Policies that Promote Work for Human Development Needed to Catalyse Growth in Myanmar

Dec 16, 2015

Jounalists at the launch of the HUman Development Report in Yangon. Photo: Shobhna Decloitre/UNDP Myanmar

Fast technological progress, deepening globalization, aging societies and environmental challenges are transforming what work means today, presenting both opportunities and risks for Myanmar and for the world. The 2015 Human Development Report, launched today in Yangon, by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative, Ms Renata Dessallien, urges governments around the world to act now to prevent widening inequalities.

The report, ‘Work for Human Development’ argues that for better life outcomes, policies should encapsulate all types of work including unpaid care, creative and voluntary work that are so important for human development, and public policy makers should pay particular attention to sustainability.

“Availability and good quality of work are important for human development in Myanmar. In order to ensure that the work-force in Myanmar is capable of meeting the needs of the rapidly opening economy and can adapt to the changing demands of the global economy, the government needs to make further strategic investments in skills training, education and social protection,” said Ms Dessallien.

Myanmar has made steady progress in human development over the years. Myanmar’s Human Development Index value is 0.536, placing the country at the upper end of the low human development category, at 148 out of 188 countries and territories. Between 1980 and 2014, Myanmar’s HDI value increased from 0.034 to 0.536. In the same period, Myanmar’s life expectancy at birth increased by 10.9 years and expected years of schooling increased by 2.6 years.

“Myanmar has made good human development progress, especially in recent years, but more investment in skills training and education could unlock the full human development potential of the country,” said Ms Dessallien.      

The report highlights that despite extremely rapid technology adoption in recent years, Myanmar is lagging, with only 2.1% of the people using internet and 49.5 per 100 people with mobile phone subscriptions. Fostering education, skills and entrepreneurship can facilitate a labour market transformation.

Access to ICTs can help people develop marketable skills and secure quality work opportunities that would narrow inequalities. Statistics for the East Asia and Pacific region, which includes Myanmar, show that the unconnected population are typically among the poorest and most disadvantaged.  

“Wider access to technology, through South-South cooperation and other technology transfer arrangements, matched with more relevant skills training, improved financial inclusion and reduction of other barriers to decent work would help the Myanmar accelerate its human development,” said Ms Dessallien.

The 2015 Human Development Report urges countries and societies to promote decent work opportunities and sustainability both by improving education, and social protection, particularly for vulnerable groups, and by engaging in collective action and protective legislation to eradicate work that exploits and demeans.

The report says that the Sustainable Development Goals will create incentives to acquire skills to move to a wide range of occupations.

To maximize the benefits and minimize the hardships in the evolving new world of work, three main clusters of policies will be critical. Strategies are needed for creating work opportunities and ensuring workers’ well-being. The report therefore proposes a three-pronged action agenda:

  • A New Social Contract between governments, society, and the private sector, to ensure that all members of society, especially those working outside the formal sector, have their needs taken into account in policy formulation.  
  • A Global Deal among governments to guarantee workers’ rights and benefits around the world.
  • A Decent Work Agenda, encompassing all workers, that will help promote freedom of association, equity, security, and human dignity in work life.

The Human Development Report 2015 was released globally on Monday, December 14 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.



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ABOUT THIS REPORT: The Human Development Report is an editorially independent publication of the United Nations Development Programme. For free downloads of the 2015 Human Development Report, plus additional reference materials on its indices and specific regional implications, please visit: http://hdr.undp.org  

2015 Human Development Report http://hdr.undp.org/en/2015-report
Full press package in all UN official languages http://hdr.undp.org/en/2015-report/press

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Contact information

Shobhna Decloitre
UNDP Communications Specialist
email: shobhna.decloitre@undp.org

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