Myanmar

6th press release of the Tripartite Core Group - UN Special Advisor Gambari says Myanmar coordination body is a model

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25 August 2008, Yangon - Following a briefing by Myanmar's "Tripartite Core Group" (TCG), the Special Advisor to the United Nations Secretary-General, Ibrahim Gambari, said that the TCG provided an effective model for cooperation and collaboration between the international community and Myanmar. He said that its work should extend beyond the humanitarian response in the areas affected by Cyclone Nargis to include social and economic development assistance in the rest of the country.

Mr. Gambari met with the Tripartite Core Group (TCG) on 18 August 2008 to be briefed on the post Cyclone Nargis response. Mr. Gambari visited Myanmar for six days at the invitation of the Government.

The TCG Chairman, Deputy Foreign Minister U Kyaw Thu briefed Mr. Gambari on the establishment and the work of the TCG as well as on the national response. H.E. Ambassador Bansarn Bunnag of Thailand, senior ASEAN member in the TCG, reported that the results of the work of the TCG are closely followed in all ASEAN Member States. This was especially so, added Dr. Anish Kumar Roy, the Special Representative of the ASEAN Secretary-General, because ASEAN is keen to develop a coordinated regional post-disaster coordination mechanism.

The United Nations Resident Coordinator Bishow Parajuli highlighted that the TCG provides a unique forum where progress is being made on diverse issues. Its work has built trust and confidence between the international assistance community and the Government of Myanmar to enable the efficient delivery of post-cyclone assistance.

Commenting on these positive reports, Mr. Gambari congratulated the TCG for its successful work thus far and expressed his hope that this effective model for cooperation and collaboration could be expanded in the future, to include humanitarian assistance elsewhere in the country.

On 19th August, Mr. Gambari visited Kungyangone township, south of Yangon, one of the 37 townships severely affected by the cyclone to take stock of the relief and recovery efforts being facilitated through the TCG.

On a separate visit the next day, TCG members visited Seik Gyi and three nearby villages, also in Kungyangone township, to assess how a "model village" project, implemented by ASEAN volunteers, is directly benefiting the storm-hit victims of Nargis. The project aims at facilitating the livelihood recovery of the village, through a phased approach, which includes reparation of religious buildings, water and sanitation activities, and rehabilitation of the agriculture and fisheries sectors. The activities are aimed to be completed within three months. TCG members observed progress being made in the reconstruction of school and religious facilities and donated relief and other items to members of the community. In addition, delegation members met village and religious leaders to discuss the project progress and identify their most urgent needs.

Between 9th June and 18th August, the TCG has facilitated the approval of 1,035 visas and extension of stay permits for officials coming to Myanmar to help in the response activities to Cyclone Nargis. Among the applicants, Mr. Carsten Hillson, Security Coordinator from the United Nations Department for Safety and Security, was the 1,000th person to be granted an entry visa by the TCG.

On 21 July 2008, the 41st ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in Singapore agreed that the mandate of the TCG be extended for 2009 in order to continue the tripartite cooperation for recovery work.

* Note: The TCG is an ASEAN-led mechanism to facilitate trust, confidence and cooperation between Myanmar and the international community in the urgent post-Cyclone Nargis humanitarian relief and recovery work. The TCG started its work on 31 May 2008 and has been meeting at least once a week in a spirit of mutual understanding, trust and cooperation. It has been working closely with the National Disaster Preparedness Central Committee chaired by His Excellency Prime Minister General Thein Sein, Union of Myanmar.

The TCG comprises three members from the Myanmar Government: (Deputy Foreign Minister H.E. U Kyaw Thu who is the Chairman; Acting Director-General, Ministry of Social Welfare and Resettlement U Aung Tun Khaing; and, Deputy Director-General, Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation U Than Aye); three members from ASEAN (Thailand's Ambassador to Myanmar H.E. Bansarn Bunnag; and Dr. Anish Kumar Roy, Director of Bureau for Resources Development of the ASEAN Secretariat alternating with Ms. Adelina Kamal of the ASEAN Secretariat); and three from the UN (UN Humanitarian Coordinator Mr. Daniel Baker; UN Resident Coordinator Mr. Bishow Parajuli; and, a rotating UN agency representative).

For further information, please contact:

Ms. Adelina Kamal
Head, Coordinating Office for the ASEAN
Humanitarian Task Force
Phone: +95 1 544 500 ext 417
E-mail: akamal.aseanhtf@gmail.com

Mr. Aye Win
United Nations Information Centre
Phone: +95 1 546 933, +95 1 542 910 - 9 ext 110, Mobile: +95 9 512 3952
Email: aye.win@undp.org