State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi addressed an opening ceremony of a High Level Forum on “Realizing Myanmar’s Development Vision for Every Child” held in Park Royal Hotel, Nay Pyi Taw yesterday afternoon.
In her speech the State Counsellor said, today’s event is a high level Forum on realizing Myanmar’s development vision for every child and there are many guidelines that I want to mention. First is the fact that children are our country’s future. It is important for every country’s future to place emphasis on the physical and mental development of children and for them to achieve their full intellectual capabilities. Working on early life development of children is nurturing and developing valuable and important human resources of our Union. In other words it is not wasteful spending; it is in fact a strategic investment for the future.
As fostering and raising the children who will create and shape the country’s future is very important, Myanmar’s early life development of children and development strategy was drawn up and introduced and distributed to the people in 2018 December. Not only parents and teachers(male/female) but relevant departments are to coordinate for the successful implementation of the work processes of this strategy.
Secondly, today’s forum will review sector wise projects and is an opportune time to discuss, allocate and implement priority projects which need to be done on a real time basis. As you all know, all over the world countries are implementing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and our country has approved the balanced Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan (MSDP) a few months ago. MSDP has three main pillars and, five goals, 28 strategies and designated project implementation programs under each strategy and there are a total of 251 work processes. MSDP processes will be implemented as a Living Document.
MSDP was drawn up in coordination with the United Nations’ sustainable development goals, Myanmar’s 12 point economic policy, ASEAN economic community, Greater Mekong Sub-region strategy framework as well as implementation of various international and regional pledges made by the Union Government. In other words, sustainable and development goals which are based on our requirements, together with priorities to implement sustainable development goals which are in accord with the country’s situation.
Under MSDP Pillar 3 “People & Planet”, goal number 4 which is “Human Resources & Social Development for a 21st Century Society” has been designated. Priority is being given towards strategic work processes on raising the quality of social service sectors of education, health, food and nutrition in the strategies set down to achieve this goal so that every child in the country becomes a high value human resource of the future.
At this time, arrangements are being made to put projects into Project Banks of ministries and organizations to implement them effectively and in full capacity. That is why the five year social sector strategic plans for each ministry related to education, health and social protection were being introduced since 2016. Discussions are to be made at this forum to review the implementation during the two year period and allocate priority work programs which need to be implemented on a real-time basis.
There is a need to identify and designate areas for development of every child in Myanmar when implementing sector wise related programs of MSDP as projects according to the SDGs’ motto of “leaving no one behind.”
Thirdly I want to talk about the importance of cooperation. The three pillars of MSDP – Peace & Stability, Prosperity & Partnership, People& Planet – are mutually and equally beneficial to one another. Thematic Approach is used to implement the goals and strategies of all three pillars and I would like to remind the importance of cooperating effectively in implementing matters involving several ministries. In order to create a good shift for our country, the direction of the strategy needs to be understood and there is a need to do the push together.
Discussions with the private sector conducted at the Invest Myanmar Summit at the Myanmar International Convention Centre early this morning was to put the projects in the economic pillar into the Project Bank. It is necessary to produce creative and innovative funding projects from the Union budget, regional and international development assistance, private investment, public-private cooperation works and basic infrastructure bonds. That is why efforts must be made towards strengthening unity and uniformity between the pillars of MSDP.
Implementation should be done not only by one single department but by cooperation between the government, Hluttaw, private sector, international development partners and relevant stakeholders doing their respective duties and responsibilities. At this time, it is very much needed to work with “cetana” (good will) for the good of the country rather than just to fulfill our duties and responsibilities.
A special appeal is made to ensure that the plans of development partners and international organizations for our country are in accord with the goals and strategies of MSDP and furthermore to ensure that the assistance thus provided is truly effective. Participation of the private sector and the participation and pledges of development partner organizations and international organizations in the effective implementation of Myanmar development works are essential requirements and very important.
Fourthly implementing work processes and time frames need to be systematic. Sector wise and region wise projects are drawn not only to meet the requirements but must also be implementable. It is very important for relevant ministries, relevant state/region government to think and conduct works for inclusion in annual projects and to ensure that there are connections and linkages.
Fifthly the role of monitoring, reviewing and assessing is very important in implementing projects. Implementing a project is not an end as there is a requirement to review how beneficial it is and how much the return on investment has been. That is why a project is drawn up from the start based on correct facts and data and only then will the project benefit the people. In the same way, project units are to be formed to monitor and measure the progress while the project is implemented and data and information need to be prepared. A National index framework will be established to measure each sector in implementing MSDP. At the moment, the Ministry of Planning and Finance, Central Statistical Organization is discussing and coordinating with more than a hundred departments and organizations and there will be more than 300 indexes. The National index framework will provide information and data to draw up projects, allocating budget among sectors, and making investment and project decisions and for monitoring.
That is why in the High Level Forum on “Realizing Myanmar’s Development Vision for Every Child” studies and discussions on all angles and sectors for the future of every child in Myanmar should be conducted to reduce childhood death, registration of child at birth, to have a healthy, warm and safe life, equal opportunity in education, increasing time in school, preventing human trafficking and recruitment in the military of children, and for the children to have a safe and secure future. All from the government and private sectors are to participate and coordinate so as to resolve the weaknesses and consolidate the strengths of each sector.
UNICEF country programme is seen to be working in the sectors of health, nutrition, water, hygiene and personal hygiene, education, child and youth protection and monitoring. Cash support for nutrition of expectant mothers and babies, personal hygiene program in schools, and birth registration of children were progressing and are urged to expand and cover the whole country.
UNICEF is the joint chair in the matter of Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting (CTFMR) to prevent military recruitment of under age children jointly conducted by the Myanmar Ministry of Defence and the United Nations.
Much thanks is owed to UNICEF in preventing recruitment of under age children into the military, assisting to discharge those who were recruited and reintegrating them into society. UNICEF is urged to continue the constructive cooperation in this while reiterating Myanmar’s strong commitment towards handling and resolving this matter politically.
In conclusion, I would like to thank responsible officials from the UNICEF Country Office and UNICEF Executive Director Ms. Hennetta H. Fore for help and support in this sector starting from the first High Level Forum on “New Vision, New Results for Children in Myanmar” in 2016. Support of other development partners are also expected and hoped for. Thanks to all who are participating in the discussion program and thanks to Ministry of Planning and Finance for leading and organizing the forum. Discussions in today’s High Level Forum are expected to bring forth effective programs and projects for Myanmar children that are in line with MSDP strategic programs. Thank you all.
The ceremony was attended by Union Ministers, Chairman of Nay Pyi Taw Council Deputy Ministers, chairmen of Hluttaw committees related to women and children, state/region ministers for social affairs, representatives of children affairs from the international community and representatives from development partner organisations.
After the opening ceremony the State Counsellor and attendees took commemorative group photo.
Next, “Realizing Myanmar’s Development Vision for Every Child” High Level Forum was held and Union Minister for Planning and Finance U Soe Win and UNICEF Executive Director Ms. Henrietta H. Fore delivered messages of greeting.
At the forum Professor Dr. Aung Tun Thet, Ministry of Health and Sports Permanent Secretary Dr. Tha Tun Kyaw, Basic Education Department Director General U Ko Lay Win, Department of Social Welfare Director General Dr. San San Aye, Anti-Human Trafficking Police Force Police Col. U Thet Naug, Ministry of Planning and Finance Director General U Zaw Naing, Dr. Tin Tin Win of Myanmar Women Affairs Work Committee, U Kyaw Kyaw Min Htut of Myanmar Youth Entrepreneur Association, Daw Hla Hla Myo of Myanmar Women Entrepreneur Association, GAVI Vaccine Alliance CEO Dr. Seth Berkley and United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Mr. Knut Ostby conducted talks and discussions under various child related topics.
The Forum came to a close after UNICEF Representative Ms. June Kunugi and Deputy Minister for Planning and Finance U Set Aung delivered a closing speeches.
The forum was held with the aims of revealing the main development results achieved for children in Myanmar starting from 2016; assess, review and discuss whether it is in accord with strategies of Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan (MSDP); identify and reveal areas where development of every child in Myanmar can be conducted in an increasing momentum and the implementation of MSDP and sector wise related programs is in accord with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).