At the juncture of East, South and Southeast Asia, Myanmar is home to a culturally and ecologically diverse country with rich traditions. In a largely rural but rapidly changing economy, around 54m people of different ethnic and religious groups strive to overcome a legacy of armed conflict, military rule and self-imposed isolation. In spite of substantial progress during the past decade, about 14% of the population is undernourished, 29% of children are stunted and the maternal mortality rate is 282 deaths per 100,000 births, the second-highest in the region.
The Government of Myanmar is managing a challenging transition towards democracy, a peaceful and pluralistic society as well as an open and inclusive economy. Through the Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan (MSDP) 2018-2030, the country is committed to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In 2017, attacks on 30 police posts in Northern Rakhine by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) provoked a violent response by the security forces Executive summary that reportedly resulted in the death of 10,000 people and caused more than 700,000 to flee to Bangladesh. Denouncing the lack of accountability, several Western countries imposed targeted sanctions, private investments slowed, and the country came under increasing international criticism.
Under the integrated Swiss Cooperation Strategy Myanmar 2013-2017, extended through 2018, Switzerland supported initiatives in vocational skills development, agriculture and food security, health, social services and local governance as well as peace promotion, democratisation and protection, with a total expenditure of CHF 179m over 6 years.
Achievements included 16.6m disadvantaged people reached through multi-donor funds for better health and livelihoods, and systems strengthening in vocational skills training, health and land governance.
Working at national level and on the ground in the southeast of the country (conflict-affected Kayin and Mon States) as well as in support of the peace process, Switzerland has earned a reputation as reliable partner.