Japan donates US$20 million to Rakhine State, Myanmar, through UNICEF and other UN agencies

Nay Pyi Taw, 22 February 2018

UNICEF Myanmar
Japan donates US$20 million to implement a number of humanitarian and development projects in Rakhine State, Myanmar, through UNICEF and other UN agencies
Photo at the signing ceremony. H.E. Mr. Tateshi Higuchi (third from left) and Ms. Junko Kunugi, Representative of UNICEF Myanmar Office (right end).

Nay Pyi Taw, 22 February 2018 - Representatives of the Governments of Japan and Myanmar and seven United Nations agencies signed today agreements totaling US$ 20 million to implement a number of humanitarian and development projects benefitting people of all communities in Rakhine State.“

This partnership demonstrates the commitment of the international community to help find and implement solutions to the situation in Rakhine State,” said Knut Ostby, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator ad interim in Myanmar.

The seven agencies, IOM, UNDP, UNFPA, UNHCR, UNICEF, UN Women and WFP will provide a range of food and development assistance throughout Rakhine State. The participating agencies will integrate their activities – in line with the humanitarian-development-peace nexus – to achieve better results.

“Our immediate concern is provision of humanitarian aid to people in need – irrespective of their religion, ethnicity, gender or citizenship status,” added Knut Ostby. “At the same time, more than 40 percent of people in Rakhine live in poverty and we have to reach them with development assistance in order to set the State on the path to peace and inclusive growth.”

The Myanmar’s Minister of Social Welfare, Rehabilitation and Resettlement H.E. Mr. Win Myat Aye, Ambassador of Japan H.E. Mr. Tateshi Higuchi and representatives of the United Nations participated in the signing ceremony in Nay Pyi Taw.

“In synergy with UNICEF, WFP, UNHCR, UNDP, UN-Women and UNFPA jointly with IOM which all have different expertise, the projects aim to improve humanitarian and development situation in Rakhine State with the approach of the humanitarian-development nexus, which is strongly advocated by the Government of Japan,” said Ambassador Higuchi.

The UN projects aim to reach half a million beneficiaries over the next 12 months. The projects will cover:

  • distribution of food, support for screening and treatment of severe acute malnutrition and feeding practices with emphasis on children;
  • health services to vulnerable groups, such as pregnant women;
  • assistance with rehabilitation of shelters;
  • expanding access to drinking water and sanitation services;
  • providing safe spaces for children;
  • improving access to mental health and psychosocial support, particularly for survivors of gender-based violence;
  • support for education activities;
  • promoting inclusive and responsive service delivery;
  • improving access to justice and rule of law;
  • identifying livelihoods and peacebuilding opportunities; and
  • creating employment opportunities, particularly for women.

“All our activities will support the implementation of national development goals and the Rakhine Advisory Commission’s recommendations,” said Knut Ostby. “As we will be carrying out our activities, we will be making sure that we observe international standards and principles.”

While the Government of Myanmar has opened up some access for the UN and its partners to some of the crisis affected areas in Rakhine State, humanitarian access remains restricted. The UN will continue to advocate for a meaningful and predictable access allowing distribution of humanitarian and development assistance for the benefit of all communities.

Additionally, the UN in Myanmar will continue to call for voluntary, safe, sustainable and dignified return of refugees to places of origin -- and UNHCR’s involvement in the repatriation process.

“With the recent crisis in mind, we need to be able to face peace, development and human rights challenges simultaneously. These projects will be important contribution both to addressing the immediate needs and a path to sustainable development for all communities in Rakhine State,” concluded Knut Ostby.