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

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, Centre for Vocational Training, 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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Quality apprenticeships for disadvantaged populations

01.12.2013 - 31.01.2018

The SDC is committed to developing quality vocational training that is adapted to the market in Myanmar. With this aim in mind, Swiss experts from the hotel industry have become involved. Apprenticeships for disadvantaged groups are funded in the capital and in the south-east of the country.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Myanmar
Education
Vocational training and skills development

01.12.2013 - 31.01.2018


CHF 18'900'000



Regeneration of neglected villages in south-east Myanmar

A nurse receives patients at the entrance to a health centre.

01.09.2013 - 14.08.2017

In Myanmar, the villages close to the Thai border have seen more than six decades of conflict. Geographically isolated, and in some cases under the control of armed indigenous ethnic groups, these villages are beyond the reach of central government authority. Their inhabitants must do with infrastructures that are in a perilous state. Working alongside the affected communities and other partners, the SDC is committed to restoring basic services, with the particular involvement of the young people in the region.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Myanmar
Conflict prevention and transformation
Health
Education
Civilian peace-building and conflict resolution
Formal basic education (primary and lower secondary)
Primary health care

01.09.2013 - 14.08.2017


CHF 5'091'000



Planned project

Primary Health Care

01.01.2022 - 31.10.2024

After years of underinvestment in the social sectors and decades of civil war, access to basic services is low, in particular in the rural areas of the southeast of Myanmar. This project aims to improve people’s health through a primary health care approach in selected townships of the region, both in Government and Ethnic Armed Group controlled areas, strengthening basic services, empowering communities and supporting convergence of health systems.


Rights & Skills Mekong Migrants

01.01.2021 - 31.12.2024

Labour migration to Thailand is an important livelihood strategy for poor families in Cambodia, Laos, and Myanm ar. The majority of migrants currently work as low skilled non-regulars for minim um wages. The project will im prove the poverty reduction contribution of migrant workers, especially of women, through pre-departure and in-service skills and life skills training, resulting in jobs with higher incomes, and through policy influencing for regularization, resulting in better employment and safer working conditions.


Planned project

Strengthening Policy and Practice for Land Governance

01.06.2020 - 30.09.2023

In the rapid transition to a democratic market economy, control over land is at the centre of a struggle between smallholder farmer-based and industry-led agricultural growth. This project works with both government and civil society to create institutions and practices that increase smallholder farmer land tenure security, including for women and ethnic minorities, through improved access to information and increased capacities, knowledge and skills.


Joint Peace Fund

01.04.2017 - 31.03.2026

After 60 years of conflict, the government and 8 Ethnic Armed Groups have signed a National Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) in October 2015, opening up a unique opportunity to find lasting peace. The Joint Peace Fund is a multi-donor fund set up to channel coordinated international support for such efforts, including the implementation of the NCA and following political dialogue of the peace process, a requirement for development especially in border areas.


Strengthening democratic local governance

01.12.2016 - 30.06.2026

The project aims at supporting the democratic transition and the peace efforts in Myanmar. Using a decentralized budget support approach to all townships of one state in the Southeast of the country, it will strengthen township’s participatory planning and budgeting capacity. The project will also deepen the community’s capacity to demand public services. Additionally it will support national level policy discussions based on this experience.


Strengthening Community Resilience to Natural Hazards (DRR), Rakhine State

07.06.2016 - 31.12.2017

This project targets the major problems identified as the causes of inadequate resilience of communities, institutions and schools in coastal and urban areas in Rakhine State: a) limited Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) awareness, understanding, resources and capacity at community, school and government levels; b) lack of focus on investing in critical facilities for mitigating, preparing and responding to disasters; c) high frequency of hazard exposure and vulnerabilities in the target townships.


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.


DRC: Promote and support an environment conducive for durable solutions in Rakhine State

01.06.2016 - 31.05.2018

This project supports a more comprehensive protection action in Rakhine State in Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM), Protection and Livelihoods. Through this action DRC (CCCM) will strengthen camp-based protection structures in Sittwe and Pauktaw Townships, and implement Community Based Protection, minimum Gender-based Violence (GBV) prevention and response services, including livelihoods, in Mrauk-U and Kyauktaw Townships.


UNHCR, Protection Secondment, Yangon

01.06.2016 - 30.07.2017

The conflict in Kachin State broke out in mid-2011 and has left approximately 100,000 people displaced across Kachin and northern Shan States to date. UNHCR operates as part of the inter-agency humanitarian response mechanism in these areas; its main interventions include protection monitoring and support, shelter construction and renovation, support to camp management, and inter-agency coordination on behalf of the Cluster/Sector which includes the information management with the different stakeholders.


UNHCR, Protection Secondment

01.06.2016 - 30.07.2017

As the lead agency for the Protection Sector, UNHCR facilitates the coordination of the humanitarian response with primary attention to the situations in Rakhine and Kachin/northern Shan. Initiatives include protection mainstreaming, support to community-based protection groups, psycho-social support for women, and the development of referral pathways and protection assessment tools.

Currently UNHCR Myanmar deploys Coordinators for the Protection as well as Shelter / Non-food items (NFI) / Camp Coordination & Camp Management (CCCM) Clusters who lead the coordination activities at the national level. The proposed position of the SDC/SHA Secondment (Field Officer Coordination) will assist the two coordinators with their respective day-to-day work.

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