Opening Remarks by UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator ai Knut Ostby at inter-ministerial meeting of the Government of Myanmar and the Committee for Implementation of Recommendations on Rakhine State

04 December 2018

Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar

 

Your excellency, Union Minister of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, U Win Myat Aye, Dignitaries, Distinguished Participants, Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen.

I am pleased to be here today and deliver opening remarks at this inter-ministerial meeting organized by the Government of Myanmar and the Committee for the Implementation of the Recommendations on Rakhine State.

I would like to recognize the Government and the Committee for its commitment to prioritize the recommendations and commend them for their leadership in their implementation.

The world recognizes it is a tremendous task. Yesterday, the Myanmar Times reported that His Excellency Union Minister Win Myat Aye “urged the public’s help in implementing the recommendations.”

Allow me to assure you that we stand ready to support you.

When we last met on 13 August, I said in my opening remarks that “we are prepared to redouble our efforts” in supporting the government to implement the recommendations.

Our commitment to work with you is as strong as ever. This is documented by the numerous statements for their implementation, including by the UN Secretary-General.

Your Excellency, ladies and gentlemen,

The Rakhine Advisory Commission’s report remains the seminal policy document.

Endorsed by the government, it provides the best way towards a “Peaceful, Fair and Prosperous Future for the People of Rakhine”.

I thank the Government and the Committee for Implementation of the Recommendations for leading the process and organizing the meeting at inter-ministerial level.

The participation of high-level decision makers from various ministries is essential for turning the recommendations into actions on the ground.

The recommendations will be implemented only if the process is carried out under national ownership and leadership.

Today’s meeting can be pivotal in terms of the UN’s and international support to the work of the national institutions.

This forum could be the platform for dialogue and collaboration as was repeatedly suggested by the participants of the August workshop.

Holding today’s meeting was a strategic decision, and I congratulate the Government and the Committee for making it happen.

Now, allow me please to make a proposal that could contribute to further advancing the implementation agenda.

My suggestion is for us to collectively embark on preparing a work plan.

The work plan would outline the sequence and timing of actions leading to the implementation of the recommendations. And, it could envisage some roles in the collaboration – who can help with what?

To help with implementation, it would be useful to have the Government – international community collaboration in all areas of Rakhine and in all sectors.

I should mention that some such work is already ongoing. For example, through bilateral programmes, the UNHCR-UNDP Memorandum of Understanding, cooperation with Red Cross, WFP as well as development agencies. This should continue in parallel with a broader engagement. 

Clearly, the timeline will have to recognize that not all the recommendations can be achieved at once.

But, the ambition to implement all 88 recommendations should be the workplan’s central organizing idea.

This will set us on the path to achieving the vision of “Peaceful, Fair and Prosperous Future for the People of Rakhine”.

In the last workshop in August, I had informed you about our “Strategic Framework for International Engagement in Rakhine”.

The framework is based on and supporting the implementation of the recommendations of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State.

The framework can be a stepping stone towards a joint work plan.

It has always been our intention to deploy expertise and resources through transparent and efficient operations – under the Government’s leadership and ownership.

Please count us in. We are committed to help you implement the Commission’s recommendations.

Excellency, ladies and gentlemen,

I would like to acknowledge also the Government-led workshop on the strategy for sustainable solutions for the IDPs held last week in Naypyidaw.

We intend to support that process and we will continue to provide the Government with comments on the national strategy, of course, in accordance with international principles.

These are encouraging developments. I commend the Government and the Committee for demonstrating leadership and recognizing the value of regular discussion and coordination with the international community.

To this end, let me make a second proposal: I hope that today’s consultation can be the first of many. If participants today think this is useful, we can come together on a regular basis to consult and cooperate for the implementation of the Recommendations.

We stand ready to support your work leading to realizing the vision of “Peaceful, Fair and Prosperous Future for the People of Rakhine”.

 

Thank you for your attention.