Thingyan message of the Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Renata Lok-Dessallien, on Skynet

Mingalarbar! It is a very great pleasure and an honour for the United Nations, to reach out through Skynet to the people of Myanmar on this very special occasion of Thingyan, the Water Festival. Thingyan is such a happy and joyful occasion. It is one of the most wonderful New Year celebrations that I know of. During Thingyan, everyone gets out and sprinkles water on people, old and young, people they know, people they don’t know, Thingyan makes us happy, Thingyan is a great equalizer. We can make fun of ourselves; we can make fun of others; we break down hierarchies and we have a great time altogether. So Thingyan is a fantastic time of year and the United Nations is so happy to be here to be able to join you in this water festival.

Especially this year. The United Nations here in Myanmar, is working with the people of Myanmar and the Government in the course of reform and opening up process. We’re very happy to be here, very privileged, maybe because Myanmar holds a very very special place in the heart of the United Nations. Myanmar was one of the very first countries, that actually recognized the United Nations way back in the 1940s. Only three years after the United Nations was established, Myanmar came forward to sign our Charter. So Myanmar recognized very early on the importance of a world body that could bring countries of the world together to find peaceful solutions to their problems. So first early recognition, we’re very grateful to the people of Myanmar. Thank you Myanmar.

Myanmar also holds a very special place in the heart of the United Nations. It was Myanmar, that offered us our third Secretary-General, U Thant. U Thant was the first ever Asian Secretary-General we had and he joined us in 1961, when the world was a very very different place. We didn’t have cellphones; we didn’t have TVs for many of us; we didn’t have all the communications and transportation that we have today, so when U Thant joined us, many of us were exposed for the first time to an Asian leader. And U Thant taught us a lot about Asia and a lot about Myanmar. We learned about how Myanmar and how Asians go about solving problems; about promoting different views; about working together to solve problems together; so this was a tremendous asset to us and U Thant actually helped in the institution building of the United Nations and for this we are very very grateful. Thank you Myanmar.
We’re also very very close to Myanmar because actually we’re a very diverse body. A very diverse body of a 194 member States and so we know the value of unity and diversity. And Myanmar also knows the value of unity and diversity. Myanmar is a country with many different ethnic groups and is working very hard now to build that unity and to build unity within the respect for the diversity. To understand the points of views and to understand the histories and the cultures of all these different ethnic groups under one unifying umbrella. So for promoting and for pursuing this very very important value in our world today, of unity and diversity, we’re very grateful to Myanmar. We thank you Myanmar.

Thingyan is also about renewing ourselves as we throw water around and we splash everyone and we throw away our tensions and we throw away our troubles from last year. Its also about welcoming in the new year. It’s about renewing our energy and it’s about building our hope; and about refreshing our minds and our spirits so that we can embrace the new year with new energy and new dynamism.
The year ahead will be a very very important one for Myanmar and its also important for the United Nations. In Myanmar, we hope that we will be seeing the signing of the nationwide ceasefire in its final form and that the country will be able to move towards this very important next chapter of the peace process, which is the political dialogue, which will really set down the foundations for what it needs to be the Myanmar State today. Next year will also be an election year for Myanmar and we look forward to this with great enthusiasm. We know that the Myanmar people are also looking forward to it. We hope that the election will meet the expectations of the people; it will be free, fair, inclusive and credible and that the Myanmar people can stand proud after it.

Next year is an important year for the United Nations, because we see the transition from the Millennium Development Goals to a new set of goals. Right now all the members States of the United Nations are working hard to define those goals, Myanmar included. And next year will see the rolling out of this new set of goals called the Sustainable Development Goals. We look forward to partnering with the people of Myanmar and the Government of Myanmar to basically internalize these goals and to help Myanmar prioritize them.

Next year’s also the 70th anniversary of the UN and during this year, this time, the United Nations would like to work hand in hand with the people of Myanmar to celebrate and promote the fundamental and founding values of the UN. The values of the peace and solving problems through dialogue, not through conflict. The values of development, but not just any development – inclusive development. Development for all. Development that’s respectful of the environment. And the values of human rights and basic fundamental human dignities for everyone. For justice and for fairness. So during this 70th anniversary, we’d like to reach out and partner with people of Myanmar who we know resonate so strongly with these principles and these values. And together we to recommit ourselves to them, hand in hand.

So, in this very special Water Festival and Thingyan, we wish you happy times. We wish you all your troubles to be washed away and that you can face the new year with newness, with freshness and with a new sense of energy and commitment.
And I would like to conclude by wishing you, Pyawzaya Thingyan hpyit bar zay (Happy Thingyan)!