2015 was a very significant year for Myanmar, marked by two historic milestones: the signing of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) in October which brought the country one step closer to ending one of the world’s longest running civil wars; and democratic elections of the national and local parliaments in November resulting in a landslide win by the National League for Democracy (NLD), led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. Both events have reinforced the country’s democratic transition which began a few years ago.
UNDP has been present in Myanmar since the 1960s. The current country programme 2013-2017 aims to help Myanmar manage a “triple transition”: nation-building, including securing sustainable peace with ethnic minorities; state-building, including democratizing and modernizing state institutions; and economic liberalization, moving the country towards a more open, fair, responsible and transparent market system.
In 2015 UNDP’s country programme continued to provide support to Myanmar’s democratic transition, making specific contributions in the fields of public administration reform, decentralization and improved service delivery. UNDP seized the momentum of the political transition to foster the launch of various institutional reform initiatives and built coalitions among national stakeholders such as national, local governments, civil society and international development partners. UNDP also facilitated South-South knowledge sharing, provided direct policy advice, and helped to establish a knowledge base through a nationwide mapping exercise on the state of local governance in Myanmar.
UNDP’s work on parliamentary development also continued in 2015. UNDP forged a strong partnership with the national parliament, and helped build capacities of region and state assemblies as well as those of parliamentary staff and enabled MPs to discharge their legislative, oversight and representative roles more effectively.
The unprecedented floods and landslides that affected Myanmar in July and August of 2015 demonstrated the vulnerability of the country to natural disasters. UNDP was at the forefront of international support to national stakeholders for an effective transition from relief to recovery after large parts of the country were affected by the floods and landslides. UNDP is the lead agency in the UN system, partnering with the government’s Recovery Coordination Centre, for undertaking recovery and rehabilitation needs assessments (including a post-disaster needs assessment). UNDP helped to coordinate activities across ministries, between national and local authorities, in partnership with private sector, civil society and international actors. In addition, UNDP provided direct livelihoods support to thousands of households in Rakhine and Chin States, where the disaster’s impact was most severe, and encouraged a “build back better” approach to recovery efforts.
UNDP supported the successful conduct of the 2015 national and local elections (the first multi-party general elections since 1990), with the procurement of over 50,000 solar lamps which allowed transparent vote counting in polling stations without access to electricity including those affected by the floods, and the provision of indelible ink to all polling stations, which addressed concerns about possible double-voting.
2015 was also an important year at the global level, with the adoption by UN Member States of a new Global Agenda for Sustainable Development, including agreement on 17 new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a new agreement on climate change as well as a new agreement on disaster risk reduction. UNDP provided support to the Government of Myanmar to prepare for and participate in all these events.
It is a privilege for UNDP to support the people and government of Myanmar in their quest for more inclusive, just and sustainable development. We are very grateful to all our partners, including our donors, for their very generous support and engagement in UNDP’s work.
UNDP stands ready to provide whatever support is required to assist Myanmar’s democratic transition and the country’s path towards a peaceful and resilient future.