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Situation Analysis of Southeastern Myanmar (September 2016) [EN/MY]

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Executive summary

About this report

The Situation Analysis of southeastern Myanmar has been prepared by the Myanmar Information Management Unit (MIMU) and the Peace Support Fund (PSF) as a resource to support programming, strategy and policy across the peace, humanitarian and development sectors. For this purpose, southeastern Myanmar includes the following: Mon State, Kayin State, Kayah State, eastern and southern Shan State, Tanintharyi Region and eastern Bago Region. Information was gathered through a desk review of recent documentation and from interviews with 36 key interviewees which aimed to capture additional information on trends, gaps and emerging areas. A further 32 participants took part in a validation workshop in March 2016 to review key findings.

Analysis in this report is not exhaustive. It is not meant to act as a needs assessment or gap analysis.It is intended to be a first step towards identifying key trends and bringing together a growing body of knowledge and data on southeastern Myanmar. While this analysis included inputs from key interviewees, it did not involve consultations outside Yangon or with interviewees from Government or non-state actors (NSAs), including ethnic armed organisations.

The context

Southeastern Myanmar comprises the States/Regions adjacent to the country’s border with Thailand and Laos, and makes up slightly over 30% of the Myanmar’s land area. The southeastern region is home to approximately 20% of Myanmar’s population of 51.4 million (2014). The area is diverse geographically, characterised by highlands, hilly upland areas, valleys and some areas of flatter, arable land. It has long rivers that mainly flow from north to south, and a long coastline which includes many small islands.

The area shares some common attributes including ethnic diversity and a history of tensions between local leaders and the Government of Myanmar. In parts of southeastern Myanmar, the authority of the central Government has never been fully accepted. After decades of conflict, NSAs continue to hold some territory and have considerable influence in other areas. Associated common issues relate to migration, trade, economic development, conflict and forced displacement. Myanmar’s southeast is, however, neither uniform nor homogenous and the fast-changing area varies widely in its geography, ethnicity, developmental status, culture, and history.

Across Myanmar, a triple transition is occurring: democratic reform and the partial transition from military to civilian governance; economic reform, involving further shifts from a centralised economy to one that is market based; and a national peace process seeking to resolve over 60 years of armed conflict. These macro-level changes affect all parts of the country.

The country’s political transition moved forward in November 2015. The National League for Democracy’s (NLD) election victory came with majorities in all states and regions of southeastern Myanmar except for Shan State. A significant decline in violent conflict has increased stability in many parts and access to previously restricted parts of the area is improving. Since the negotiation of bilateral ceasefires in 2012 and the launch of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) process, opportunities exist to pursue a more comprehensive and sustainable peace.