71st UN Day Commemoration in Shwe Pyi Thar

On the occasion of UN Day 2016, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Ms. Renata Dessallien met with the community at the Water Purification Plant in Shwe Pyi Thar. Photo: RCO/Ko Ko Latt

As prepared for delivering

Allow me to begin with expressing my sincere appreciation to the community of Shwe Pyi Thar for hosting us today on the occasion of the 71st Anniversary of the United Nations.  Today we celebrate that seventy-one years have passed since the world took the defining step of establishing the United Nations.  This creation, coming in the wake of two world wars, was prompted by a desire to prevent armed conflict and ensure world peace.    

Over time, the work of the United Nations has gradually expanded its work to include helping the world to address a wide range of challenges including extreme poverty and neglect; social injustice; deaths from treatable diseases; gender-based violence; violence against children; the destruction of the environment and extinction of species, to name but a few.  

In November of last year, virtually every nation in the world, endorsed a framework that brings all these strands of work together under a clear set of global objectives.  This is called the Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs, and it establishes milestones for all nations to achieve by 2030.  There are 17 specific goals including to eradicate poverty, eliminate hunger, provide education, ensure gender equality, work with clean energy, address climate change, and establish peace and justice.

unct_mm_UN Day_speech Renata_Shwe Pyi Thar

It will not be easy to achieve these goals, and there is much to be done in the years ahead.  As difficult as this may be, I am also inspired by places like Shwe Pyi Tar which have made real progress through a very locally owned and driven process.

Myanmar has a longstanding partnership with the UN which started on 19 April 1948 when Myanmar became a member of the UN. Myanmar has since made many significant, and sometimes extraordinary contributions to the UN. Myanmar offered the UN its third Secretary-General, U Thant, who steered the world though an historically important period from 1961-1971, and who successfully dealt with many complex international situations.

One dimension of the UN-Myanmar partnership is the assistance that UN agencies provide to the country. The UN’s support to Myanmar’s government and people is carried out through the work of 17 specialized agencies, with nearly 2,000 staff, and more than 60 offices spread across all of the nation’s States and Regions.

The UN’s work in Myanmar focuses on several strategic areas, one of which is Humanitarian Assistance.  This includes the provision of food, shelter and basic services to families affected by the flooding or displaced by fighting.  Another major area of assistance is Human Rights. This has many dimensions including pushing for an end to forced labour and use of child soldiers, combatting human trafficking and child labour, promoting of labour standards, and ensuring that children have access to basic documentation such as birth certificates.   

The UN is also involved in peacebuilding activities in Myanmar.  In recent years the UN has accompanied the peace talks between the Government and Ethnic Armed Organizations.  The UN agencies on the ground have worked on a number of related issues such as mine risk education, promoting dialogue in conflict-affected areas, support to IDPs and refugees, and more recently becoming involved in the implementation of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement, and specifically supporting the ceasefire Joint Monitoring Commission (JMC).

Last but far from least, the UN undertakes a wide variety of development programmes in Myanmar.  This includes programming related to health, education, the environment, women’s rights and empowerment, the environment, children’s right, governance, economic, livelihood as well as housing and land tenure issues.

The UN’s development effort includes the work we are celebrating today in Shwe Pyi Thar.  This community, working in partnership with UNHabitat and Shae Thot, with generous support of USAID, has successfully installed a sustainable water purification system.    But beyond the technical aspects of water purification, it has developed a sustainable way of distributing the water and covering the costs of operating the system.   In doing so, they have helped ensure the long-term health and well-being of their town, as well as made a positive contribution to the local economy.

This type of work stands as an outstanding example for all of how communities can make concrete and lasting improvements through their own initiative and effort.  We are grateful for the contribution of our partners, and extend our warmest congratulations to the people and leaders of Shwe Pyi Tar for this excellent achievement.   

On behalf of the UN System here in Myanmar, I extend our sincere gratitude to the Government and people of Myanmar, for their support to the United Nations, and for the organization of this special event.
Thank you – Kyay zu tin bar deh.