Readout of the Secretary-General’s meeting with H. E. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, State Counsellor and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Myanmar

The Secretary-General met today in Beijing with H. E. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, State Counsellor and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Myanmar, on the occasion of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.

The Secretary-General and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi discussed the United Nations’ support to the democratic transition in Myanmar, the peace process and the way to a fair solution addressing the root causes of the current crisis in Rakhine State.

Beijing, 15 May 2017

UN RESIDENT AND HUMANITARIAN COORDINATOR RENATA DESSALLIEN’S VISIT TO KACHIN STATE

United Nations

Nations Unies

 Office of the Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Republic of the Union of Myanmar

MEDIA RELEASE

UN RESIDENT AND HUMANITARIAN COORDINATOR RENATA DESSALLIEN’S VISIT TO KACHIN STATE

UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Myanmar, Ms Renata Dessallien, visited Kachin State from 7-9 May 2017 to meet with people displaced by armed conflict, senior Government officials, civil society organizations and humanitarian partners.

Ms Dessallien met with U Khat Aung, Chief Minister of Kachin State as well as representatives of humanitarian and other organizations including the Joint Strategy Team (JST) to discuss the humanitarian and development needs of all communities in Kachin State.

The Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator also visited the Pa La Na IDP Resettlement Site and the Maina RC and Maina KBC IDP Camps to see first-hand, the impact of the conflict on vulnerable communities. She also observed a programme implemented by the World Food Programme (WFP) using mobile cash transfers for humanitarian assistance for displaced people in Myitkyina and visited a Women and Girls Centre managed by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA).

Background:

In Kachin State, as a result of the armed conflict that restarted in 2011, about 86,000 people remain displaced in 141 camps/sites, of which about 77 percent are women and children. More than 40 per cent of the displaced people are located in areas beyond Government control where international actors have limited humanitarian access but where local humanitarian organizations continue to be able to operate, despite increasing constraints.

During December 2016 and January 2017, three entire camps housing more than 6,000 people in areas beyond Government control in Kachin were emptied as a result of fighting nearby and these people are now sheltering in temporary sites or other IDP camps, some of which are in Government controlled areas. With fluid front lines and so many people on the move in conflict areas, there are serious risks posed by landmines.

 RC/HC with recently arrived IDP woman. Maina RC IDP Camp. Kachin State

RC/ HC with a group of women in Pa La Na, Kachin State.

Taking the wheel on road safety

Op-ed by Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh,

Regional Director for WHO South-East Asia

 

Taking the wheel on road safety

Why good public policy holds the key to safer roads

Motor travel has had a profound impact on the modern world. Road networks have linked communities. Local transport systems have changed lifestyles. And ever-greater mobility has advanced social and economic progress. The simple joy of driving, meanwhile, has rapt enthusiasts since an engine was first hitched to four wheels and a drive shaft.

And yet despite these common goods, there is a tragic downside: mass injury, disability and death. In the WHO South-East Asia Region approximately 316 000 people die every year on our roads, equating to around 865 fatalities each day. Twenty to 50 times that number are injured or disabled and require long-term care. Road fatalities are the leading cause of death among young persons, while road safety incidents are costing upwards of 3% of GDP. That’s before accounting for medical expenses.

This devastating toll is often chalked up to rising rates of vehicle ownership. Not true. High income countries account for just 10% of road deaths, despite having 46% of the world’s motor vehicles. It is also explained away by reference to ‘human error’. That’s a fallacy. The vast majority of ‘accidents’ could have been avoided by better use of road safety technology such as barriers, rumble strips or signage. Their impact could also have been lessened by safer vehicles.

Though the behavior of road users matters, poor public policy is at the root of the problem. The upshot? Good policy can bring about immediate change. Action in four key areas can diminish injury and death on roads across the Region, and help achieve the Sustainable Development Goal of halving the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents by 2020.

First, road safety authorities must have the data needed to act efficiently. Good data allows authorities to analyze and understand the factors causing road crashes, as well as to devise and implement cost-effective solutions. This could be as minor as installing a guardrail on a switchback, or as substantial as demolishing a high-risk road and building it anew. Clear lines of responsibility and partnership among government agencies and stakeholders can help this process, especially given the problem’s multi-sectoral nature.

Second, infrastructure must be tailored to the needs of vulnerable road users. On average 50% of road deaths across the Region occur among pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. In some countries this figure rises to more than 80%. Bicycle lanes, pedestrian crossings and enforcement of helmet laws among other interventions can dramatically reduce these numbers. And they can do so in a way that makes our cities less car dependent.

Third, motor vehicles must be manufactured to higher safety standards. Just two of the Region’s countries currently apply any of the seven priority international vehicle safety standards, such as seat belts and electronic stability control. Not a single country applies all. Priority safety features should be present in all new vehicles; the inclusion of more advanced technologies should be encouraged. Consumers have immense power in making this happen, and in creating a groundswell for national regulations to be harmonized with global standards.

Finally, responsiveness to post-crash emergencies must be increased. When every second counts, a nationwide emergency phone service is critical. So too are efficient pre-hospital response and hospital trauma care systems. On all counts, more work is needed. In addition, steps should be taken to enhance early rehabilitation and support for road crash victims. This will help avoid long-term complications and enhance quality of life. It will also reduce health care usage over the life-course.

Still, as safe as our roads become, they will never be entirely human-proof. Each one of us can limit the prospect of an incident and protect ourselves and our loved ones by slowing down, by desisting from drink-driving, by using seat-belts and child restraints, and, when riding a motorcycle, by wearing a helmet. These actions will reinforce government-led initiatives, and will also promote society-wide change.

This emphasis on broad-based ownership is crucial. Though motor travel is a welcome marker of development and increased autonomy, its public health impact is shared across society. As motor vehicle ownership in the Region increases, and as countries seek to advance public health and productivity, creating safer roads through good public policy is both readily achievable and necessary. Taking the wheel on road safety is a duty that cannot be foregone.

Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, elected SEARO Regional Director at the WHO Executive Board meeting, Geneva. Tuesday 21 January 2014. Photo WHO / Violaine Martin

UNITED NATIONS RESIDENT AND HUMANITARIAN COORDINATOR SPEECH FOR WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY 3 MAY 2017

UNITED NATIONS RESIDENT AND HUMANITARIAN COORDINATOR
SPEECH FOR WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY
3 MAY 2017
Excellency, Union Minister for Information Dr. Pe Myint,
Excellency,  Minister Counsellor of the Embassy of Sweden to Myanmar Mr. Johan Hallenborg.

Dear Media colleagues and colleagues from the UN,
Mingalabar Shin and a very good morning to you all.
It’s an honour for me to read to you the UN Secretary General’s message on World Press Freedom Day 2017:

“Journalists go to the most dangerous places to give voice to the voiceless.

Media workers suffer character assassination, sexual assault, detention, injuries and even death.

We need leaders to defend a free media. This is crucial to counter prevailing misinformation.

And we need everyone to stand for our right to truth.

On World Press Freedom Day, I call for an end to all crackdowns against journalists – because a free press advances peace and justice for all.

When we protect journalists, their words and pictures can change our world.”

… and now, let me say a few words of my own.
I would first like to pay tribute to one of the most revered journalists in Myanmar, U Win Tin, who won the prestigious UNESCO Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize back in 2001.  At that time, sadly, U Win Tin was actually in prison and as we all know, a prison is no place for a credible journalist.
Myanmar and media freedoms have certainly come a long way since then.  Like U Win Tin, and others, Myanmar continues to produce great journalists.  Last year, Myanmar produced its first Pulitzer Prize Winner, Esther Htusan, of the Associated Press, who together with her colleagues, won the Award for Public Service Journalism, when their stories of trafficked Myanmar fishermen broke the news and resulted in the freedom of more than two thousand Myanmar fishermen, and made countries in the region look into their laws to protect migrant workers.
This year’s World Press Freedom Index released by Reports without Borders saw Myanmar climb 12 places compared to the previous year as expressed by the Minister just now. This represents strong efforts being made by the Government in Myanmar.
Myanmar has come far, there is no question about that.  But there are still 130 countries ahead of Myanmar on the World Press Freedom Index and more efforts need to be done.  There are still, for example, concerns raised on the safety and security of journalists.  Just last year, Excellency Dr. Pe Myint  presented an award on behalf of  the President, to Myanmar Now journalist, U Swe Win who ended the servitude of two housemaids at a Yangon tailor shop. U Swe Win’s courageous reporting on sensitive issues in Myanmar led to him receive death threats.  Likewise, the death of a Monywa-based Eleven journalist remains unresolved. Journalists need protection.
There are high expectations on increased media freedoms under the present Government.  The media in Myanmar have made significant progress.  They have set high standards for themselves and expect the support of the Government in helping them to reach these standards.   Higher media standards require access to information, including Government sources and to areas in strife, in order to report credibly, based on verified information.  Credible media does not produce fake news.  Credible media does not vilify people, incite hatred or make character assassinations.   In order for credible media to do its job, support must be given to remove barriers.  Whether these barriers are physical, psychological, or censorship — either imposed or self-imposed, they should be a thing of the past in today’s Myanmar.
In conclusion, on this World Press Freedom Day, let us honour the brave journalists who have sacrificed a great deal, including in some cases, their very own lives.  Media freedom is the fourth estate and the foundations of a healthy democratic society, governed by the rule of law and open and transparent.
Thank you very much, Kyay zuu tin bar deh.

Myanmar New Year Message by Renata Dessallien, UN Resident Coordinator

Myanmar New Year Message by Renata Dessallien, UN Resident Coordinator

(As broadcast on Skynet TV)

မဂၤလာပါရွင္ Mingalarbar Shin and warm greetings on this very special occasion. Thingyan is a special time for reflection, for meditation, and it’s also a time for joy and celebration. We reflect in order to improve ourselves, to improve our frame of mind, and our actions moving forward. And we celebrate to spread joy and enthusiasm and loving kindness to everyone around us.

The government of Myanmar has just reflected, on its first year in office and it has drawn lessons from that experience and re-committed itself to the will of the people, moving forward. And United Nations system is similarly reflecting, learning lessons and re-committing itself to the will of the people of Myanmar. Myanmar is a very special country.  On the one hand, history has not always been kind to Myanmar. And even today, many people still have very difficult lives because poverty still persists and inequality persists and even violent conflict erupts sometimes on the border regions of Myanmar.

But on the other hand, Myanmar is the country of great treasures and I’m not only speaking about material treasures. Treasures such as the very rich natural resources that Myanmar enjoys. But I am also thinking about human treasures and spiritual treasures. And here for me, I feel the one of the most precious treasures of Myanmar lies in the heart of the Myanmar people.

And I am speaking about the Myanmar spirit of generosity, the Myanmar spirit of oneness and solidarity with people who are suffering. And the spirit of loving kindness. This special quality of Myanmar, this treasure, has placed Myanmar at the very top of the list of countries for giving in the world. Myanmar is No 1, among all countries in the world for giving. And its not just giving for friends and inner circle of family and friends, its giving for everyone.

I was here in the year 2015, during the very massive floods in Myanmar where 12 out of the 14 states and regions were affected by the floods. And everyone came out to help whether they was young people, old people, whether it is rich or poor, girls or boys, everyone came out to pitch in and to try to help. It was on a very very inspiring moment where this Myanmar spirit of generosity flourished and it was at that time I felt very strongly that the future of this country is very bright.

We all know that Myanmar is in a process of nation building, great progress has been made and much remains to be accomplished. And its my hope and my prayer that as the people of this country and the government move forward and take this big nation-building steps for peace, for development, for democracy, for human rights, justice and equality for all. That the spirit of generosity and loving kindness will influence the process, so everyone will feel included, everyone will feel respected and everyone will feel valued because I believe in this way, a very great future is guarantee for this great country. And on this Thingyan I wish everyone very happy, joyful festivities.

Happy New Year Myanmar, Congratulations, Myanmar.  Kyay Zuu Tin Bar Deh!

ျမန္မာႏိုုင္ငံဆိုုင္ရာ ကုုလသမဂၢဌာေန ညိွႏိွုင္းေရးမွူး Renata Dessallien ၏ ျမန္မာႏွစ္သစ္ကူးသ၀ဏ္လႊာ

ျမန္မာႏိုုင္ငံဆိုုင္ရာ ကုုလသမဂၢဌာေန ညိွႏိွုင္းေရးမွူး Renata Dessallien ၏ ျမန္မာႏွစ္သစ္ကူးသ၀ဏ္လႊာ

(Skynet TV မွတဆင့္ထုတ္လႊင့္သည္။)

မဂၤလာပါရွင္

အခုလို ထူးျခားတဲ့ အခ်ိန္အခါသမယမွာ ေႏြးေထြးစြာ ႏႈတ္ခြန္းဆက္သပါတယ္။ သၾကၤန္ကာလကေတာ့ပစၥဳပန္ အေျခအေနေတြသံုးသပ္ဖို႔၊တရားအားထုတ္ဖို႔၊ ေပ်ာ္ပြဲရႊင္ပြဲ က်င္းပဖို႔ အခ်ိန္အခါပါ။ ဒီလိုသံုးသပ္တာကၽြန္မတို႔ရဲ႕ ကိုယ္နဲ႔စိတ္ ေရွ႕ဆက္လုပ္ေဆာင္မဲ့ လုပ္ငန္းေဆာင္တာေတြကို ပိုျပီးတိုးတက္ေကာင္းမြန္ေစ ပါတယ္။ ေပ်ာ္ရႊင္မႈေတြ၊ စိတ္အားထက္သန္မႈေတြနဲ႔ ေမတၲာတရားေတြကို လူတိုင္းစီကို မွ်ေဝျပီး ဆင္ႏႊဲက်င္းပတဲ့ အခ်ိန္လဲျဖစ္ပါတယ္။

ျမန္မာအစိုးရအေနနဲ႔ သူတို႔တာဝန္ထမ္းေဆာင္တဲ့ ပထမႏွစ္မွာ အေတြ႕အၾကံဳေတြျပန္လည္သံုးသပ္ျပီး သင္ခန္းစာမ်ား မွတ္ယူျခင္းျဖင့္ လူထုရဲ႕ဆႏၵကိုေဖၚေဆာင္ရန္ျပန္လည္ ကတိက၀တ္ျပဳျပီး ေရွ႔သို့ခ်ီလ်က္ရွိပါသည္။ အလားတူ ကမာၻ႕ကုလသမဂၢအေနနဲ႔လည္း သင္ခန္းစာမွတ္္ယူသံုးသပ္ျပီး ျမန္မာျပည္သူလူထုရဲဆႏၵေဖၚေဆာင္ႏိုင္ရန္ ၾကိဳးပမ္းေနပါတယ္။ တစ္ဖက္မွာ ျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံဟာ အရမ္းကိုထူးျခားတဲ့ ႏိုင္ငံျဖစ္ျပီး၊ သမိုင္းေၾကာင္းမွာ အျမဲတမ္းလြယ္ကူခဲ့တာေတာ့ မဟုတ္ပါဘူး။ ဒီေန႔အခ်ိန္အခါမွာ ျမန္မာျပည္သူအမ်ား ခက္ခက္ခဲခဲ ရင္ဆိုင္ေနရတဲ့ ဆင္းရဲခ်ိဳ႕တဲ့မႈေတြ ရိွေနရသလို၊ တစ္ျပိဳင္ထဲမွာပဲ နယ္စပ္ေဒသလို ေနရာေတြမွာျပင္းထန္တဲ့ပဋိပကၡ  ေတြရိွ ပါတယ္။

တျခားတစ္ဖက္ကိုၾကည့္ရင္ ျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံဟာ အရမ္းထူးျခားေကာင္းမြန္တဲ့ အဖိုးတန္ရတနာေတြရိွတဲ့ ႏိုင္ငံပါ။ ရုပ္ဝတၳဳရတနာေတြကိုပဲ ကၽြန္မေျပာေနတာ မဟုတ္ပါဘူး။ အဖိုးထိုက္ရတနာဆိုတာ ျမန္မာျပည္ပိုင္ ေပါၾကြယ္ဝတဲ့ သဘာဝ သယံဇာတေတြရိွသလို၊ လူသားအရင္းအျမစ္နဲ႔ စိတ္ပိုင္းဆိုင္ရာ ရတနာေတြ ရိွေနတာပါ။ ျမန္မာျပည္သူေတြရဲ႕ ႏွလံုးသာထဲမွ ကိန္းေအာင္းေနတဲ့ အဖိုးတန္ဆံုးရတနာတစ္ခုကို ကၽြန္မခံစားေနရပါတယ္။

၂၀၁၅ ခုႏွစ္ထဲမွာ ျမန္မာတစ္ႏိုင္ငံလံုးရဲ႕ တိုင္းနဲ႕ျပည္နယ္ ၁၄ ခုမွာ ၁၂ ခုေလာက္ ေရးလႊမ္မိုးမႈဒဏ္ကို ဆိုးဆိုးဝါးဝါးခံစားခဲ့ရခ်ိန္ ကၽြန္မရိွေနပါတယ္။ အဲ့ဒီ့အခ်ိန္မွာ လူၾကီးလူငယ္၊ ဆင္းရဲခ်မ္းသာ၊ က်ားမမေရြး လူတိုင္းေရွ႕ထြက္လာျပီး ဒုကၡေရာက္ေနသူေတြကို ကူညီဖို႔ၾကိဳးစားအားထုတ္ လာၾကပါတယ္။ အဲ့ဒီ့အခ်ိန္ဟာ အရမ္းအရမ္းကို စိတ္အားတက္ၾကြေစတဲ့ အခ်ိန္ျဖစ္သလို ျမန္မာလူမ်ိဳးရဲ႕ ေပးကမ္းလွဴဒါန္း ရက္ေရာတတ္တဲ့ စိတ္ေနစိတ္ထားကို ျမင္ေတြ႕ခဲ့ရျပီး၊ သည္တိုင္းျပည္ရဲ႕ အနာဂတ္ဟာ အင္မတန္ေတာက္ေျပာင္ေနမယ္ဆိုတာကို ကၽြန္မ ခိုင္ခုိင္မာမာခံစားခဲ့ရပါတယ္။

၂၀၁၅ ခုႏွစ္ထဲမွာ ျမန္မာတစ္ႏိုင္ငံလံုးရဲ႕ တိုင္းနဲ႕ျပည္နယ္ ၁၄ ခုမွာ ၁၂ ခုေလာက္ ေရးလႊမ္မိုးမႈဒဏ္ကို ဆိုးဆိုးဝါးဝါးခံစားခဲ့ရခ်ိန္ ကၽြန္မရိွေနပါတယ္။ အဲ့ဒီ့အခ်ိန္မွာ လူၾကီးလူငယ္၊ ဆင္းရဲခ်မ္းသာ၊ က်ားမမေရြး လူတိုင္းေရွ႕ထြက္လာျပီး ဒုကၡေရာက္ေနသူေတြကို ကူညီဖို႔ၾကိဳးစားအားထုတ္ လာၾကပါတယ္။ အဲ့ဒီ့အခ်ိန္ဟာ အရမ္းအရမ္းကို စိတ္အားတက္ၾကြေစတဲ့ အခ်ိန္ျဖစ္သလို ျမန္မာလူမ်ိဳးရဲ႕ ေပးကမ္းလွဴဒါန္း ရက္ေရာတတ္တဲ့ စိတ္ေနစိတ္ထားကို ျမင္ေတြ႕ခဲ့ရျပီး၊ သည္တိုင္းျပည္ရဲ႕ အနာဂတ္ဟာ အင္မတန္ေတာက္ေျပာင္ေနမယ္ဆိုတာကို ကၽြန္မ ခိုင္ခုိင္မာမာခံစားခဲ့ရပါတယ္။

အားလံုးသိၾကတဲ့ အတိုင္းပါပဲ အခုဆိုရင္ ျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံဟာ တိုင္းျပည္ကို ပိုေကာင္းမြန္ေအာင္ တည္ေဆာက္ေနတဲ့ အခ်ိန္ျဖစ္ျပီး၊ ထူးျခားတိုးတက္မႈေတြ ေဖာ္ေဆာင္ခဲ့ျပီးသလို္ ဆက္လက္လုပ္ေဆာင္စရာေတြ က်န္ေနပါေသးတယ္။ ကၽြန္မရဲ႕ ေမွ်ာ္လင့္ဆုေတာင္းတာကေတာ့ ျပည္သူနဲ႔အစိုးရအေနရဲ႕ ႏိုင္ငံအတြက္ ေရွ႕ဆက္ေဆာင္ရြက္မႈေတြမွာ ျငိမ္းခ်မ္းေရး၊ ဖြံ႕ျဖိဳးတိုးတက္မႈ၊ ဒီမိုကေရစီအေရး၊ လူ႔အခြင့္အေရး၊ တရားမွ်တမႈနဲ႔ လူတိုင္းတန္းတူညီမွ်ျဖစ္ေရးေတြပါ။ ဒီလို ရက္ေရာေပးကမ္းမႈနဲ႔ ခ်စ္ျခင္းေမတၱာရိွမႈေတြဟာ လုပ္ငန္းစဥ္တေလွ်ာက္ လႊမ္းျခံဳျပီး၊ လူတိုင္းပါဝင္ႏိုင္မႈ၊ ေလးစားမႈနဲ႔ တန္ဖိုးထားခံရမႈေတြကို ျဖစ္ေစမွာပါ။ ဒီလမ္းေၾကာင္းနဲ႔သာ ထူးျခားလွတဲ့ ျမန္မာျပည္ရဲ႕ အရမ္းေကာင္းမြန္တဲ့ အနာဂတ္ကို က်ိန္းေသရရိွႏိုင္မယ္လို႔ ကၽြန္မယံုၾကည္ပါတယ္။ ေနာက္ျပီး အခုလို သၾကၤန္အခ်ိန္အခါသမယဟာ တစ္ဦးတစ္ေယာက္စီတိုင္းအတြက္ ေပ်ာ္ရႊင္စရာ ပြဲေတာ္ျဖစ္ပါေစလို႔ ဆုေတာင္းေပးပါတယ္။

ႏွစ္သစ္ မဂၤလာပါ ျမန္မာျပည္။

ဂုဏ္ယူပါတယ္ ျမန္မာျပည္။

ေက်းဇူးတင္ပါတယ္။

Myanmar attains medium human development status

Myanmar attains medium human development status

Ye Khaung Nyunt, Global New Light of Myanmar

In a 2016 report on Human Development of the United Nations, Myanmar’s Human Development Index has moved up to rank 145 out of 188 countries, attaining medium human development status. The report was released by the UN Development Program yesterday at U Thant Hall in UNDP’s office, with representative Miss Renata Dessallien and financial consultant Thomas Caren speaking at the press conference.

According to the report, Myanmar’s Human Development Index (HDI) for 2016 reached 0.556, an increase from 0.536 in 2014 when it ranked 148 out of 188 countries.

However, Myanmar’s HDI remains below the average for East Asia and Pacific (0.720). It was attributed to the fact that
Myanmar is still performing below the average of Southeast Asia in such areas as maternal health and mortality rate for
children under five years of age. “We are pleased with the government and people of Myanmar for achieving to a medium
level of human development,” it was stated in the 2016 UNDP Report.

“The world is working for easy access to education, health and cleanliness for all with an additional focus on female empowerment and freedom from poverty. This increase in HDI is a sign that the world is heading in the right direction. This is a good predictor for Myanmar’s pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” stated Helen Clark of the UNDP Chief Administration Office.
The HDI measures not only economic growth, but also the quality of growth in terms of human development and human wellbeing.

Myanmar’s ability to achieve the SDGs is linked to its continued commitment to improve human development for its people, the report said. Almost 1.5 billion people, between 1990-2015 worldwide, lived in multidimensional poverty-reflecting acute deprivations in health, education and standards of living, according to the report. In the previous 25 years, 1.1 billion of the world’s population have better levels of sanitation and 1.6 billion now have access to clean water. The worldwide mortality rate of
children under 5 in the years between 1990-2016 has decreased by half. The report also stated medical cases concerning HIV,
malaria and tuberculosis has also decreased significantly.

Press Release

 Myanmar Reaches Medium Human Development Status

[Yangon – March 22] Myanmar has moved up the human development index (HDI), attaining Medium Human Development status and ranking 145 out of 188 countries.

Myanmar’s HDI rating was highlighted in the Human Development Report 2016, entitled ‘Human Development for Everyone’, released yesterday by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and launched today in Yangon.

“I congratulate the Government and people of Myanmar for successfully reaching the status of Medium Human Development, according to the HDI.  The HDI measures not only economic growth, but also the quality of growth in terms of human development and human wellbeing. Myanmar’s achievement comes from years of hard work and deserves our sincere admiration. This is a good predictor for Myanmar’s pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),’’ said Renata Dessallien, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative.

Reaching Medium Human Development status is indeed significant as it documents the progress Myanmar has made in improving human development for its people. However, as the report also shows there is still a gap between Myanmar’s HDI score of 0.556 and the average for East Asia and Pacific (0.720).  For example, in areas such as maternal health and under five mortality, Myanmar is still performing below the average of South-East Asia. Myanmar’s under five mortality per 1,000 births is 53 compared to an average of 27.2, while the country’s maternal mortality per 100,000 births is 186 compared to an average of 110 for South-East Asia.

The report makes it clear that Myanmar’s ability to achieve the SDGs is intricately linked to its continued commitment to improve human development for its people. It clearly illustrates, any advancement depends on concerted efforts by the whole of government, communities and development partners.

“The world has come a long way in rolling back extreme poverty, in improving access to education, health and sanitation, and in expanding possibilities for women and girls. But those gains are a prelude to the next, possibly tougher challenge, to ensure the benefits of global progress reach everyone,” said UNDP Administrator Helen Clark, speaking at the launch of the Report in Stockholm yesterday alongside Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and the report’s lead author and Director of the Human Development Report Office, Selim Jahan.

The report makes clear that progress in the Asia and Pacific region has not benefited everyone. It shows that the disparities disproportionally impact certain groups particularly women, ethnic minorities and people living in remote areas who suffer deprivations.

Marginalized groups have limited opportunities to influence the institutions and policies that impact on their day to day lives. Changing this is central to breaking the vicious cycle of exclusion and deprivation.

To this end, the report calls for far greater attention to empowering the most marginalized in societies and recognizing the importance of giving a greater voice to the marginalized in decision-making processes.

The report also calls for a more refined analysis to inform actions and shift toward assessing progress in such areas as participation. Data disaggregated for characteristics such as place, gender, socioeconomic status, and ethnicity is vital to identifying who is being left behind, so that corrective policy measures may be taken to bridge the divide and disparity within societies in South-East Asia including Myanmar.

[Ends]

***

UNDP Myanmar

Shobhna Decloitre/ Shobhna.decloitre@undp.org; 0925035158

 

ABOUT THIS REPORT: The Human Development Report is an editorially independent publication of the United Nations Development Programme. For free downloads of the 2016 Human Development Report, plus additional reference materials on its indices, please visit: http://hdr.undp.org

 

2016 Human Development Report http://report.hdr.undp.org/

 

Full press package in all UN official languages http://hdr.undp.org/en/2016-report/press

UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in 177 countries and territories, we offer global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations.

Launch of the annual UNDP Human Development Report

Launch of the annual UNDP Human Development Report

Renata Lok Dessallien

(UN RC/HC and UNDP Resident Representative, Myanmar)

22 March 2017

Dear Friends from the Media,

Human development is about basic freedoms, freedoms to realize our human potential, our human development.

The human development index measures human progress against a set of representative benchmarks that go beyond mere GDP or other income or monetary measures of well being.

In essence it captures income, health and education dimensions of human wellbeing, reflecting fundamental human capabilities and freedoms needed to make meaningful choices for oneself and one’s families.

The HDI is therefore a richer, more well-rounded, more meaningful measure of human progress than GDP or income alone.

Over the past 25 years, significant progress has been made in improving human development around the world.  The quality of people’s lives overall, on average, have improved markedly:

  • A billion people have escaped from extreme poverty;
  • 1 billion gained access to improved sanitation;
  • More than 2.6 billion gained access to improved drinking water:
  • The global under-five mortality rate more than halved between 1990-2016;
  • The incidence of HIV, malaria and TB declined;
  • And progress was made in other areas as well.

Yet despite this progress, there remain large numbers of people for whom poverty eradication is a distant dream, who continue to suffer very basic deprivations and who face substantial barriers to overcoming them.

The global Human Development Report this year provides insight into how the human development approach can help address the needs to those who have been left be out of mainstream global progress, the marginalized, the most vulnerable, the “have-nots”.  This is in perfect synch with the Sustainable Development Goal lite motif of “leaving no one behind”.

The report discusses a range of policy options that could contribute significantly to achieving the goal of human development for all, and leaving no one behind.

The report also highlights other complementarities between the human development approach and the SDGs.  For example, it stresses that :

– the human development approach is underscored by a clear analytical framework that could enrich the 17 SDGs by providing conceptual clarity;

– The areas of focus of the HD approach and SDGs are very similar;

– The preoccupation with sustainability is central to both HD and the SDGs;

– And, not surprisingly, the policy options for promoting greater HD are closely linked to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda.

 

Now let me say a few words about Myanmar’s human development progress.

This year’s HDR shows that Myanmar continued to make progress in its HDI score.

The value of the country’s HDI in this year’s report is 0.556 (2015 data) compared to the previous report when it was 0.552 in (2014 data).

Over the past five years the country’s score grew by 5.7 per cent.

The higher value means that Myanmar is now 145 in the overall ranking out of 188 countries.

The improvement in score and ranking are in themselves very positive news.

However, the higher score also means that Myanmar has moved from the category of Low Human Development to Medium Human Development.

The achievement of reaching Medium Human Development status is significant. It documents the progress Myanmar has made in improving human development for its people.  The Government and people of Myanmar should be applauded for this.

At the same time, we cannot forget that there remains a gap between Myanmar’s HDI score and the average for South-East Asian countries. For example, in areas such as maternal health and under five mortality Myanmar is still performing below the average of South-East Asia.

The legacy of Myanmar’s under-investment in the social sectors will take time to overcome and extra efforts are required for this.

Also, the country is not gaining relative to the regional HDI average and only gaining marginally relative to the global average for developing countries overall. This means that much more needs to be done if the country is to catch up with other countries in the region and around the world.

So, while I wish to warmly congratulate the Government and people of Myanmar for achieving Medium HDI status, I also urge the Government to do more to accelerate human development for all so that people’s wellbeing across the country improves more quickly and, with that, the SDGs journey is accelerated.

This requires a range of policy decisions, budgetary allocations, institutional follow through, and it includes tackling some of the recent economic challenges that have emerged.

All this is more than possible with concerted effort, the active participation of all national actors, and support from development partners.

The United Nations System is supporting the people and Government of Myanmar toward  human development for all and will continue to do so.

Target hate speech and hate crimes, Zeid urges States

Target hate speech and hate crimes, Zeid urges States

Statement by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein
International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, 21 March 2017

GENEVA (20 March 2017) – The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is an annual reminder to us all to do more to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, hate speech and hate crimes.

But 21 March needs to be more than a reminder. People of African descent continue to be victims of racist hate crimes and racism in all areas of life.  Anti-Semitism continues to rear its ugly head from the US to Europe to the Middle East and beyond. Muslim women wearing headscarves face increasing verbal, and even physical, abuse in a number of countries. In Latin America, indigenous peoples continue to endure stigmatization, including in the media.

The dangers of demonising particular groups are evident across the world. Xenophobic riots and violence targeting immigrants have recently flared again in South Africa.  In South Sudan, polarised ethnic identities – stoked by hate speech – have brought the country to the brink of all-out ethnic war. In Myanmar, the Rohingya Muslim community, long denigrated as “illegal immigrants,” have suffered appalling violations.

And across the world, the politics of division and the rhetoric of intolerance are targeting racial, ethnic, linguistic and religious minorities, and migrants and refugees. Words of fear and loathing can, and do, have real consequences.  

UK Government statistics showed a sharp increase in reported hate crime in the weeks following the 23 June 2016 referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union, in which immigration was a dominant issue.

FBI figures indicated a rise in hate crimes nationwide in 2015, a year when the US presidential election campaign – a campaign that often focused on the supposed threats posed by migrants, Hispanics and Muslims – began in earnest.  Data collected by the Southern Poverty Law Center indicates that migrants, African-Americans were the most affected by hate crimes in the immediate aftermath of the election, although full data for 2016 is not yet available.

In Germany in 2016, there were approximately 10 attacks a day on migrants and refugees, a rise of 42 per cent on 2015. Cases of reported hate crimes increased more than three-fold in Spain from 2012, reaching 1,328 in 2015.  Italy saw reported hate crimes rise from 71 to 555 in 2015; Finland experienced a doubling of reported hate crimes from 2014 to 2015, when 1,704 incidents were reported.

These figures paint a partial picture of the situation in the respective countries but there are many States that do not collect data on racist hate crimes, leaving the true extent of the problem obscured. Tackling racism and xenophobia begins with understanding the scope of the problem. I encourage States to do more to collect disaggregated data, including on the basis of race and ethnicity, so they can monitor trends, understand causes and design and implement targeted action to bring about real change.

This day reminds us that States have no excuse for allowing racism and xenophobia to fester, much less flourish. They have the legal obligation to prohibit and eliminate racial discrimination, to guarantee the right of everyone, no matter their race, colour, national or ethnic origin, to equality before the law.

States should adopt legislation expressly prohibiting racist hate speech, including the dissemination of ideas based on racial superiority or hatred, incitement to racial discrimination, and threats or incitement to violence. It is not an attack on free speech or the silencing of controversial ideas or criticism, but a recognition that the right to freedom of expression carries with it special duties and responsibilities.  

We face a world where discriminatory practices are still widespread. But it is not the time for despair.

Equality bodies and national human rights institutions in many countries work to prevent and combat discrimination. Some law enforcement agencies are incorporating human rights standards into their actions, not just because they are legally obliged to, but because it leads to more effective policing. Similarly, education and healthcare professionals, as well as good employers, are tackling the racial, ethnic and religious prejudices and profiling that exist in their sectors. Progress here needs to continue, including through affirmative action, training and representation of ethnic and racial minorities.

The UN has launched several initiatives to fight racism and xenophobia, including “Together” which promotes respect, safety and dignity for refugees and migrants, “Let’s Fight Racism”, and the International Decade for People of African Descent.

My Office, the UN Human Rights Office, is asking people around the world to “Stand Up for Someone’s Rights Today”.  And, around the world, that is exactly what many people are doing. Taking a stand against discrimination, no matter where it happens.

ENDS

For more information and media requests, please contact Rupert Colville (+41 22 917 9767 / rcolville@ohchr.org) or Ravina Shamdasani (+41 22 917 9169 / rshamdasani@ohchr.org) or Liz Throssell (+41 22 917 9466 / ethrossell@ohchr.org)

*The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination was established in remembrance of the 69 unarmed and peaceful South African protestors who were killed in Sharpeville, South Africa on 21 March 1960—an event which inspired people around the world to act to end the racist apartheid regime.

The UN Human Rights Office is running a global campaign called “Stand Up for Someone’s Rights Today.” The campaign aims to galvanize everyone – private sector, governments, individuals, civil society – to play an active role in standing up to defend the human rights of all, at a time when these hard-won rights and freedoms are facing increasing pressures across the world.  Find out more here: http://www.standup4humanrights.org

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