Myanmar

Switzerland supports Myanmar in four areas of cooperation:  employment and vocational skills development; agriculture and food security; health, social services and local governance; and peace promotion, democratisation and protection.  The geographic focus is south-eastern Myanmar.

Map of Myanmar
© FDFA

Myanmar, with a population of 60 million, is in the midst of three major transformations: from an authoritarian military rule to democratic governance; from a centrally-planned to a market-driven economy; and from 60 years of armed conflict to consolidated peace.  Yet progress is constrained by continued distrust between ethnic, religious and political groups; the continued monopolisation of resources by an economic elite; and weak social services and institutions.

Switzerland aims to contribute to the steady construction of peace and an open, democratic society, the reduction of chronic poverty, and the growth of a sustainable national economy. All stakeholders within the federal administration coordinate their activities using a common approach. Key partners in the development cooperation are:

  • Swiss NGOs: Swisscontact, 600 young people
  • Government and authorities at central, state and district level
  • Local NGOs
  • Representatives of ethnic groups
  • International NGOs: Norwegian Refugee Council
  • Multilateral organisations:  UNFPA, WFP, ICRC, UNICEF, OCHA, UNHCR, IOM, UNOPS (United Nations Office for Project Service)

Vocational education and training

Training and access to employment

Switzerland works in cooperation with all the key partners (the government, private sector, development agencies) to expand training opportunities for young and disadvantaged people in rural areas, and to meet the high training needs of the tourism industry. It is also committed to policy changes in the vocational skills development sector in Myanmar (qualification framework, certifications mechanisms, standards).

Basic education and vocational training

Agriculture and food security

Access to land and productive resources for farmers

Switzerland is committed to supporting the adaptation of national policies related to land use and natural resources management at the policy level. At the local level in south-eastern Myanmar, it supports initiatives to promote smallholder rubber production value chains in the coastal low land and sustainable use of aquatic resources in the Gulf of Mottama. Food assistance is also provided in critical and emergency situations through partners such as the World Food Programme (WFP).

Agriculture and food security

Health, social services and local governance

Access to health care, infrastructure and decision-making

Switzerland is committed to improving access to quality health care services in the rural areas of south-eastern Myanmar, with a focus on maternal, child and newborn health. It also supports the development of the health system in Myanmar at the policy level.

Improving community infrastructure such as schools, roads and health centres remains one of Switzerland’s important contributions in Myanmar's remote and post-conflict areas. An initiative to strengthen the voice and capacity of civil society organisations and the local authorities in the country's current development debate is also being supported.

Health

Promotion of peace, democratisation and protection

Supporting the transition to a peaceful and inclusive society

In the area of peacebuilding, Switzerland provides direct support to the parties in negotiation by providing advisory services to government and ethnic groups, and promotes a broader inclusion of civil society and women in the negotiation process.

Swiss engagement for democratisation aims at increasing the acceptance of democratic values and norms within Myanmar society. It strengthens the legal framework by assisting relevant reforms (e.g. electoral system, judiciary) and by advocating for the ratification of key international instruments. In all its activities special consideration is given to vulnerable groups, in particular internally displaced persons, refugees, returnees, children and victims of mines.

Gender equality – gender and women's rights

History of cooperation

Greater commitment following the political upheavals

Switzerland has been involved in the Myanmar since 1994, primarily through the SDC's Humanitarian Aid Department. In November 2012, Switzerland opened an embassy in Myanmar. Swiss humanitarian activities are being complemented by a broader programme to support the transition to democracy, consolidation of peace and poverty reduction. Myanmar is part of the SDC’s regional Mekong programme.

Engagement in fragile contexts and prevention of violent conflicts

Current projects

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Gulf of Mottama Project (GoMP)

15.04.2018 - 31.12.2021

One of the greatest challenges in the current reform process in Myanmar is the governance of natural resources. In the globally significant wetlands of the Gulf of Mottama (GoM), this project strengthens the capacities of government and communities to effectively manage, govern and value its coastal natural resources to sustainably improve livelihoods of people depending on them, while reducing the pressure on natural resource and conserving its unique environment and threatened biodiversity.


Generating Rubber Opportunities project (GRO)

01.01.2018 - 31.12.2021

The production of natural rubber is a key livelihood activity of farmers in Mon and Kayin State and northern Tanintharyi region. CARE International is mandated to implement a Market Systems Development project to work with all market actors and particularly the support institutions (meso level) for improving information, market access and access to inputs for 25,000 farmers as well as improving working conditions of particularly women in rubber plantations.


Regional and Local Economic Development in the East West Corridor (RLED-EWEC)

01.08.2017 - 31.10.2019

The “Regional Local economic Development – East West Corridor” Project (RLED-EWEC)” has been implemented since 2013 by the Mekong Institute, an intergovernmental organisation with the mandate to build human resources capacities in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS). The proposed two year phasing out will consolidate and scale up results. 5’500 smallholder farmer households will increase income and the environment for cross-border trade will be improved.




Strengthening Land Governance

01.06.2017 - 31.05.2021

In the past 12 months, close to 10’000 claims on land were registered with state/regional governments. This project addresses land issue from three different angles: 1) OneMap Myanmar, implemented by the University of Bern, facilitates multi-stakeholder processes based on accurate land data; 2) the Land Core Group is THE voice of Civil Society in policy making around land; and 3) the Transnational Institute builds the capacity and networks of ethnic civil society organisations for their effective participation in policy and peace processes.


Emergency support to IRC integrating GBV services, Protection and Health for conflict-affected communities in Rakhine State, Myanmar

01.06.2017 - 31.03.2018

This project will allow IRC to provide protection, GBV and health services to respond to identified urgent needs of conflict-affected communities in Rathedaung in Rakhine State, Myanmar, through a 7 months integrated protection, Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and health response. Both, Muslim and Rakhine communities will benefit from the outcomes of this project.




Emergency response to address malnutrition through improved nutrition, mental health and care practices in Maungdaw District, Rakhine State

01.05.2017 - 31.05.2018

The violence that took place on October 9 2016, and the ensuing insecurity across Northern Rakhine State (NRS), resulted in the suspension of humanitarian services in the area. Many of the affected people missed out on their seasonal food assistance, school feeding and regular nutrition support for at least three months, resulting in a significant negative impact on the food security, health and nutritional status, and mental health of vulnerable families. With this emergency response, Action Contre la Faim (ACF) will address increased malnutrition through an integrated program, which aims to reduce child and Pregnant and Lactating Women (PLW) undernutrition, mortality and morbidity.


Township Democratic Local Governance (TDLG)

01.12.2016 - 31.12.2020

In Mon State, with a traditionally strong Swiss presence, the project promotes a participatory, inclusive and transparent process around development grants, in order to improve the delivery of basic services at Township and village levels. Together with the state’s authorities, with the aim of including the governance structures of the Ethnic Armed Groups, the living conditions and space for democracy for the local people in ten Townships should improve with tangible development results.


Mekong River Commission (MRC) – Strategic Plan 2016-2020

01.06.2016 - 31.12.2020

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) has been supporting the Mekong River Commission (MRC) since the signing in 1995 of the “Agreement on Cooperation for the Sustainable Development of the Mekong River Basin (a.k.a. “1995 Mekong Agreement”) by the governments of Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam until 2005. In 2011, SDC reinstated its support and contributed to 3 of MRC’s Programmes, namely the Basin Development Planning, the Environment, and the Flood Mitigation and Management Programmes. Currently, SDC supports the MRC with a contribution of CHF 7.5 million to a multi-donor basket fund for implementing the new Strategic Plan 2016-2020.

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