Reaching all communities and sustaining achievements for all communities in Rakhine State remain priorities for Japan-UN Partnership
[Joint press release]
Yangon, Myanmar — Marking the mid-term of the implementation of joint humanitarian and development projects aimed at benefitting all communities in Rakhine State, the Government of Japan and seven UN Agencies namely IOM, UNDP, UNFPA, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNWOMEN and WFP, confirmed that the partnership, under the humanitarian-development nexus, has enabled the provision of substantial and vital support in Rakhine State including crisis affected areas.
An agreement totaling 2.2 billion Yen (USD 20 million) was signed in February this year by Representatives of the Government of Japan and Myanmar and the UN agencies.
The funding from the Government of Japan was provided to improve the humanitarian situation and promote sustainable development in Rakhine State, while contributing to creating conditions for the voluntary return of refugees to Rakhine State in safety and dignity.
The funding has already succeeded in achieving vital support to the communities served by the Agencies covering food security, health, nutrition WASH, shelter and camp coordination and camp management, protection, and education as well as in promoting inclusive development, social cohesion and the empowerment of women.
Achievements so far are wide ranging and include, for example, food assistance to over 300,000 persons. Health services for vulnerable groups were provided to 15,600 persons, including to over 8,400 women, through mobile clinics. Access to safe drinking water and sanitation services were maintained benefitting over 33,300 persons in IDP camps, and 10,000 hygiene kits were distributed.
Some 3,000 dignity kits containing hygiene items for women and girls were pre-positioned, and are being distributed to the most vulnerable women and girls.
Over 1,800 persons were assisted so far with shelter repairs, which is key to ensuring personal security and dignity. Furthermore, camp coordination and camp management services to enhance the efficiency of service delivery and engagement of the camp population, reached over 30,000 persons in the displacement camps in central part of Rakhine State.
In Buthidaung Township, 817 teachers, of whom more than half are female, received Child Friendly School (CFS) teacher training covering topics of child rights, child-centered pedagogy and peace education, benefitting more than 33,000 primary school children of all communities. Support for education activities has started for 500 adolescents to provide life skills-based education and training.
Funding also allowed for improved access to mental health and psychosocial support, particularly for survivors of gender-based violence, and for critical activities such as improving access to justice and rule of law for the most vulnerable.
Looking towards the future, it is imperative to use the current humanitarian and development programme to create the foundations for longer-term sustainable development through an inclusive and multi-dimensional, area-based programme approach. This means tackling simultaneously the overlapping and complex problems affecting Rakhine State, from limited public services, lack of job opportunities, restrictions on freedom of movement, and communal tensions to gender inequality, with the ultimate goal of building social cohesion and bringing prosperity for all.
Township development grants totalling more than USD 2 million are being provided to an initial selection of five townships in central and southern Rakhine State, to build bridges, roads, schools, health centres and water supply systems, identified through inclusive consultations with communities. This approach will in turn enhance the nature and quality of interactions among different actors whose collaboration is required for more participatory, accountable and effective service delivery.
Rakhine’s Parliament, the Hluttaw, is strengthening its capacities to perform its representation and oversight functions, tackling systemic issues and improving citizens’ engagement.
Legal services for issues such as gender-based violence and land rights are being provided, and lawyers are being trained to ensure affordable access to justice for all, including the most vulnerable.
Much needed livelihoods and peacebuilding opportunities, particularly for women and youth, are being created through a range of cash for work initiatives in different parts of Rakhine State.
Women in villages and in IDP camps in central part of Rakhine State are supported to have increased access to income generating opportunities, especially in climate-resilient agriculture and in weaving and handicrafts industries. Under the programme, so far over 600 women farmers have received climate-smart rice seeds and over 60 farmers have begun producing seeds of stress-tolerant rice varieties. Direct support is also provided to women and women’s groups to promote leadership, advocacy and life skills so that women in Rakhine can effectively call for and shape gender-responsive policies and service delivery.
The Government of Japan believes that the UN’s presence on the ground in Myanmar is essential for helping to create some of the conditions for the repatriation. In order to provide necessary assistance effectively and accountably for recovery and resilience-based development for all communities living in Rakhine State, the Government of Japan and the UN Agencies underscore the need for continuous access to all areas covered by the partnership with the Government of Japan. Effective access remains critical to fulfill our collective commitment to address immediate humanitarian needs, find sustainable solutions to displacement and pursue longer-term rights-based development in line with the Rakhine Advisory Commission’s recommendations. The Government of Japan and UN Agencies will work continuously together with the Government of Myanmar to address the root causes of issues in Rakhine State.
All parties to the partnership remain committed to the full implementation of these activities in line with international standards and principles, and aim to reach half a million people with vital assistance and essential services by March 2019.