Faculty of Economics’ Professor So Sasaki gives lectures for young talents in Myanmar on environmental economies issues

On, February 28th, 2023, Professor So Sasaki, Faculty of Economics, gave an online lecture toward young talents in Myanmar regarding with the environmental economies.

The lecture was held by “TEAM Environment in Myanmar”. This voluntary team mainly consist of Japanese companies which involves environment sector in their business lineup, and Japanese companies eager to develop business in environment sectors. They exchange opinions on common issues or long-term outlook regarding how to cope with the environmental area or how to deal with a new decarbonized market.

In a discussion, it was agreed that it is vital to foster the human talent specializing in environmental sector in Myanmar. Since the military takeover occurred in Myanmar in February 2021, the educational institution such as universities are still closed and a considerable lingering impacts are there as of March, 2023, disturbing and creating a blank period to build a structure for fostering human talents.

Considering such context in this country, the Team Environment in Myanmar is holding the “Team Environment Education Seminar” intended for environmental sensitive companies, Japanese company’s personnel in charge of strategy planning of environment/ SDGs/ Carbon Neutral or those who are in charge of putting those into practice, International bodies such as UN, or university students. They believe that fostering potential environmental human talents through this seminar will contribute to environmental friendliness in Myanmar.

Our Professor So Sasaki took the rostrum on the very first day of the seminar, with the theme of “Environmental Economics, and Waste Management.” There were 68 audiences from Myanmar’s private companies and university students.

In the seminar, the actual practices in Japan were shared in order to convince that legal restraints are essential for the environmental business market to function properly, and confirmed how designing policies and business models in an economic analysis ways are material when considering environmental issues economically. Then, discovered problems from actual cases of ELVs(End of Life Vehicles)in Myanmar※1 and discussed about the necessary measures and international corporation that needs to be taken. As for the conclusion, it was specified that, looking into aimed circular economy in the perspective of economics, economical model of decreasing resources consumption along with adding value is required.

After the lecture, there were time for Q&A where an active discussion took place. Below is one of the question being ask, Q: “What are the problems and potentials for Myanmar when building circular economy?” A: “The biggest problem is the fact that Myanmar has no detailed regulations of Environmental Law System yet. However, the country has a potential of leapfrogging when regulations are enacted and administered. Concretely speaking, by employing IT techniques and track information, you can ensure the traceability of “from waste to recycling material” process, and we are implementing experimental works to constitute basis of circular economy.”※2

Teacher’s Mumbling

It was when I was sent to Myanmar in 2001, as part of the International Exchange Program organized by the Cabinet Office※3, that I decided to be “a professional of international corporation in environmental area”. It took a while for me to show my gratitude to Myanmar, and it was not until I got a chance to support the enactment of Waste Management Law in the country as an expert of the Ministry of the Environment’s project, “Research and Countermeasures for Improving Ability of Waste Management in Myanmar”. Unfortunately though, just before giving the final presentation, the project was forced to halt due to the political change occurred in February, 2021. When I was at loss what to do, I received an email from one of the central governmental officer who didn’t attend the Civil Disobedience Movement saying, “even if the government has changed, we cannot stop processing waste every day”. The note made me realize that I am yet to be a professional and decided to corporate within the scope of my abilities. So when I heard the project of this seminar from the member of “TEAM Environment in Myanmar”, I needed no second bidding. Considering the situation Myanmar is facing now, it is not easy to say to people to “be in hope,” but it will be really great if only a little of my message is sent to those who should lead Myanmar in the future, “please don’t stay away from learning”.

※1Learn more from Hokkai-Gakuen Organization of Knowledge Ubiquitous through Gaining Archives
※2 Learn more about “Construction of a smart resource recycling system”;
※3 Cabinet Office Homepage