UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Ms Renata Dessallien: Remarks at the Parliamentary Induction Programme

Feb 15, 2016

Your Excellences, Speakers of the Pyidaungsu and Pyithu Hluttaws,
Deputy Speakers,
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi MP and Chairperson of NLD,
Chairs and Secretaries of Standing Committees,
Honorable Members,
Chairman of the Phyithu Hluttaw Commission for Assessment of Legal Affairs and Special Issues,
Hon Chairperson of the Senate of Pakistan
Directors General and Hluttaw staff,
International Members of Parliament, Honored guests

It’s a great pleasure and honor to speak on behalf of the United Nations Development Programme at the opening of this induction programme.  We feel privileged to have been asked to support the Hluttaw to organize this induction for all Members of the newly constituted Myanmar Hluttaw.

We are all aware of the historic transition ongoing in Myanmar at this time.  It began with a landmark general election last November, characterized by a high rate of participation and a peaceful environment.  Post-election period was also marked by a remarkable display of statesmanship by leaders of political parties.  Three weeks ago the new Members of the Myanmar Hluttaw took their seats for the first time and elected the new Speakers.  I had an opportunity to observe and I can tell you that it was a  moving event. Within the next six weeks, a new President of the Union of Myanmar will be elected and a new Cabinet formed.  The quality of the transition to date is a tribute to the spirit of reconciliation and cooperation with which the majority party, the NLD, has approached its tasks and the dedication of the current government for a smooth and peaceful transfer of power.

The transition from the old to the new Hluttaw is a fine example of that spirit of collaboration, reconciliation and dedication of the country’s leadership to its people.  The previous Hluttaw gained experience and knowledge over its five year tenure.  From what we have seen, it has actively sought to transfer this knowledge and experience to the new members of this Hluttaw.  I believe that this transition will serve to inspire not only the Hluttaw members but all people of Myanmar who have been intensely watching over the changes taking place in Nay Pyi Taw.  It has also set an example for future generations of would be parliamentarians in Myanmar, as well as other parliamentary transitions in countries around the world.  

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
Last year, UNDP partnered with the Myanmar Hluttaw to conduct a survey of the perceptions and experiences of the Members of the last Hluttaw. Those who were interviewed spoke highly of their experience as representatives of the people and of the opportunity they had to influence decisions.  They felt they were helping the people they represented.

At the same time, they identified challenges and capacity constraints that hampered their work as parliamentarians, and strove to overcome these.  This body of experience and effort captured through these surveys, I hope, will form a  solid foundation that on which new Hluttaw can continue to build.

The members of the 2nd Hluttaw come with their unique experience and skills. They represent the diversity of Myanmar’s society, culture and ethnicity as well as professions. These are important experiences, skills and attributes which contribute to making a parliament truly representative. The Myanmar Hluttaw will no doubt benefit from their rich diversity in carrying out its functions of legislation, oversight and representation. At the same time, the new Members will need to learn how they can use their experience, knowledge and skills most effectively in carrying out their parliamentary duties.  The collaboration of the UNDP with the Hluttaw, I am convinced, will contribute to this.

While the political transition taking place in Myanmar, including in the Hluttaw, is already inspiring other countries, especially young democracies, Myanmar Hluttaw also has a unique opportunity to learn from other legislative institutions from around the world, both mature as well as younger parliaments. Each has its traditions which can be studied.  Some have undergone similar transitions in recent times. UNDP is pleased to facilitate the cross country exchange of knowledge and experience between parliaments at this induction programme.  We are delighted to welcome acting and former representatives from Australia, Bhutan, East Timor, Hong Kong Special Asministrative Region, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Republic of South Korea, and the United Kingdom.

I hope the next 5 days of this induction programme will see meaningful and lively exchanges of ideas and skills.  And I hope in learning from one another the programme will foster understanding and friendships.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Former Speakers Thura Shwe Mann and U Khin Aung Myint for welcoming UNDP to work with the Myanmar Hluttaw during the first Hluttaw and for their guidance and support, which has allowed us to help to prepare this induction programme. I would also like to thank the Hluttaw administration, its leadership and staff. All activities have been dependent on their guidance and close support. I appreciate the close relationship our staff have enjoyed with the Hluttaw leadership, Members and administration. I would also like to thank the Inter-Parliamentary Union with whom we are working, and the close relationship we enjoy with the UK House of Commons. We express special thanks to our donors to our Democratic Governance programme: Finland, Sweden and UK.  Lastly I would like to wish all the MPs of the Hluttaw and all the MPs coming from other countries great success at this Parliament Induction Programme.

 

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