The UN System in Myanmar takes a multifaceted approach to peacebuilding support. We draw on global experience in peacebuilding and on the diverse expertise of individual UN agencies to support the peace process and deliver peace dividends to the people of Myanmar.
The UN in Myanmar recognises that supporting the evolving peace process in Myanmar is a delicate undertaking that requires flexibility, resourcefulness and dedication. The UN works with the Myanmar government, ethnic organizations, and civil society to identify and fill gaps in expertise and knowledge related to prevention of conflict, strengthening peacebuilding, encouraging inter-communal dialogue and peaceful coexistence; and partners with local and international organisations to deliver services, encourage conflict sensitive approaches, and attend to the needs of vulnerable groups like women and children. This conflict prevention and peacebuilding work is linked with and complements the UN’s other work on development, humanitarian assistance and human rights.
The UN System in Myanmar is headed by the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, who provides leadership and coordination to the UN System’s support to the Myanmar peace process. The UN’s support to Myanmar’s peace efforts also includes the engagement of the Department of Political Affairs, the UN Development Programme Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, the Peacebuilding Support Office, and the special mandates and operational capacities of the UN agencies, funds and programs present in the country as well as non-resident agencies with programmes in Myanmar.
UN response in Myanmar
The agencies comprising the UN Country Team (UNCT) have invested $22 million in interventions that have directly and indirectly supported the peace process and peacebuilding in recent years. It should also be noted that a significant and increasing proportion of the UN’s day-to-day work being carried out under the respective mandates and technical expertise of UN agencies is contributing to preventing conflict and strengthening the foundations for peace.
- Addressing forced labour abuses stemming from conflict, including by introducing community‑based labour intensive infrastructure work and market appropriate skills training. These actions create employment opportunities, develop livelihoods and introduce decent work practices to communities, and support reconciliation between previous parties to conflicts by building new relationships based on respect for human rights and human dignity.
- Through training, empowering ethnic youths in Mon and Kayin states to break free of the cycle of mistrust and suspicion between different ethnic groups, promote a culture of inclusion and peaceful resolution of conflicts, and become peace-builders in their communities.
- Recognising that Myanmar’s peace process is closely linked to its democratic transition, the UN works with union, state and local governments to bolster their democratic governance capacity and build strong institutions. This involves supporting public administration reform and strengthening sub-national governance including of civil society organisation (CSO) networks and rural women’s groups; increasing access to justice and rule of law; providing advisory services to the executive, legislature and judiciary; and targeted capacity building training for parliamentarians.
- Supporting community resilience and inter-community trust through socio-economic assistance to conflict and disaster affected communities; facilitating interaction and dialogue between communities and decision-makers; and targeted peacebuilding training for local administrations, non-state actors and CSOs.
- Promoting peace through education, culture, science and the free flow of ideas and knowledge, including by training journalists and teachers to deliver conflict sensitive reporting and education.
- Creating ways for multi-ethnic and multi-religious communities to come together – for instance, through establishing joint markets, agro-service centres, and constructing dams, bridges and schools – with a view to building mutual trust and encouraging peaceful coexistence.
- Working with and mediating between conflict parties, partner NGOs and government service providers to allow children living in conflict-affected areas to attend school, receive medical care and social support services, and access sanitation facilities. Bringing parties together around the needs of children helps to build relationships, which contribute to conflict resolution.
- Monitoring of and reporting on underage recruitment and use of children in armed conflict, as dictated by UN Security Council Resolution 1612 on Children and Armed Conflict.
- Supporting the Centre for Diversity and National Harmony (CDNH) with funding support from the UN Peacebuilding Fund. CDNH is an independent non-governmental organization that was established in Myanmar to enhance social harmonisation, peaceful coexistence and mitigation of violence, with a particular emphasis on intercommunal violence.
- Providing life-saving food assistance or cash based transfers to people who have been displaced by conflict (internally displaced people, or IDPs) in Kachin, northern Shan, Rakhine states, and to vulnerable and food insecure people in Mon and Kayin states and Tanintharyi region.
- In conflict settings, addressing gender based violence (GBV) – which creates barriers for women and young girls to participate in peace building processes – to contribute to lasting peace in the community.
- Bringing together ethnic health organization and government to work collaboratively on building capacity in maternal and child health service delivery. This work has created a space for trust building between ethnic health organizations and government departments that were divided by decades of internal conflict.
Going forward, the UN will continue to accompany the peace process in Myanmar and look for opportunities to support all the stakeholders in their efforts to build lasting peace. While respecting Myanmar’s peace process is nationally owned, the UN stands ready to continue assisting domestic efforts to promote enduring peace and national harmony.