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Posts from the ‘Myanmar’ Category

International Democracy Day 2017

“Democracy and Conflict” is the theme of this year’s International Democracy Day, and as the UN Secretary General has stated in his message ahead of the day: “The International Day of Democracy is an opportunity to recommit to a world defined by values enshrined in the United Nations Charter: peace, justice, respect, human rights, tolerance and solidarity. To work credibly for conflict prevention, we need to better support countries in their efforts to strengthen their democratic institutions and make their societies more resilient.”

DIPD’s Global Head of Programmes, Hanne Lund Madsen, explains how the institute’s work relates to this year’s theme: “As DIPD is supporting and strengthening dialogue between political parties and also between parties and Election Management Bodies, CSOs and the media, our engagements also help prevent conflict and polarization in many ways. Multiparty democratic practices are in themselves a peaceful manner of accommodating and settling conflicts of interests.”

As an example, DIPD is currently supporting the political party group in the Myanmar peace processes and dialogues. In the coming period, DIPD will work in support of and partnership with the party group to enhance dialogue and capacity development for parties, making them more effective participants in the process of re-imagining a democratic federal union for Myanmar. DIPD has supported the political parties of Myanmar in developing consensus-based policy proposals to the peace process in preparation for the third meeting of Myanmar’s Union Peace Conference, also known as the 21st Century Panglong Conference, which will be held later in 2017.

Photo from a three-day meeting in July, held in preparation to the third meeting of Myanmar’s 21st Century Panglong Conference

The link between democratization and conflicts
In several countries, DIPD supports multiparty dialogue mechanisms, enabling parties to discuss issues of common concern outside the limelight of the parliament and media, and thereby better find ways to tackle these issues. But as Hanne Lund Madsen explains, the processes are not always free from conflict: “We also experience internal party and leadership conflicts in our work, as for example in one of the opposition parties in Tanzania. It is therefore very useful for DIPD to be engaged with the research project CODE at Aarhus University.”

CODE is looking to understand the correlation between democratization and conflict and how it plays out on different levels – from an international level to the level of individuals. In collaboration with practitioners from NGOs and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, the researchers will focus primarily on factors that can be influenced by actors – including international ones – in the short and medium term. For instance, are some electoral systems less prone to conflict than others? And how are we to curb and possibly resolve escalating conflicts without undermining the perspective for democratization?

On a more concrete level, DIPD is ensuring that our international partners receive relevant education in conflict handling, as Hanne Lund Madsen explains: “To help address conflicts, DIPD is developing a dialogue and conflict training module that can facilitate better conflict handling both between and within parties. Moreover, we are cooperating with Danida Fellowship Centre and having several of our partners participating in the Centre’s Dialogue and Conflict Transformation course in Denmark in late November.”

More information

Contact DIPD Global Head of Programmes, Hanne Lund Madsen: hlm@dipd.dk 

Myanmar: DIPD supports parties’ social policy development efforts

How can parties develop policies to address drug abuse in Myanmar? What kinds of approaches can parties take to multicultural and appropriate education policies?

These questions were some of those addressed last week, when DIPD supported the political parties of the Union Peace Dialogue Joint Committee (UPDJC) to discuss different policy principles for consideration in the social sector, at a meeting held from 4-6 September in Yangon.

The meeting was the second among a series to support political parties to develop policy proposals to the Union Peace Conference that are based on dialogue and consensus among the members of the UPDJC political party group. A total of 42 representatives from 22 political parties partook in the three-day meeting, including the members of the UPDJC’s social sector working committee.

The second meeting of the Union Peace Conference held in last May adopted the 37 principles, which were formed a part of the Union Accord, including four principles on the social sector. However, as the proverb goes, Rome was not built in a day. There are still many issues to be tackled within the social sector and it is still a daunting question as to what social issues will be discussed in the next Union Peace Conference.

Policy proposals in the making

On the first day, local and international technical experts made presentations and facilitated discussion on the resettlement and rehabilitation of refugees and internally displaced persons, access to land for resettled refugees and internally displaced persons, and reconciliation for those who have suffered under conflict and/or rights violations, as well as perspectives on Myanmar’s health system.

“The meeting provided a good opportunity to build our knowledge [on the reconciliation] and we will need to hold more discussion meeting like this,” U Naing Ngan Lin, a member of the UPDJC’s social sector working committee, commented during the discussion session.

Promoting gender equality and effective drug policies

During the second day, experts in the area of gender equality and federalism discussed approaches to promoting gender equality within a democratic federal union. Although the potential impact of federalism on gender equality is an extremely complex subject, presenters advanced a number of proposals to enhance gender equality across different dimensions. The afternoon session covered a range of discussions representing different communities affected by the drug trade, and policy experts on the drug sector discussed arguments for how to regulate the drug sector.

Defending fundamental rights

The last day of the meeting demonstrated the participants’ increasing comfort to freely discuss issues in a cordial environment. A team of presenters addressed how policies could protect the fundamental rights of a range of vulnerable groups including ethnic minorities, workers, religious minorities, and persons with disabilities. In the afternoon, an expert discussed education policy and issues related to multicultural education in a federal system.

The participants rated the sessions as highly useful in their evaluations, but also highlighted that there were need for more in-depth discussions given the range of issues covered. At the closing remarks, U Thu Wai, the Vice Chair of the UPDJC expressed his thanks to the DIPD for organizing the meeting and discussions, “It is of great support to the group and it would be better if another round of meeting in the social sector can be offered.”

DIPD will continue to support the UPDJC political party group in its policy development efforts as it prepares for the next Union Peace Conference. These efforts represent an important first step in enhancing multiparty dialogue on policy issues among political parties in Myanmar’s political transition.

More information

Read more about DIPD’s engagement in Myanmar here.

Contact DIPD Myanmar representative Khin Thazin Myint at ktzm@dipd.dk

Youth Day Celebration in Myanmar: Enhancing the Participation of Political Party Youth in the Peace Process

“Youth Building Peace” was the theme of the 2017 International Youth Day. The Myanmar Multiparty Democracy Programme conducted a two-day workshop in relation to the theme, in order to enhance the role of the political youth as civic actors in the peace process.

During the period of the NLD Government the peace process has been one of the major priority issues. Peace has furthermore been a very sensitive issue throughout the entire transition period. In the contemporary transition and peacemaking in Myanmar, it is important that youth get the opportunity to be involved in the process and have a say in the debate as equal civic actors. The youth are the ones to lead the country in the years to come, and their engagement is much aligned with a successful transition.

Workshop day 1: briefing and panel discussion

Mr Nyut from the Union Peace Dialogue Joint Committee (UPDJC) was invited to partake in the Youth Day workshop as a resource person and to conduct a briefing on “Myanmar’s Conflict and the Understanding of Myanmar’s Peace Process”.

“Our country is still behind other countries, but if we choose to acknowledge the leading role of young people and the capacities that young people have, then we will be closer to other countries,” said Mr. Nyut.

Following a question session, where the participating multi-party youth was given the chance to ask Mr. Nyut further  questions, the program proceeded with a panel-discussion. The theme of the talk in this section was “Peace Dialogues”. Partaking in the panel was U Sai Kyaw Nyut (UPDJC), Dr. Sithu Swe (UNFPA) and Wint Tae Kaung Myat (MIPSS) and the debate was moderated by Salai David Van Bawi Mang (Youth Coordinator – DIPD).

The panelists discussed several themes concerning the current peace process, including: How the youth and young women can participate in the peace process (Gender and Peace), Peace Education, United Nations Security Solution #2250 and the common challenges of youth participation in peace processes.

Workshop day 2: Visualizing peace and the founding of a Multiparty Youth Platform  

The second day of the International Youth Day celebrations was kicked off by watching the video-message from the UN Secretary General and the U.N. Secretary-General’s first Youth Envoy. After that the peace singers, Saw Phoe Kwar, Lin Htet Oo and Zun Zi (Visual Artist & Creative Advocacy Trainer) shared experiences on the peace process in speeches and by singing songs of peace.

The singing was followed by more activities of creative character, as the participants were asked to visually portray their  understanding of peace. Some participants even used the opportunity to write and present a poem on the meaning of peace.

 

“We need to make a mutual understanding for the peace process, we need to share our culture to each other, we need to communicate to each other and if we can build up a trust to each other, we will then get peace, definitively,”said Zunzin (Visual Artist and Creative Advocacy Trainer).

After the celebration and creative section of the second day, followed a talk on “the Youth and Young Women’s participation” presented by Daw Khin Ma Ma Myo from Myanmar Institute for Peace and Security Studies.

The second day was wrapped up by the participants splitting into groups to discuss how the multiparty youth could help out each other, raising awareness of the importance of engaging youth in decision making and peace making processes. The respective groups wrote down the ideas, and presented them to each other. Amongst the ideas were building common peace education programs, making a lobbying network, campaigning for more youth inclusion together as multiparty youth etc. The discussions were very engaging lively and constructive, and had an outcome of tangible ideas that a future multiparty youth-network can put to life.

During the two-day workshop 16 media groups participated. The media conducted stories by interviewing the political youth and the participating resource persons. The MMDP International Youth Day workshop was widely covered in the news, as it made several highlighted stories in newspapers and other broadcasting media.

In total 65 multiparty youth from across the country participated in the workshop, and they successfully founded a Multiparty Youth Platform currently called the “National and Multiparty Youth Working-Group for Peace”. DIPD will continuously support the youth participation in the peace process in Myanmar through the Myanmar Multiparty Democracy Programme (MMDP), which will continue to engage in activities and counselling of the multiparty youth in Myanmar.

More information
Read more about the Myanmar programme here: www.myanmarmultiparty.org

Contact DIPD Senior Advisor, Hanne  Lund Madsen: hlm@dipd.dk

Contact DIPD Country Representative for Myanmar, Khin Thazin Myint: ktzm@dipd.dk

 

Youth day celebrations in Myanmar

On August 11-12 the International Youth Day was celebrated in Yangon, Myanmar.

DIPD in Myanmar had invited representatives from the political youth across the country, and the day was celebrated with presentations, workshops and discussions. The theme was Youth Building Peace.

The atmosphere, the engagement and the will to find solutions on how to make good peace negotiations was high among the gathered youth. Furthermore the weekend resulted in the making of a committee with 14 representatives from different parties, who will jointly advocate for youth inclusion in the peace negotiations in Myanmar.

Watch the video from the day below, where we also asked representatives from the Danish political youth to give their perspectives on what peace means.

DIPD supports UPDJC Political Party Group Dialogue

During a three-day meeting at the end of July, DIPD has supported the political parties of Myanmar in developing consensus-based policy proposals to the country’s peace process. The three-day meeting was held in preparation to the third meeting of Myanmar’s 21st Century Panglong Conference, which will be held later in 2017.

Myanmar’s Union Peace Conference, also known as the 21st Century Panglong Conference, aims to bring peace to Myanmar while developing the guiding principles for a federal democratic union. In the run-up to the third meeting of Myanmar’s 21st Century Panglong Conference in late 2017, DIPD supported the political parties of the Union Peace Dialogue Joint Committee (UPDJC) to discuss different policy principles for consideration in the political sector at a meeting held from 27-29 July in Yangon. The meeting is first among a series of meetings to support political parties, as one of the key stakeholders in the peace process, to develop policy proposals to Panglong that are based on dialogue and consensus among the members of the UPDJC political party party group.

Myanmar’s political parties have increasingly engaged in the peace process through the 21st Century Panglong dialogues. The second meeting of the Panglong Peace Conference, which was held in Naypyitaw in May 2017, concluded with 37 jointly agreed principles, which were presented as part of the Union Agreement in accordance with the Nationwide Ceasefire Accord (NCA).

“Coming together” or “holding together”?

On the first day, international and local experts made presentations on the topics of distribution of powers and state constitutions in a federal system. Experts discussed how different processes of forming federal states have led to significant diversity in state structure and the distribution of powers. In six working groups, and political party leaders conducted an exercise on distribution of powers between the union and state/regional governments, and asked a number of questions regarding principles of division of powers.

Protecting Minority Rights in a Federal Democratic Union

Continuing to build on topics identified for further discussion at the previous Panglong Conference, on the second day experts presented principles and case studies related to self-determination and the protection of minority rights in a federal democratic union. On the last day, parties held productive discussions on a number of the issues raised throughout the first two days of meeting.

Sai Kyaw Nyunt, secretary of political parties of the UPDJC reflected the meeting as highly useful and also highlighted that the group would like to continue to cooperate with DIPD on the other major topics to be discussed during the upcoming Union Peace Conference. According to the Framework for Political Dialogue, the five major topics include political issues, economic issues, social issues, security issues, and land and environmental issues.

Next Steps

Based on the presentations and discussions held, parties identified a range of principles requiring further dialogue and consensus building. Parties’ progress on these core principles demonstrates parties’ commitment to engage meaningfully on these themes. DIPD will work in support and partnership with the UPDJC party group over the coming period to enhance dialogue and capacity development for parties that can make them more effective participants in the process of re-imagining a democratic federal union for Myanmar.

More information

Contact DIPD Country Representative in Myanmar, Khin Thazin Myint: ktzm@dipd.dk

Contact DIPD Senior Advisor, Hanne Lund Madsen: hlm@dipd.dk