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Injecting environmental considerations into a basic transport plan can be tricky.
Upscale the plan to a country-wide, integrated transport master plan, add in major political change, and the achievement is even more impressive.
But for Master of Diplomacy / Master of Environmental Management and Development (EMD) graduate Hiroto Yamauchi, it is all part of the job.
The environmental specialist graduated from Crawford School in 2006 and now works for Oriental Consultants Co., Ltd, an engineering consultancy firm based in Tokyo. The company was engaged by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in 2013 to formulate the transport master plan for Myanmar.
“It was a challenge,” admits Yamauchi.
“The project was one of the first to be carried out by JICA in the country. There was limited information and data; a lack of experience in, and the mindset for, environmental consideration and project implementation in general; and an inadequate legal framework for environmental conservation.”
But potential roadblocks aside, Yamauchi says it is an honour to be part of the project – particularly since Myanmar is undergoing historical change. For him, the transport plan parallels the nation’s political aspirations in size and scope.
“One of the priority projects aims to improve the existing 620 km railway line that connects the country’s two major cities (Yangon and Mandalay). I am expected to continue working as an environmental expert in this project’s detailed design stage,” says Yamauchi.
A key consideration for Yamauchi is both environmental sustainability and sound development in developing countries.
“Balancing different interests is always not easy and can be frustrating at times, but I believe it is an indispensable step to reaching my goal,” Yamauchi says.
“As a consultant and an environmental expert in particular, I need to work and coordinate with a number of stakeholders, ranging from our clients, the Myanmar government, NGOs and local people each of which normally possessing distinct views and interests.”
Yamauchi says his degree has provided him with a strong grounding for his current role.
“What I learned through EMD is what I am currently putting into practice through the projects,” he says.
“It helped me develop both a micro- and telescopic point of view, which I believe is necessary for considering ways to correctly address the issues.
“In addition to an academic base, I managed to develop close friendships through ANU that I am certain will last a lifetime.”
Just as his study has helped Yamauchi fast-track his career, he hopes to get Myanmar’s public transport back on the road. It promises to be an exciting journey.
The Master of Diplomacy/Master of Environmental Management and Development is offered by the Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy and Crawford School in the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific http://asiapacific.anu.edu.au/students/gradcourse/environment-developmen....
Article by Belinda Thompson.