Opening Remarks by Toily Kurbanov, UNDP Country Director in Myanmar at ASEAN Workshop on Recovery Planning

Nov 5, 2013

Your Excellency, Minister Dr. Daw Myat Myat Ohn Khin of the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, U Soe Aung, Director General of Relief and Resettlement Department, Delegates from ASEAN Member States, Representatives from ASEAN Secretariat
Distinguish guests, Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a great honor for me to address in this “ASEAN WORKSHOP ON RECOVERY PLANNING”, and for UNDP to have the opportunity for hosting the workshop in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement.

Recently, at the fifth ASEAN-UN Summit organized in Brunei on 10th Oct 2013, United National Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki-moon called for enhanced partnership between the United Nations and the ASEAN. He highlighted four areas where ASEAN-UN partnership can produce tangible results – namely regional connectivity; sustainable development; human rights; and peace and security.

Sustainable development is the “number one imperative” of the partnership between the UN and ASEAN.

ASEAN countries have made impressive progress towards most of the Millennium Development Goals. And UN and ASEAN are working closely to define a shared vision for the post-2015 period. UN Secretary General also reaffirmed that the United Nations will continue to work with ASEAN in implementing a bold new sustainable development agenda.

Your Excellency, Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

Myanmar is at a historic crossroads. The Government has embarked upon “Four Waves of Reforms” in order to cope with multiple transformations: Political reforms (peace-building, developing democracy), started in 2011; Economic reforms (market liberalization), from 2012; Governance reforms, “people-centered administration and Private Sector Development”, called for in 2013.

Responding to the Country’s reform process UNDP’s Country Programme for 2013-2015 focuses on capacity building in three areas: democratic governance; local governance; and environmental governance and disaster risk reduction. Now, UNDP is directly engaged with the government bringing full breadth and depth of its global expertise in support of Myanmar’s reforms, and help Myanmar learn from the lessons of other countries.

Your Excellency, Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

You may recall the Joint Declaration on Comprehensive Partnership between ASEAN and the United Nations, adopted on 19 November 2011 in Bali, Indonesia. The Joint Declaration includes sections on: food and energy security; climate change; disaster risk reduction; and economy and development, among others.

On disaster risk management, the UN and ASEAN commit to:
  • continue close collaboration to jointly respond to catastrophic events and to strengthen coordination on disaster risk management, including as part of rehabilitation and reconstruction process, with a view to building disaster-resilient nations and safer communities in the region;
  • support cooperation and coordination among ASEAN Member States and with relevant UN agencies on disaster risk management;
  • mainstream disaster risk reduction into national development and recovery policies; and
  • formulate and implement risk reduction measures that link climate change adaptation and key sectors, such as productive, infrastructure education and health sectors, as well as urban development to ensure sustainable and inclusive development, as incorporated in the Hyogo Declaration and Framework for Action.

UNDP was tasked by the United Nations General Assembly to support Member States in preventing and preparing for disasters. Since the Hyogo Framework for Action was put into effect, UNDP has devoted its efforts to helping countries achieve its ambitious outcomes, which include the substantial reduction of disaster losses.

So is the case also in Myanmar, which is one of the most vulnerable countries to natural hazards, including cyclonic storms, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, forest fires and landslides. During 2002-2012, (3) cyclones affected over 2.6 million people, floods affected (500,000) people, (2) major earthquake affected over 20,000 people. These disasters – small, medium and big - have enormous economic consequences and reverse hard-won development gains of the country.

Disaster Risk Reduction component of our country programme was developed in consultation with the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, and other development partners. We take note of Myanmar’s commitment to ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response Work Programme implementation, in particular to developing Recovery Toolkit for ASEAN and have agreed to support the Ministry, and the Relief and Resettlement Department in this area. We are confident that our cooperation will reaffirm the ASEAN-UN partnership as well as UNDP’s commitment to support sustainable development in Myanmar.

We understand that developing “Recovery Guidelines for ASEAN member states” will go through the process which encompasses regional workshop on sharing practices and experience of each member state; compilation of best practices and other resources and developing the guidelines. Today’s workshop is the first step in developing the Guidelines and sharing the recovery experiences of the ASEAN Member states.

Moreover, as recovery creates a bridge from emergency relief to sustainable development, so that communities can build back better and have greater resilience to future shocks, today’s workshop is an important step not only for recovery guideline, but also for building resilience and sustainable development.

In conclusion, I would like to reinforce UNDP’s commitment in strengthening ASEAN-UN partnership which, I believe, will continue to grow under Myanmar's leadership of the association next year.

Finally, let me thank you all for your attention.

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