first step of the water management cycle. The subsequent steps of the cycle include: identifying environmental objectives and identifying the programme of measures. The final aim is the production of the Shwegyin Sub-basin Area Water Management Plan.
  • Identification of environmental aims in different water bodies in Shwegyin considering water uses and pressures: The Shwegyin Sub-basin Area Committee and the Non-governmental Stakeholder Group meetings to discuss environmental objectives were organized on February 26th and 27th 2020.

  • Water sampling by Shwegyin local monitoring team: Enabling knowledge-based decision making:  A local team consisting from Shwegyin Forest Department and civil society actors were trained in water sampling during early 2020. Subsequently, Water sampling were undertaken by this local team assisted by the project national expert team (Watershed Management Division Forest Department, and the Irrigation and Water Utilization and Management Department), in May, July, September and November. The samples have been analyzed at the Forest Research Institute National Water Laboratory in Nay Pyi Taw, at the Irrigation and Water Utilization Management Department in Yangon, and at the Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA) in Norway. Data is available for downloading from the database established by the project (server at the Forest Department).

Publications from first (2015-2018) and second phase (2019-2023) of the programme