Myanmar seeks outside help to build 'green economy'

Photo taken in January 2011 shows a woman and her children walking past tyres used as buoys, on Ngwe Saung Beach on the Myanmar shore of the Bay of Bengal. Myanmar urged developed nations on Tuesday to share their green technologies, in the military-backed government's latest effort to reach out to the global community

Myanmar urged developed nations on Tuesday to share their green technologies, in the military-backed government's latest effort to reach out to the global community.

"Being a developing country, we need technological transfer, particularly for the development of renewable energy through solar, wind and tidal power," Environmental Conservation and Forestry Minister Win Tun said as he opened a conference in the capital.

He said the experiences of other countries would "provide an opportunity to develop a road map for green growth for Myanmar."

Myanmar's first-ever Green Economy and Green Growth Forum comes just weeks after the authoritarian regime stunned observers by freezing work an unpopular Chinese-backed mega dam in a rare concession to public opinion.

Myanmar is one of the world's least developed countries but it is rich in natural resources such as oil, gas, minerals and gems.

Hopes of political change in the repressive state have grown in recent months, with efforts by the new, nominally-civilian government to reach out to opponents and introduce tentative steps towards more openness.

Observers say the moves appear to show Myanmar's desire to end its long international isolation, but the trade and financial sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union are unlikely to be lifted anytime soon.

Among those attending the start of the four-day environmental conference was visiting top United Nations official Vijay Nambiar.

The chief of staff to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, arrived in the country on Monday and is expected to meet with government officials and democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi during his five-day stay.

Suu Kyi is set to take part in the final day of the environmental forum on Friday when the event moves to Yangon, the latest in a series of invitations extended to the opposition leader by the government.